I was given the chance to watch the first three episodes of Red vs. Blue: Zero. No spoilers ahead.
For a lot of us “old-timers” of the internet, Red vs. Blue was a huge phenomenon of online comedy with silly and brilliant writing and a superb cast (even if it was about as low production as it could get at first). All the previous seasons followed the same group of Red and Blue characters through a variety of arguments, adventures, and shorts while primarily using the actual Halo games as their main form of visuals (recording inside the game and using voice-overs). A number of later seasons use different and more free-form models in epic fight scenes or other unique scenes with different needs. But Red vs. Blue Zero comes to us with almost an entirely new cast, a new story, and fully animated episodes, which is both its best strength and biggest weakness.
Using 3-D animation the entire time let’s see a lot more action and personality through body language and dynamic camera work. Crazy fight scenes can add a lot of entertainment value and storytelling elements, but it got to be fairly excessive and frankly kind of boring when each episode had more time in action scenes with punching and lightning-fast maneuvers instead of actual dialogue and story building. Don’t get me wrong, the action scenes obviously look really cool, but the story feels fairly shallow and like a good excuse to have loads of intense fight scenes.
In the moments of downtime between action scenes, we do get some actual exposition and conversations, but that’s exactly what they feel like. They feel like exposition dumps and somewhat forced conversations between characters. Only a few characters feel actually natural and well rounded, but the exposition is extremely obvious and cliché. I know that writing action scenes, “get to know you“ conversations have been done to death and have to be put into each story to some degree. However, it still is almost painfully obvious and simple what the characters are going to say and how they will react along with the exposition and feelings of the scenes being so heavily spoonfed to the audience.
With only a select few characters from previous seasons, full 3D animation, and a bit less degrading humor, this season barely like Red vs. Blue. I’m all for new things, but this is a franchise that has been going for sixteen years, and if we are going to be introduced to a large number of new elements and changes from past years, then I think it should be much better. RVB has been needing a change for a while now. Some characters were feeling tired and the stories got terribly complex and lost sight of the simple, dumb humor. However, episodes with seven of those minutes being action sequences (with some quips and witty one-liners) feel like a lot of mindless violence.
This is a lot of negativity, I know that. I’ve been given a chance to see the first few episodes and maybe later episodes will strike a better balance of character development, story exploration, and strong humor. I think the show has some interesting potential and maybe the new direction of RVB should be more action-oriented and be easier to approach. But as of now, none of the characters make any real impressions, some of them being more silly bad than silly good and I was pulled in by the story either. These are my thoughts, but let us know what you thought of the first episode and what you’d expect and want from future RVB episodes.