Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
Have you ever imagined what would happen to your country if it was hit by a nuclear missile? New Trinidad and Tobago web series Black Land: Aftermath explores this idea in its premiere episode Survivor.
The show, directed by Ancil Harris and Keyon Brown, is set in a parallel Earth (Earth 2 to be exact) where in 2023 (hey, that’s just now) Trinidad is caught in the crossfire of a war between America and Russia. A nuclear missile hits the capital city of Port of Spain and eventually the country becomes a barren wasteland. The story picks up 15 years later and follows an unnamed female survivor.
Black Land: Aftermath is a side story to a previous web series of the same name by GT Caribbean Network. It is quite the change from the its other current series, Magonolia, which is a young adult, Sci Fi superhero series. While also in the science fiction genre, Black Land is a grim, post-apocalyptic show. And as a fan of Sci Fi and post-apocalyptic worlds I was immediately intrigued.
The premiere episode is divided into two parts: an extended cold open showing the events leading up to the missile firing and the ensuing mushroom cloud; and the second part following the Survivor. The first part looks quite polished though it’s an obvious mix of stock footage with some filmed segments. Unless GT Caribbean Network has the budget for a fleet of tanks. I guess anything is possible these days. The filmed segments include a scene featuring some type of military operation and a brief speech from a female US president (and no, not Hilary).
There is also the scene of the launch of the missile which looks relatively convincing. I did chuckle at the use of captions without audio (that’s not how captions work) and at one of the lines “Make sure and hit the target” (that’s not how missiles work). But as I said, it looks polished and it does its job.
The second part follows a gun-toting survivor (Aliyah Whatley) at a decrepit sporting grounds. Kudos to the location scouting because this place really looks like it’s been abandoned for more than a decade. The video quality also has a sepia hue which is very effective in creating a sense of despair and desolation.
The character is alone and there is no narration and no music. I thought these were all wise choices as it really sells how barren this world is and how isolated the Survivor is. I’ve always said some of the best acting is done when a character has no dialogue, and Whatley does well to convey her hypervigilance and desperation just through facial expressions and movements. And with just a brief scene we can understand the lack of resources she is faced with. I also liked her costuming. That looked cool.
The episode ends with a very interesting cliffhanger (which I won’t spoil) but at under ten minutes it does feel a bit too short. And I do think it ended just when something was really starting to happen. There is also a post-credits scene (they’re all the rage these days) that was maybe a little too ambiguous.
With that said Episode 1 does enough right and introduces enough mysteries to entice viewers back for Episode 2. Who is the Survivor? Are there other survivors? What’s going on in that post-credits scene? What happened to Tobago? Enquiring minds need to know. But one thing is for sure—this Black Land is worth revisiting.
Editor Jules Score: 6.5 out of 10
You can watch Black Land: Aftermath Episode 1 for yourself by clicking here. And you can check out more reviews of content featured on GT Caribbean Network below:
Trini Zombie Series Infection Episode 3 Continues the Post-Apocalyptic Adventure
A Hero Rises! Trini Superhero Series Magonolia Season 1 Episode 3 Review
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.