My name is Aubrey Johnson (on Twitter as @LIWPride), and I’ve been watching LIWs since I discovered The Lizzie Bennet Diaries in 2013. I enjoy participating in and attending live theatre, mainly because I’ve been acting since I was five years old. Behind the scenes I’ve been on tech crew and written/directed/produced my own web series. My other hobbies include writing, travelling, Model United Nations, photography, and violin.
Series title: Horizons
Created by: Betwixt Productions
Channel name: Leo Paine
Starring: Alex Tolar and Carly Hayes
Elevator pitch: Post-apocalyptic Romeo and Juliet
Features: New world, star-crossed lovers, transmedia, precious cinnamon roll, crafting/cooking, optimist vs pessimist, female empowerment, female friendship, great costumes, closed captions
For fans of “The Writing Majors,” you get to see actors Cody McCoy and Carly Hayes play entirely different characters in an entirely different world. Unlike many other LIWs, Horizons is based 100 years after the events of a short story called “The Star” by H.G. Wells. After the world goes through an ecological disaster and most of Earth’s cities are destroyed, the political leaders of the surviving cities devised a system that would allow each city to hold twice the maximum occupancy. The Night and Day system was said to be the best option for survival, allowing two different cities to operate in one, but as Daylighter Leo Paine discovers through Nocturn Stella while researching his university journalism thesis, the Nocturns do not live as equally as he thought. The world of Horizons is beautifully built. It shows the effects of one group gaining power on the back of another, tying in today’s discussions about race, wealth distribution, and immigration.
Unlike other LIWs, the transmedia reaches out to the city and beyond. Instead of social media, Horizon has its own city website (with some secret Morse Code), a city newsletter, and a city hall phone number that actually leads to a city hall voicemail. Much like Pemberley Digital’s Sanditon, Horizons is expanded through fans creating their own characters, choosing a city, and having discussions about their cities in online forums.
Horizons will make you laugh, gasp, and cry. You will cheer for Stella’s stand for independence and groan at Leo’s initial obliviousness to the world around him. But Leo, and every character either main or supporting, makes a clear arc throughout the series. If you are looking for well-told story that will make you think and keep you on your toes, go watch Horizons.