Seeking feedback on new series idea

I’ve come up with a new idea for a web series, called “The Misadventures of Detweiler and Detweiler, Inc.” It’s about a pair of estranged, cash-strapped brothers who run a fledgling business partnership from their apartment.

One is a strait-laced yet sneaky con man, the other a silly yet morally centered inventor. Though their business ventures always backfire, they nevertheless attempt to dig themselves out of their dire financial situation, and to overcome their differences.

I’m still trying to figure out ideas for the 6 episodes I’m hoping to produce, but here is the show bible as I have it so far. Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on it. Thanks!

Logline: Strait-laced yet sneaky entrepreneur Jack Detweiler and his goofy yet wise younger brother Sam fight against their landlord - and often, each other - as they operate a suspect business operation from their apartment.

Synopsis: Jack Detweiler (47) is a no-nonsense, respectable businessman - or at least he portrays himself as one. In fact, Jack is the prototypical con man; one who sweet talks his victims into schemes that are too good to be true. Having been fired from his minimum wage telemarketing job, he’s had to rely on those scams to help him pay the bills. His younger brother Sam (39) is a good-humored yet skilled inventor with a strong moral center; one that Jack ignores all too often whenever his business schemes go awry.

While most siblings grow out of acting contemptuously of each other, Jack and Sam have had a sibling rivalry that’s gone back since their childhood. That’s when Sam (then 9) found out that Jack (then 17) took the money he saved for supplies to help him build a motorized robot arm for a class project - and spent it on fake IDs for him and his girlfriend to drink beer and rent X-rated movies.

When Sam loses his well-paid scientific research job (and the apartment that paid for it) due to budget cuts at a local university, Jack convinces him to move into his decidedly smaller pad across town. Jack’s apartment is owned by his obnoxious landlord and frequent foil Irene Maxwell (54). Unlike Jack, Irene truly acts like someone who is no-nonsense and respectable. The resourceful Irene often gets her revenge on Jack and Sam in imaginative yet highly legal ways.

Knowing that Sam is strapped for cash, Jack offers him a co-equal partnership in his upstart business. Sam is initially reluctant to partner with Jack, but Jack uses his signature charm to convince Sam to team up with him. As part of that arrangement, Sam will work on creating the otherwise legit products that Jack will peddle - and, unbeknownst to Sam, eventually sabotage so he can reap the profits. Thus, Jack and Sam embark on a series of half-baked business ventures that fail spectacularly but end up bringing the estranged brothers even closer.

Character bios:

Jack Detweiler - 47, older brother of Sam Detweiler. On the surface, he acts like an honest salesman but is actually a disingenuous con man. In fact, he’s pulled off hundreds of inventive schemes since childhood. Despite his suspicious methods, he just wants to be able to get himself and Sam out of a seemingly desperate financial situation and to make up for his own poor treatment of him.

Sam Detweiler - 39, younger brother of Jack Detweiler. He’s a skilled scientist who’s determined to help people while helping himself to make his life better. While his sense of humor is palpable, his sense of morality is just as strong. Since childhood, though, he’s frequently been manipulated by Jack’s devious tactics, and his relationship with him has been strained as a result. Reluctantly, he takes Jack’s offer to join his new business venture but still wonders if he’s again being taken advantage of.

Irene Maxwell - 54, Jack and Sam’s landlord. Bossy, committed to keeping order and obsessed with keeping her apartment complex a respectable operation, but often at the expense of her relationship with her tenants. Plays by the rules, and frequently uses those rules to get revenge on Jack and Sam once their schemes collapse.

What sort of business are you thinking of here? The right choice might help this series stand out from the pack.

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At this point, the business is predicated on the inventions. I did have an idea for at least one episode where Sam would invent a potent soft drink to curtail a zombie outbreak, only to have Jack sabotage the whole thing while making Sam look bad.

I know the zombie thing has been done to death, but now that I think about the concept I guess I could structure their business around products that are designed to stop humans from falling prey to zombies. Maybe that could work?

Maybe, although I tend to agree about zombie saturation. If you expand to include more genre concepts that could keep it fresher.

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Genre concepts, as in?

Now that I think about it, I still feel stuck on the business aspect of the plotline.

I was thinking things along the same line as zombies - vampires, CHUDs, what have you. That way you’re sticking to more or less the same audience.

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I hear you. I think that would work best, so that way the characters can structure their business around products (albeit of questionable quality) that attempt to protect humans from zombies, vampires and the like. Great to have a fantasy/horror element to add to the comedy. Thanks very much for the feedback and suggestions, @hermdelica!

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It sounds like an interesting idea, so is the show going to be an invention of the week type show? Also I agree with adding other kinds of monsters instead of just zombies, maybe the inventor brother could be a monster hunter on the side or something. Getting a lot of Ghostbusters vibes too.

Also will there be any episodes where the con artist brother has run ins with the law. Maybe a cop character could be added trying to catch the con artist brother but failing to do so. That’s my feedback but I wish you luck in making it possible.

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It would be an invention-of-the-week type comedy, and because of the legal aspect of it I’ve added an overzealous and extremely litigious consumer protection lawyer character who comes after the characters whenever people get ripped off by the products they invent. I do plan on incorporating other monsters like werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc., and the cop character does sound like a great one to add as well. Thanks for the feedback and suggestions @bucky91!

Curious as to where you came up with the idea for the series.

@rsizgorich I originally conceived the idea when I was thinking about an old horror movie host I grew up watching on New Orleans TV named Morgus The Magnificent. He was a mad scientist, who along with a clumsy masked assistant named Chopsley, conducted scientific experiments in between horror movies.

Every experiment was done in the name of advancing science and trying to make people’s lives better, but those experiments always backfired in spectacular fashion. You can find some episodes of the show on YouTube, and that show (plus its story format) were the major influences on me as I thought up the concept for “Detweiler and Detweiler”.

Only in this case, I wanted to explore issues like family, income inequality and the difficulty of achieving the American dream these days through the two characters in “Detweiler and Detweiler”. As I mentioned before, these characters are in desperate financial straits and they both have to do what they can to survive by hook or by crook. They also don’t get along with each other, but they’re trying to change that by partnering in their business.

I love the social and political undertones you’re exploring here. Obviously very timely and you’re in good company this year with Parasite & Last Black Man in San Francisco.

I’ll check out Morgus The Magnificent & am looking forward to hearing how your series progresses.

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Awesome. Thanks so much for the feedback, Rachael!