It’s a web series for the ages. Well, at least the period of the Renaissance. Okay, to be more precise, Knights of New Jersey is a web comedy series following actors through their funny exchanges with each other, cosplayers, and visitors at the Renaissance Faire. Sometimes, these moments end in a bruised ego, in more ways than one, and the overall result presents great onscreen chemistry and an entertaining comedy that seems like a seasoned ongoing series.
Knights of New Jersey currently has seven episodes on YouTube as web-shorts. The conversation in the first episode between our main characters, Bob and Tom, better known as Sir Robert and the Squire, identifies each character’s personality and what to expect moving forward. Though they both believe in the Renaissance and their portrayals, their actions are quite different when it comes to representing their characters. Bob wants everyone to be entertained at the Faire, while wanting people to show up on time for scheduled duels. He might also be a hopeless romantic, succumbing to love at first sight. Tom, on the other hand, wants to have fun and respects the code of representing historical lore; however, don’t start a conversation defending cosplayers that attend the Renaissance Faire or he might lose it, emotionally and physically.
Each episode moves along smoothly as it introduces new cast members, some having more significance on our main characters than others. Throughout Knights of New Jersey, there are plenty of meaningful encounters adding to this series’ ingenuity – Episode 4, “The Sounds of Silence” masterfully captures this with amazingly heartfelt dialogue. The vision of this story is well-crafted, as writer and director Michael Hadley wins Best Web Director at the Austin Revolution Film Festival. This comedy has also earned awards for Best Ensemble and Audience Award at the Brooklyn Web Fest, and Best NJ Comedy at the Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival.
Knights of New Jersey is set around re-enactors playing roles of various historical figures, and Hadley’s writing and the actors’ ability to deliver lines makes it relatable and fun to watch. Have you ever seen or spoken to someone for the first time and felt a connection? You feel that connection through the performances, making it worth the time to watch all of the episodes one after another. The story initially seems to revolve around Bob and his role in the Faire; however, his absence from the last three episodes makes it seem like one of two things is likely. One, the absence is to signify his true feelings and the importance of this noble world. Two, his disappearance won’t be as noticed if additional episodes are created or if it’s turned into a feature film, which is briefly discussed in an interview at the Spring 2017 New Jersey Film Fest.
Viewers of this series will gain some insight to the behind-the-scenes efforts from those acting at a Renaissance Faire, and the clashing ideology on how to go about their theatrical performances result in quite humorous anecdotes. This comedy quickly grabs your attention with a likeable character, extends your stay with witty, vulgar expressions, and keeps you through the entire series with the hope that Sir Robert finds his calling in life.
Knights of New Jersey, Episode 1 – The Mother of Dragons can be seen online now. It is also going to be screening as part of the GeekFest Film Festival at the upcoming Long Beach Comic Expo on February 19th.