Cypher Avenue Rating: 1.5 of 5      
Americans triumph over the British in many, many ways…giving birth to the worst black gay web series in the world (Street Behavior) is among these honors.  But like King Joffrey Baratheon, the Brits have come pretty damn close to taking our throne. Only a few weeks old, the new black gay web series In The Deep gives us a rare look at what life may be like for a gay man of color in London like T.J. Williams. The revelation: Gay Stereotypes are universal.
One can make the argument: Don’t be too critical on something you’re getting for free that someone produced with all passion and little money. Fuck that. If you put anything out there for public consumption, its open to both praise and criticism. Full of stereotypes and recycled cliche’s, so far this web series deserves a heaping helping of the latter.

In the Deep begins on a good note. The first episode utilizes some creative editing and storytelling techniques to introduce us to the world and the characters. That’s pretty much where the good ends and the bad begins. The first image we see is one of the “four gay best friends” (yes this tired story premise is revisited, this time in the UK) named Rene’ stuffing his face with cupcakes. It’s a gross image that pretty much sums up this character in every way, disgusting. The best friends all converge at his home to see what is worrying their flamboyant, narcissistic, promiscuous friend so much that he’s binging on sweets. Maybe this is a British thing. Eating more than three cupcakes in the United Kingdom must be cause for alarm; in the United States it’s called “light snacking.”

Turns out Rene’ is upset that a newspaper theater critic gave his acting a poor review. The critic says that his acting was “less than mediocre.” In regards to the actor playing the actor, I couldn’t have put it better. Actually, the acting is pretty unremarkable from everyone in the cast. I guess all of the really talented black British actors not named Ashley Walters have all moved to America.

 Renee contends that the review was only negative because the unattractive critic was not allowed to join his public act of oral sodomy with a fellow theater performer while semi-naked in the theater’s open stairwell. If this sounds creepy, unbelievable and confusing, that’s because it was very creepy, unbelievable and confusing to me when I watched it as well. Mind you, this all takes place in the first two minutes of the web series’ first episode. The debased public act is just plain weird and gross.


Next we meet Wesley, who’s a fem dancer (of course he is). Then we meet Ade, who’s the suave Bisexual (Um, if you say so). Last up is Emilia, who’s the best friend lesbian with no lesbian friends (yes, I can believe this happens…like never).
Okay, looks like almost every spectrum of the LGBT community is present, let’s get started! Wait, its over? Yup, we meet the characters and immediately cut to black. First episode over. No story, no plot, all first Act, no second and third. And here I thought basic modern storytelling technique was invented by Europeans.
The second episode is a little more involved but not by much. It all gets really confusing. A lot of talking and wardrobe changes in multiple locations but not much of a story happens. Anyone that knows me is aware that I hate being unnecessarily confused while watching an indie film, especially in a Web Series. Apparently Wesley is in a secret relationship with Ade, even though they’re both single, best friends and both dating other people (huh?).
Emilia is probably the only black Lesbian in the history of black Lesbians that ONLY hangs around men. Seriously, does this really happen? Maybe its a UK thing.In fairness, she does have a girlfriend but she’s rarely seen due to relationship issues. By the end of the episode (which ends in a weird cliffhanger) I’m left wondering why these people are even friends at all. They seem so mismatched and unlikable, no chemistry is established.


As bad as it is, “In The Deep” does have solid audio, sharp well-lit visuals and strained attempts at actual character development which makes it ahead of most of the Black Gay American Web Series pack. Also, even though the acting isn’t great, casting men of direct African descent is awesome and rarely seen. It would have been more interesting to tell the specific story of being a Nigerian-British gay or bisexual man living in the United Kingdom and the complications that it may bring. Instead we just get more of the same gay American crap.

The blatant lazy cliches and horrible acting (*points to the less-than-mediocre Rene*) takes away any bonus points they may have received from the enhanced film quality and unique casting.

I originally discovered this show a couple weeks ago in my black gay web series search. From what I could tell it has the honor of being the only black gay web series in all of the United Kingdom. That’s no small thing. I’m sure the filmmakers are great folks, but this web series needs work. How would I fix this show? I’d lose Rene’, not only the actor playing him, the entire character. He’s annoying and embodies 90% of what’s derivative about the show. I’d lose all of the “four best friends” angle. That premise is as redundant and recycled as new seasons of Doctor Who. Lastly, I’d work on the show premise more. What is this series about? So far its about nothing…not leading up to or moving towards anything. But I’m just one guy, thousands of miles away, who am I to judge?

The filmmakers are currently holding a fundraiser to produce more episodes, maybe with a little more (Pounds, Euros, Quid?) money they can hire better writers and actors. Either way, this show can’t get much worse than this, innit?

Swerve, Bruv (*In British Accent*)

– Nick D