3 out of 5 stars (average)
Thank you to Cher Culver PR for reaching out to me for this review. Stormchaser has been selected to screen at more than 50 festivals to date around the world — winning AMC Network’s Inaugural Best Female Creator Award at Stareable Fest 2020 and Best Writer & Director in the 2021 New York Women in Film & TV Shorts Festival. Other awards include multiple wins in the following categories: Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film, Best Pilot, Best Cinematography, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Original Score/Soundtrack, and Best VFX. Up next, Stormchaser will screen at the Big Muddy Film Festival in March and the FILM @ Downtown Urban Arts Festival (at the Tribeca Arts Center) in May.
At some point in our lives, everyone meets somebody who’s just a plain jerk. It could be a boss, teacher, UberEats driver who messes up your order, etc. Not having to deal with that person in our lives would seemingly make it easier. This premise has been used for a number of films and shows over the years, but we haven’t yet had one that spoke to the current moment. Along comes the pilot for Stormchaser, a new darkly comic drama that could very easily answer that call. Helmed by Gretl Claggett, the pilot for Stormchaser promises a fun, darkly comic drama for our current times that could be equal parts cathartic and entertaining.
In her youth, Bonnie Blue (Mary Birdsong) was a passionate stormchaser with her father who found beauty in nature’s natural disasters. Now she sells faulty weather protection equipment for FlipSide, a male-dominated company run by the chest-pumping pig Flip Smyth (Stephen Plunkett). When Flip underpays her for a successful sale, Bonnie decides enough is enough and promptly quits her job, only for Flip to end up dead the next day under mysterious circumstances.
Mixing drama and dark humor is a difficult task, but Gretl Claggett almost makes it look easy here. While it isn’t exactly clear yet where the story is going, the episode is a solid hook-in and offers a good deal of potential for bigger things in the future. Birdsong and Plunkett are the main attractions here, with the former providing a likable and interesting series lead and the latter coming across as a combination of Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. Should it get picked up, I’m also interested to see the show delve more into Bonnie’s past, develop Dominic Rains’ supporting character and hopefully maintain this tone, but it’s a solid starting point. The pilot for Stormchaser strikes an engaging chord with dark humor, a fun premise, and solid performances. Chase it.