4 August 2015 | alan_paul
This Was Just What I Expected
This is a low budget, direct to Hulu series, featuring no high profile actors, shot on a relatively inexpensive video camera (with pro quality lenses), and the result is worth watching. The title is "South Beach", so naturally the whole series takes place in downtown Miami. I don't recall any beach scenes. But it doesn't matter. The series is advertised as being centered around a rivalry between two record labels. Not really, at least in these first six brief "episodes". But that doesn't matter either.
You do have quite a few nods to Fox's Empire, like a big party to launch a music video release, family members plotting against each other, etc. But South Beach is more telenovela than big network nighttime soap opera, and that's a good thing. Ana Villafañe as an on-the-rise singer keeps the show centered with her appealing performance. The plotting is all over a well-worn map. But the combined two hour running time of "Season One" goes by quickly in a generally entertaining fashion. The season concludes in true telenovela style with a rushed, plot-thickening montage that ends in an unresolved cliffhanger, exactly what I expected.
Go in anticipating some rough edges, a few scenes here and there that could have used another take to get stronger line readings or emotion from the actors, story elements that don't quite fall into place, shots that don't cut together seamlessly within a scene. All are perfectly acceptable on a limited budget project like this, but as a viewer you may notice these things. Good for you. Look for them when you watch your favorite network shows and you will find them.
Again, this is a brief and entertaining Season One that makes a strong case for continuing the story with a Season Two.