Web Series Review – Jack and Dean of All Trades (2018)

Netflix has stolen the spotlight as the go-to series binging provider. Followed closely by Amazon and Sky. But a new player has joined the table in recent years, developing itself as an esteemed platform in its own right: YouTube. With TV having been around for nearing a century, the internet has got a lot of catching up to do in becoming a popular content broadcaster. Web series have only recently started gaining momentum. And Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs are one of the first ‘Youtubers’ to latch on.

Jack and Dean of All Trades was originally aired on Full Screen. Fortunately for us, Full Screen went bust, meaning that series one and two became available for free on YouTube. Reaching 126K views in less than a month, Jack and Dean of All Trades follows the budding comedy duo bumbling between part-time jobs. The short, fifteen-minute episodes immediately establishes a clear tone and comedic style. Sarcastic, charming and fervently British. Jack Howard and Matt Holt direct beautifully, with clever use of visual comedy as well as witty dialogue. (Imagine Ricky Gervais, if you cast him in an Edgar Wright movie…)

Left: Jack Howard, Right: Dean Dobbs

The web series is not just a simple back-and-forth story between jobs (although even that would have been funny enough). The pair soon spiral into accidental chaos, reminiscent of Cris Cole’s Mad Dogs (2011). From temping as a baker to being held hostage in a bank robbery- initiated by Jacks girlfriend, the imaginative writing lends a refreshingly unpredictable series of events. Oh, and did I mention Jessica Hynes co-stars? Eccentric, slightly awkward and a marvellous little addition to the series.

The chemistry built between Jack and Dean from their decade on YouTube creates a solid foundation for the two to bounce comedy off each other like magnets. A few musical numbers to keep you on your toes, and if you’ve been a regular visitor to YouTube, you may even recognise a few cameos. The cinematography and form of Jack and Dean of All Trades is uncannily professional. Especially for a YouTube show. I felt I should be watching it from the Sky Store. Overall, the emerging comedians-turn-filmmakers exhibit a clear talent that I cannot wait to see developed in the future.

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