In my small little world of compartmentalized definitions I consider Noir a genre by itself but also a sub-genre of pulp. Noir: crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings. This according to Merriam Webster, but my definition evokes images rather than words: grainy black and white settings, shadowed alleys with Bogart as Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe, painted women with knuckles pressed to their parted lips in a silent scream, and there is always a body.
Aiden5 by Room 101 Productions is what I call pulp/noir. A web series created by Tim Baldwin and John Jackson, written by the same along with Ben Bays; directed by John Jackson. Aiden5 stars Bryan Michael Block as Aiden a detective who must solve his own murder….repeatedly. Aiden was cloned as part of his job with his other selves working in the department as detectives and analysts. Now some one is killing him off, leaving taunting messages with the corpse. The first webisode ends with the classic cliffhanger.
Aiden5 premiered at Gencon this year to a great reception and with good reason. This serial has the classic elements with the protagonist doing his voice over (which I thought was AWESOME, by the way, in the original Blade Runner), the black and white old school feel, and the hero's world weary persona. But what this series lacks to its betterment is a budget. All volunteers and the sets are a green screen. The entire background and objects in the movie from the rooftop to the desks is pen and ink sketch art. I love this! It gives it a surreal, gritty feel to the whole production, but within moments you are not seeing the art but the story. Great stuff.
Obviously this is far from the first pulp/scifi production to do this and I could do a whole run down from Spider-Man on The Electric Company (yeah all you people my age know what I am talking about) to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. But it shows innovation in its own right because it fits the story so well.
The acting is fun, because you have Block playing Aiden in several different personas with exchanges with himself. Block and the others that appear in the first episode are great because they are playing true make-believe with the sets drawn in later.
The series has only posted one episode in the fifteen episode arc. I am anxiously waiting for the next. I want to see if I am as clever as I think I am…..
Go check it out: http://www.aidan5.com/