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By Alan Ng | October 10, 2020

It’s 2289, and the Earth is on a literal straight path to Hell in Sarah Phillips, web-series pilot episode Supplements. The problem is that the surface of the planet is being scorched by solar flares. The only safe haven consists of two domed cities reserved only for the wealthy and an outer space colony on Alpha Centauri administrated by the mysterious Supplements Labs. Those not living in the city are forced to live a nomadic life—continually running from the damage caused by random solar flares.

Supplements is the story of one nomad, Kiirke (Laetitia Leon), who decides to head to the domed city of Old Centauri to earn enough money to take care of her tribe’s matriarch, Meemaw (Roberta Moses), who burned her hand in a recent solar flare-up. As Kiirke hitches a ride, she is unexpectedly joined by her brother, Jute (Murtaza Ali), and the two begin a long adventure together.

Meanwhile, back at Supplements Labs, we meet its head scientist, Dr. Jean Mercole (La’Netia D. Taylor), who may be a lot older than she appears—thanks to Supplements Labs’ supplements. But why and what does the Alpha Centauri colony have to do with its development???

“…Kiirke, who decides to head to the domed city of Old Centauri to earn enough money to take care of her tribe’s matriarch…”

Supplements is a pilot for a web-series that is yet to be filmed. What’s good about Supplements is its special effects and production values…for a low-budget indie. The fire effects are pretty good, along with the futuristic technology, including some form of embedded wrist monitor and the various Star Trek-like displays in Old Centauri.

The story quickly sets up the tension between the rich and poor, nefarious de-aging research, and an outer space colony needed “volunteers” for its study. Supplements sets up very well the big picture of the earth and the global conflict to come in future episodes.

Where Supplements falls short is character development needed to present a compelling pilot episode. The lead characters need to be fleshed out better, which is hard to do in fifteen minutes. I understand our hero Kiirke’s journey and what she needs to accomplish, but I don’t know her enough to empathize or connect with her as a person. She’s brave and loyal to her tribe and family, but that’s not enough. We need to dive into her personality, her weaknesses, and fears. It’s these small, subtle elements that make great drama, especially in science fiction, and gives up a glimpse into the story possibilities in future episodes.

I definitely want to see where writer/director Sarah Phillips will take her story, and the pilot episode of Supplements is a good start.

Supplements (2020)

Directed and Written: Sarah Phillips

Starring: Laetitia Leon, Murtaza Ali, La'Netia D. Taylor, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

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"…the surface of the planet is being scorched by solar flares."

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