The word ‘phenomenon’ is completely overused in show business—applied to everything with a tangible media pulse. But occasionally there are instances in which the word can be used with impunity because nothing else fits, because a project has proved itself against all odds, garnered layer upon layer of enthusiasm from multiple avenues, and pulled off upsets until an actual phenomenon is achieved. This has been the case with AGENT 88.
There is, first of all, the phenomenon of Kickstarter, a brand new breed of grassroots financial support enabling the most edgy of projects to be funded by strangers. There is also the fact that this project, initially floundering in underexposure due to its off-kilter concept involving a geriatric assassin, raised over fifty thousand dollars in its final 48 hours. (The pilot was less than halfway funded as few as two days before the deadline.) Finally, there is the cap-off success that AGENT 88 ended its run as Kickstarter’s most funded live-action web pilot.
Not bad for a pulpy series about an 88 year old woman who just happens to be the world’s deadliest killer.
The series’ title actress, Kay D’Arcy, is a phenomenon unto herself, having hightailed it to Hollywood at age 70 for a change of pace, style, and scenery. She left her whole family in Great Britain; she risked everything to become what AGENT 88 so sorely needed: a star.
It also needed support from some unlikely avenues. This crazily violent comic-book style romp would require faith from both genre fans and rabid collectors interested in the donation incentives (including a one-of-kind art book published by Sci-Fi giant HEAVY METAL). “Fanboys are a tough crowd,” says director and creator Digger T. Mesch, who is also the mastermind behind Minimates toys. “At first, everyone was like, ‘Who wants a Minimate of an old lady?’”
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