Full disclosure: I am a complete Kickstarter virgin. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve looked at quite a few of them, ogling the more tantalizing offerings and trying to decide which will be the one to finally tempt me into action. And while I’m not sure that Sam Sweetmilk will actually manage it for me, personally, it’s also flying a little too under-the-radar for my liking. I think you should know about it.
The hope is that Sam Sweetmilk will be an animated series, an outer-space serial centred on a “cocky, cheerfully indifferent, sociopathic, amnesiac space dandy” which is one of those descriptions that’s starting to push my more pushable buttons. It is inspired by “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Archer, Adventure Time, Cowboy Bebop, the Venture Bros and Red Dwarf,” which, guys, my buttons only have so much give and I’m worried this may actually break them. Of course, execution is everything, but talk isn’t nothing, and this is the right sort of talk.
The web is full of animated pilots and web series. Some of them are even great, and most of them aren’t asking or your money to make them happen. I’m not saying that’s sustainable, but it does mean that the ones pitching you have to offer something special, and Sam Sweetmilk does seem to be doing that, at least. To tease interest, they’ve put together a 25-minute animatic pilot, with about four minutes of that actually fully animated.
Those four minutes? They’re lovely. One of the things that makes me think Sam will be worthwhile is that, even if it is influenced by Archer and Adventure Time and Venture Bros, the animation has its own personality, using smooth, Fleischer-esque that doesn’t pop up too often. The whole thing also comes across as fairly clever and entertaining enough, which is not an easy thing to pull off when you’re mostly looking at animatics. Comedy is so much about timing and small gestures that the fact this works at all is very promising indeed.
The only trouble is that, for your money, it’s not really that clear what you’re getting aside from the hope that the series might get picked up by someone. The top tier funding level is actually pretty creative–I’d be happy to have my name become a swear in an alien language and I think you would, too–but when the goal is pitching a studio, you’re adding an extra risk to the already risky nature of Kickstarter. There’s something good happening here, and I’d like to see more of it, but I’m not sure if I’m 100% there.
One other positive: The feel of this seems at least somewhat inspired by Sierra’s old Space Quest adventures, which can only be a good thing, and might be a reasonable alternative route for the series if the TV pitch doesn’t pan out. An ongoing, less-than-serious space opera is something that the world can always use more of, in whatever form it ends up taking.