Filmmaker Henderson Maddox (Steel River) is back with another season of his web series, The Boyz Next Door. This time it’s set in Los Angeles, “The Place Where Everyone is a Star,” according to the series’ trailer.
Now, I will not even lie. When I heard that Maddox was making another season set in Los Angeles instead of Atlanta, I had a lot of concerns. For one, I wondered about the organization of the stories and how the would be told. I also wondered whether or not there would be any depth to the characters gracing our screens. I was pleasantly surprised with this latest additions to the lineup.
The web series follows the lives of six guys: Brandon Anthony, Aaron Kodak, Eros Alexander, Prince Phipps, Terrance Terell and Bebe Martinez. The premiere episode starts off with an introduction of the men. The first one up is Brandon Anthony who has been featured on one of Maddox’s scripted web series “Steel River.”
There were two guys that definitely stood out to me: the music duo “The Freaky Boiz.” I must admit these guys have garnered a good amount of notoriety with two very well produced music videos, “Jockin’ em” and “None.” While these two definitely remind me of your “average” gay friends on the “scene”, I actually liked the camaraderie and friendship between the two; it seemed genuine. It was very obvious to me that they genuinely and avidly care for one another in a platonic way.
In one scene, the cast meets to celebrate the Freaky Boiz’s new music video “None.” I liked the idea of them coming together to celebrate the accomplishments of one another.
I haven’t seen too much of “The Boyz Next Door Atlanta”, however much of what I did see didn’t exactly make me feel connected to the three guys throughout the episodes. There were a few significant differences between the Atlanta and LA edition that made the new season draw me in very quickly. This new season features more than just three men, as seen in Atlanta, so there is more story to focus on.
The pacing of the storylines in the episode moved along nicely. In the Atlanta edition, I felt some of the conversations and scenes were drawn out more than they needed to be. You can tell with LA, Maddox really learned the lesson to focus on and highlight what was more important to the story of the episode. He highlighted key aspects in each of the men’s lives which gave me a better understanding of who they were.
The most vital element that stuck out to me was how things didn’t feel as coerced or forced as their Atlanta counterparts did. While watching the closing scene I thought to myself, “this really feels like a developing brotherhood.”
This felt nice.
Because we’re only a couple episodes into the season, I won’t start singing all of the praises or giving it an A+ overall. There are still some flaws. However, I will say that this is a major improvement over the first season and a step in a right direction for gay reality show web series in general.
I’m sure there’s going to be “messiness” and “drama,” That’s really what draws many people in to watch on a regular basis. I’m eager to see more and I hope it continues to progress with each episode.
Take a look at the first two episodes below and comment your thoughts! Do you think a series like this could make it to network or at least cable TV or just remain on YouTube?