End of the road for Just Passing Through?

Future of P.E.I. web series likely depends on distributor interest

Mitch MacDonald comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 5, 2016

Just Passing Through web series

Creators of the "Just Passing Through" web series are now looking for a future home and possible third season of the show.

The show's second season premiered to a boisterous laughter and applause from fans during screenings in Charlottetown last week.

Now, creators are hoping the series receives an equally ecstatic reaction from potential distributors.

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The future of a third season likely depends on it.

"Unless someone comes on board for a third season, it probably won't happen," said director Jeremy Larter, who co-created the series with his brother, Jason, and friend Geoff Read.

Jason, who's also a producer, said they're hoping the show's 12 episodes and loyal fan base will help attract either a TV network or online distributor such as Shomi or Crave.

"Ideally, if we could sell those episodes to someone, they would then fund another season," said Jason.

The show's first season was funded through the Independent Production Fund and Innovation P.E.I.

A second season of five longer episodes saw no funding from the provincial government, despite being filmed entirely in the province.

Instead, fans stepped up to the plate and raised $56,000 through a Kickstarter fund, more than 10 per cent higher than the $50,000 goal.

"The Independent Production Fund kicked in the extra that we needed. So if we didn't reach that Kickstarter goal, we probably wouldn't have had season 2," said Jason. "We have fans that are loyal to the show. They're willing to support it, so it's kind of frustrating we haven't sold it yet."

Co-writer Robbie Moses, who also plays Parnell Gallant in the series, also thanked fans and said the second season wouldn't have been made without the support.

The result has been better than expected, in terms of both writing and production.

"We couldn't be happier," said Moses. "It was really a sum of 200 parts and people willing to dedicate a lot of time and effort for little or no pay .... We had a phenomenal crew. We're really thankful for them, our amazing cast and all the extras."

The hard work seems to have paid off.

Feedback has so far matched and even surpassed the first season, which received critical acclaim in Canadian media.

The big question is whether a series with loads of Canadian in-jokes and P.E.I. slang could resonate with a wider audience.

If fellow Canadian comedy series "Trailer Park Boys" is any indicator, then the goal could be possible.

The Nova Scotia-based show went from being a Canadian cult hit to earning a worldwide following after being picked up by Netflix.

Jeremy said he's already heard from fans of all ages throughout Canada and the U.S. who've said they love the show.

And that's with virtually all marketing having been done through social media and word-of-mouth.

"I still think not nearly enough people have seen it yet," said Jeremy. "People really, really like it. If people love a show, it should catch on if it has more exposure. If people felt indifferent, it probably wouldn't work."