Comic-con actors find niche in online series

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By Patricia Negrón

Alan Tudyk’s new web series “Con Man,” which features sci-fi actors who have reached Comic-Con stardom, was released last Wednesday on Vimeo on Demand. The lucky fans who found out about the series release in time were able to enjoy the first three episodes of the series for free from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. through Entertainment Weekly’s website.

Tudyk got the idea for “Con Man” after acting in “Firefly,” a space cowboy series set in the future. Due to its success, the movie “Serenity” was made in 2005 to continue the plot. “Con Man” was released on the tenth anniversary of “Serenity’s” debut in the United States.

Tudyk portrays an actor named Wray Nerely, and fellow “Firefly” actor Nathan Fillion portrays character Jack Moore. Though Nerely is loved by fans, he is clearly frustrated between his friendship with Moore and the inequality within it.

“Con Man” started off with Nerely being publicly recognized, and was asked for his autograph while he was sitting on the toilet in a public restroom. Soon after, Nerely finds himself in the bar talking to his agent about an audition when he is surprised by actor Sean Astin, most notably known for Samwise from “Lord of the Rings.”

As they talk, two fans approach them for a picture, but the difference between their attitudes is notable: Nerely thinks it’s weird for fans to refer to them as their characters, while Astin replies that, “There’s nothing wrong with being a hobbit,” recommending that Nerely take advantage of the benefits.

The episodes are relatively short, the first one lasting just under 11 minutes. It was not until the end of the third episode that I felt familiar with the series. Because pilot episodes are inevitably spent setting the stage for the rest of a series, I think it could have worked better if the three episodes were released as one 33 minute episode.

I was hooked from the beginning, and could have binge watched it that same night. However, the rental only includes the fourth episode for now, as the rest of the episodes will be released throughout October.

Fans seemed to be as pleased with the series as I was on Twitter. User @EdgarAlanPickle tweeted “You guys are amazing! Lovely people & utterly hilarious. Can’t wait to see what happens next on @ConManSeries.” User @holycats68 expressed similar thoughts on the show tweeting, “Love Nathan & Alan, but Felicia steals the show! Love it!”

The series can now be rented for $14.99 for the duration of three months, and was funded by 46,992 fans through an Indiegogo campaign. It raised over three million dollars by the time the campaign closed on April 23.

The show’s cast is witty and hilarious, including Mindy Sterling, Seth Green and Gina Torres. However, I must admit that I am looking forward to an appearance from Joss Whedon, writer and director of “Firefly.”