Created by and starring Leah McKendrick, directed by Scott Brown and brought to life by Flirt Dancers, Destroy the Alpha Gamma’s (or more reasonably, DAG) feels warmly familiar despite breaking new ground in the web scene. Offering a glossy yet firmly indie take on the widely appealing “college life/sorority feud” story hooks, Destroy the Alpha Gammas mixes up its familiar formula with a surprisingly well executed musical twist.
Yes, interestingly DAG is a full-blown musical – composed in a similar vein to Glee but ultimately its own beast entirely; Brown’s latest web series is only two episodes in right now, but I’d confidently say that DAG has succeeded in bringing a meaty slice of variety to the web series table.
DAG’s plot spirals around a longstanding rivalry between the frumpy and “not-so-popular” Delta Pi sorority, and the predictably “bitchy/popular” Alpha Gammas. Leading the Delta Pi on a revenge fueled campaign for justice is Carrie, played by singer/songwriter Leah McKendrick. Anastacia McPherson on the other hand, steps easily into the role of Autumn, the queen of the Alpha Gammas and of course Carrie’s arch nemesis. The characterisation is, much like the series itself, warmly familiar, thanks to some spot-on genre-perfect writing coupled with excellent casting choices.
The supporting cast haven’t received a great deal of development over episodes 1 and 2, but this is forgivable for multiple reasons; the characters are all easily defined either visually or through setting and dialogue, and the pop-y nature of the series doesn’t demand intricacy. Regardless, I have faith in the casting and believe the supporting troupe will develop over the course of the show. Hopefully this will prove true and make me look incredibly wise in hindsight.
Pulling off a musical with a limited budget aimed squarely at the YouTube audience is no easy task. Series creator, star and script writer Leah McKendrick’s love of singing and songwriting give the crucial first episode and and its musical segments a weighty believability as she guides her supporting cast through a punchy rendition of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. Whilst the musical interludes fit naturally into the show’s first installment, episode 2′s performances (“Milkshake” by Kelis and Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You”) are dropped less gracefully into the narrative. It’s not a very big complaint however, as the only reason these interludes jar at all is because they work so well on their own merits, feeling like accomplished and standalone music videos. The musical production is noteworthy for one other unexpected reason – the catchy tunes and flashy choreography (courtesy of the talented Justine Menter) will get stuck in your head and demand repeat viewings. That can’t be bad for hits.
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