Bottom Line: There are very few series I want to love as much as Riese, and I do like it a lot. The history and mythology they have woven is stellar and the overall story arc is rich and sophisticated. If any part of the formula has gone wrong it is that they seem to have shot a web series as if it were a television pilot, which can leave the viewer disoriented.
Riese is a world of moral ambiguity and political intrigue.
A decimated land populated by characters from dreams and nightmares. Loyalties are ever in question, suspicion in the minds of all. The realm, however, was not always so cruel. Everything began with a peaceful nation called Eleysia.
The Kingdom of the Wolf, Eleysia was once prosperous due largely to the influence of Empress Kara and Emperor Ulric. This all changed when a coup d’etat, orchestrated from the shadows by a religious cult, brought about a total regime change.
Taking the throne was Amara, the Empress’s cousin.
A power-hungry tyrant, Amara immediately utilized Eleysia’s wealth and power to begin colonizing the world, crushing nation after nation in order to unite the people under one banner. Even as she assaulted the world, an ominous, enigmatic group clearly wielded power over her. Called The Sect, they purported themselves to be the official religion of Eleysia, and began to spread alongside Eleysia’s borders.
Since the coup, the land has begun to die, resources are dwindling and compassion is fading. Humanity itself is seen as impure. People have grown restless, almost feral. Rituals and mythology have resurged, and the darker side of mankind has begun to reveal itself.
The true horror of the world is not in how it ends, but what will become of mankind as it fractures.And yet, despite the impending doom, a single beacon of light shines in Riese. A mysterious wanderer, she travels with her wolf Fenrir across this barren land. Branded as heretics by The Sect, Riese and Fenrir will pause to aid those in need as they travel, but they must evade capture at all costs. As she flees, she’ll piece together her past and her destiny, in a conflict that will hold the fate of this world in the balance – and the once peaceful kingdom of Eleysia will be the battlefield.
This is the world of Riese.
Cast: Christine Chatelain, Sharon Taylor, Patrick Gilmore, Ben Cotton
Website: Riese The Series
The costume design is amazing, absolutely amazing. While there aren’t too many other flashy pyrotechnics to sink your teeth into, the costumes are some of the most well done I’ve seen in any web series. (Style 3.5)
These episodes are designed to be watched in one viewing. You can tell that this show is shot more like a television pilot than a web series, which works as long as you go into it knowing that fact. (Pacing 3)
I love the mythology, I love the setting and I think there is a ton of room for this show to grow and develop. In the end, I think the best thing that can be done to improve it is to tighten up some of the episodes and try to introduce a few more plot elements in each. I came into this series expecting a lot, and the early episodes seem a little thin. This isn’t a condemnation but rather a wish for change. (Storytelling 4.5)
If you want to love this show, watch it all in one sitting. If you want to be left feeling a bit unsatisfied, watch it episode to episode. (Watchability 3 )