The Dream Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

It seems pilots about chasing the dream in Los Angeles were supposed to be hot this year at SXSW! But of all the TV shows about this idea, The Dream is the one that worked the best for me. The pilot follows Daryl (Micah Bijon) as he struggles to find his path right out of film school. How hard is he struggling? Well, we kick things off with his middle school-aged nephew giving him ten dollars for gas to ensure he can get home, get to work that day, and presumably collect him at the end of the day. Turns out college is expensive. Living in LA probably isn’t helping him out much either. 

Thankfully, Daryl’s got a friend. College pal Meena (Nikohl Boosheri) is a production coordinator on the set of a music video and is able to get him a job for the day. If he does well, she’ll be able to hire him more. If things go poorly, well, you know the drill. 

The Dream’s pilot follows that first day on set and the hijinks that ensue when you find yourself as the new kid. Anyone from the arts will recognize the friendly hazing that occurs early on, but it’s not long before Daryl’s proving that Meena hired him as more than just a favor between friends. 

Early on, it’s easy to fall into the assumption that Daryl falls into the curse that many artists do – all dream and no drive. A quick chat with the music video’s director proves otherwise. It turns out that he’s not just talented in his own right, but ostensibly more talented than the man who’s currently his boss’ boss’ boss. Back when they were in college, Daryl beat Sean (Joey Thompson) for first place in a short film competition. While it’s not called out in the moment, the two men look very different from one another. The Dream speaks to Daryl’s blackness several times early on, so here’s hoping that we see this discussion taken further should the series get a pickup order. 

Though things start off rocky for our lead on his first day on set, we quickly see him start to form new friendships. It’s difficult to avoid when on set whether it’s stage or film. You either have to come together to solve the problems, or everything falls apart. But what’s the fun in a pilot without any conflict?

So far as pilots go, The Dream hits its mark. It sets up enough questions for you to want more from the series, but not in a way that sacrifices in-the-moment entertainment. I laughed a lot during its twenty minute runtime, and found myself grinning when I wasn’t. This one’s got some real Party Down vibes, if you’re looking for a comparison. Just scrap the catering company for a production crew, kick back, and enjoy.

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