Beacon Hill: The Series Does Not Deliver
For the most die-hard of soap opera fans, Beacon Hill: The Series set a high bar with its all-star soap cast. From Crystal Chappell of ABC’s One Life To Live—and also named as producer—to Emmy-winning Sarah Brown, the Boston-set webisoap held a good bit of promise for a web series. Although the show is about as soapy as they come, it certainly did not exceed expectations otherwise.
Beacon Hill follows Sara (Alicia Minshew), the granddaughter of Massachusetts Senator William Preston (Ron Raines), when she leaves her partner Diane (Jessica Morris) to return back to Boston following her grandfather’s stroke. Once home, Sara must handle the mishaps of her grandfather’s new wife (Melissa Archer), her mother (Crystal Chappell), and her brother (John-Paul Lavoisier).
Sara is also hung up on her ex-girlfriend, State Representative Katherine Wesley (Sarah Brown), who is eyed as a possible Senate candidate in a cat-and-mouse game controlled by Sara’s grandfather. Which can only mean one thing: scandal!
Back in November, we saw a lot of steamy love scenes in a few teasers for the show. The premiere lived up to its prospects in that sense, but let’s be honest, the sexy stuff is pretty much obligatory in any soap. But this early on, it’s already clear that the series is railroading in the direction of a love triangle between Sara, Katherine, and Diane. Which is an OK premise and all, but the series faults in two significant ways from there.
First, it’s just not long enough. The first episode is a mere 14-minute blink (with maybe five or six scenes in total). Fourteen minutes is not enough time to fit more than a handful of scenes, and when two of the five scenes take place in bed, that leaves two or three scenes to drive the actual plot. The first episode cuts short prematurely, and when the credits rolled, strangely enough, it was hard not to feel a little robbed.
Second, it’s quite clear that the show’s hype is centered around the political atmosphere in Boston, which makes it a little problematic that it’s not shot on-location. Instead, there’s a bit of B-roll of Fenway Park and the State House to set the scene, and then it cuts to an indoor location. Logistically, this would normally be OK because it’s a soap, but it’s a little strange when Sara is sitting in her car in a suburban area somewhere and then we find out that she’s parked on Yawkey Way. The juxtaposition is alarming, and it takes away from the whatever legitimacy the show has established with its cast.
Unfortunately, it’s probably too little, too late for Beacon Hill to take a little time to unwind these issues, and so we’re left with what we expected from this kind of web series, albeit with a decent cast.
Beacon Hill: The Series is available on beaconhilltheseries.com via subscription.