Riftworld Chronicles, new original web series, debuts on CBC's Punchline
Series stars Being Erica's Erin Karpluk, Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett
In the genre-crossing new web series Riftworld Chronicles, "you've got this kind of modern day Crocodile Dundee-meets-romantic comedy-meets-Battlestar Galactica," says co-star Erin Karpluk.
"So many genres all pushed together. It's just a blast."
A sci-fi comedy, Riftworld Chronicles is an eight-part, web-only series debuting on Punchline, CBC's online comedy channel.
It revolves around Alar, a powerful otherworldly wizard who's stuck on Earth.
Portrayed by Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett, the character's a bit like E.T.: trying his best to fit in, when all he really wants is to go home. However, a mysterious dark force – perhaps emitted by cellphones – has interfered with his magic powers and the portal to take him back.
Opposite him is Karpluk, who plays struggling journalist Kim, a sarcastic young woman with no time for talk of magic. Nonetheless, Alar mistakes her for a royal personage with the power to help him get back home.
"That's when the shenanigans ensue," says Karpluk says, best know for her starring role in Being Erica.
Short film origins
Riftworld is based on an 11-minute digital film called The Portal that also starred Karpluk and Penikett.
Directed and written by Jonathan Williams, that earlier short won various film festival awards, including one at the Salt Lake City Comic Con. It also gained a loyal fan base, so much so that its Kickstarter campaign raised more than $60,000 towards helping the web series take shape.
Karpluk admits she and Penikett are longtime friends who originally agreed to the project as a chance to work together.
Now, she's become a huge fan of the web only.
"It just does have this different feel to it," she says.
"It was really cool for me to try out a web series and now I'm a big advocate for them."
The project was so low budget that the actors didn't even have a trailer on set. Instead, according to Karpluk, the money from the Kickstarter campaign went toward better special effects for the series.
Each webisode runs just shy of 6 minutes and the creators have ended on a cliffhanger, leaving the project open for more.
"I just hope people have as much fun watching it as we had making it because it's very different," she says.
"It's something that I haven't seen before and it's light entertainment, which, you know, is nice at the end of the day."