WEB SERIES REVIEW: The Boyz Next Door – Los Angeles
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?
SMH…what is this show about exactly? What’s the point or the goal? The scene with The Freaky Boiz at the restaurant actually kinda shocked me. We have featured them a couple of times on the site but the attitude along with the unnecessary messiness and drama at the restaurant, cast them in a negative light for me. I get this is reality web series and all but so far it just seems more of the same gayness and manufactured drama that already proliferates black gay web series.
I already tired of this dude Pierre from “Freaky Boiz” poochin his lips and scrunchin’ his face up in every f@#kin scene he’s in like one of the girls from “White Chicks”. SMH
Just looked at episode 2. At this point in my life I will not look at anymore black gay web series for at least 1 year. #done
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ATL wasn’t given a chance to develop into something real. The only real part about ATL was Larry’s life (career and marriage). I didn’t get much from KJ except his lack of personality. And Moe was just all over the place. Anyway, although it was good seeing Brandon again, I wish Steel River will continue.
So, I have watched several of the “YouTube reality series” over the past few years and I will admit, this one has been probably the strongest one that I have seen. It actually resembles what a “Reality Show” should be. Personally I hope that some of the other producers watch and take notes because it is really good.
But having said all of that…there are still some things that need to be worked out. While it was great that the first episode allowed each guy to give us their story, I would have like to see if their history plays into what they do and how they interact with people today (i.e. Does Eros see himself leaving the pole and going back to school?). Also, yes Pierre can be a bit too much (as can BeBe), but like with most shows, you need those characters to keep the others on their toes.
Overall is the show perfect? No, but it’s miles ahead of what I have seen previously…
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for a community that prides themselves on being innovative and different…it keeps putting out the exact same images/messages over and over again…it was a struggle (as most of these web series are) to watch…especially that rap duo from Chicago…
but at the end of the day…they can do them…im sure they have a base that loves it…me not liking it wont sidetrack their “success”, so cheers and good luck.