WATCH: Episode #1 of Web Series “Hard Times” + Mini Review

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Apr 25 2014 | 8 Comments  


Here’s part one of the 7-episode web series Hard Times created by filmmakers Tahir Jetter and Donald Conley that we mentioned many moons ago about a financially strapped personal trainer who is forced to become a male stripper to make ends meet.

At least I think that’s what this web series is about. There’s no official synopsis anywhere to be found on their website, Facebook page or email submissions that they sent to us. It’s bold when filmmakers essentially say, “Don’t ask what’s its about, just shut up and watch the shit!”

Hopefully the show is more than just the fish out of water escapades of a novice male stripper. While the premiere episode is beautifully photographed, acted and directed, the story set up in this pilot seems very limited so far.


Don’t get me wrong, so far, this is the best web series we’ve mentioned on the site all year. The screenplay wastes no time in not only setting up the main character Derek’s dilemma, but also establishing the male escort direction that the story will eventually follow.

However, the first episode of the show (as artsy as it feels) gives me more of a short film vibe than the feeling that I’m diving into an ongoing series. That first episode should grab me and make me so interested in the characters and situation that I feel an urge to watch another episode, even if it hasn’t been released yet.


This isn’t to say that Hard Times should eventually feature robberies, kidnappings, rape and murders like some other web series…but a little soap opera is essentially what has made Black & Sexy TV’s lineup of online web series so successful (and addictive).

While the acting is in no way flawed, I also didn’t get any kind of unique personality from not only the main character, but any of the supporting characters as well. One could argue that this is only the first 8-minutes of a web series, it’s not going for an Emmy Award or anything. Fair point. But the web series landscape has become the Wild Wild West, a competitive landscape where everyone’s fighting for eyeballs and views. Online content nowadays has to maintain the attention span of the audience.

Having said all that, the well composed visuals and production quality definitely builds up enough good will to look forward to episode #2 where we hope the characters and the story will pick up and make the show addictive binge worthy material.

As always, don’t take my opinion as your own, let us know your thoughts in the comments below! The filmmakers do check the site so they will likely love to get your honest feedback!

About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

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8 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Ocky Williams | April 25th, 2014

    After watching the first episode, I have no desire to view the series. None of the characters or their struggles appealed to me. “I suck as a trainer so let me be a stripper”…Really? Why does the last resort seem like the first resort for the main character? There is no build up to trying stripping after grinding looking for a “regular” job.

    For me it does feel like the beginning of a short film that was interrupted after the first couple of minutes of watching.

    Good job to the director and crew for the look of the episode. Technically its on point, yes it does look great…but so.

  2. alton
    NYCforEVER | April 25th, 2014

    Shit looks kinda wack, he had already made up his mind to try the stripper thing before the training session was done. Side note, what’s the name of the song at 4:44, I can’t remember to save my life.

    • Ocky Williams | April 25th, 2014

      don’t know the original but I remember it was on an OutKast album.

    • Nick Delmacy | April 26th, 2014

      • alton
        NYCforEVER | April 26th, 2014

        Good looks, Nick

  3. hannibal
    Hannibal | April 25th, 2014

    I think it’s a technically superior webseries. It looks amazing.

  4. Deacon
    Deacon CJ | April 27th, 2014

    Not bad, production quality is on point acting about B level, so far so good…..

  5. Wes | April 28th, 2014

    What’s Happening!
    Been a long time since I been in here, so what better way to catch up, than catching up on the webseries end to see what I missed!

    “well composed visuals and production quality definitely builds up enough good will to look forward to episode #2 where we hope the characters and the story will pick up and make the show addictive binge worthy material.”

    I agree Nick! Cool visuals, production, overall and just enough to wanna see the 2nd episode!
    So considering how a lot of these webseries can be the worst, this isn’t too bad! At least you can hear and see what they’re saying~LOL!

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