Jan 2, 2021

"Dirigible Days": Convoluted Short Steampunk Series with a Gay Subtext


I don't usually care for steampunk, putting weird technological advances into the Victorian Era.  But Dirigible Days, a 15-minute webseries, had a plot blurb about three guys in a dirigible, so I thought there might be some buddy bonding.  I watched two episodes.

First Episode, Scene 1: Plot dump gibberish.  Basically this is a post-Apocalyptic world, but the Apocalypse was in the Victorian Era.  Who needs a long, drawn-out explanation? They have dirigibles, I get it.

Scene 2: More plot dump gibberish.  While having tea outside his dirigible, Pretentious Guy tells two other guys that:

Strega is not supernatural or a prophet of Cthulhu (um...the Cthulhu Mythos is post-Victorian).  

You should kil Pinkerton, who abducted Strega.

No drinking this time.

Scene 3:  Tavern.  The Two Guys are getting drunk. An annoying number of shots of the barmaid's breasts as she walks in front of the camera to serve drinks. Two other guys, one young, one old, are discussing types of dirigibles.  Boring!  

Young Guy == Captain Dunbar -- is conducting interviews for a dirigible engineer.  Old Guy -- no.  Barmaid:  "You're young...single...flexible?"  She throws a drink at him.  The Bartender -- no.  Then Hooper Johnson, an Academy graduate.  He's overqualified. 

The Two Guys start harassing Captain Dunbar and making racist comments (apparently he's Mexican), so he shows them that he has a gun in place of one arm.  The bartender kicks them out.

Wait -- the Two Guys from the dirigible aren't the protagonists?

Seene 4:
Hoop is hired.  He helps the very drunk Captain Dunbar out into the street (arm around waist). They run into the other two guys, who want to fight.  Hoop shoots one, and Dunbar the other.  

Dunbar: "Cute gun."  The first homoerotic double-entendre, after about six hetero ones.

A mysterious caped figure examines the bodies, and sees tattoos indicating that the two guys were "Woe Claw mercenaries."  Hoop and Dunbar raise their guns, expecting another fight.    But Caped Figure -- Antonio Cordell -- is pleased.  He works for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, but he won't arrest Dunbar if he does a job for him.

"If I do a job.  You mean we.  Hoop and I are together."   (They hug; they already have a permanent bond)

The job: transport Cordell and his prisoner to Skyland.

Scene of the prisoner, chained up, next to a mysterious trunk.  End of the first episode.

Second episode, Scene 1: Grainy black-and-white footage of several guys leading the Prisoner through the woods.  They stop to rest and talk: "We should never have let Captain Iwaki go into that temple alone.  He had his head torn off by this monster."

They set up a transmigram to contact Commodore Keitel. "Tell him we have bound High Priest Stega." 

Aha, the one that got stolen in the last episode, whom Pretentious Guy claimed is not really supernatural, or a priest of Cthulhu. (ahem...Cthulhu is not Victorian.)

Suddenly an intruder starts shooting.

More after the break

Scene 2:  The dirigible, parked in the wilderness.  Captain Dunbar introduces Hoop to their pilot, Josie  (uh-oh, the gay subtext will be ruined by The Girl).   Josie is mute, but not deaf.

Hoop: She's adorable.  We'e going to get along fine. You don't use "adorable" about people you find hot, so maybe he's not interested after all.

Scene 3: Hoop has been aboard for about a day, and has made some modifications to make the engine more efficient.  The Captain says they have to drop anchor to avoid an atmospheric maelstrom (ok, Edgar Allen Poe was Victorian).  Also, it's Game Night tonight in the mess hall. (There's a mess hall for a crew of three?)

Scene 4: The deck, where Josie is piloting.  Dunbar wants to know when they will arrive at Skyland. The maelstrom will cause a delay., so Humbolt will be angry (who the heck is Humbolt?)

The Prisoner is locked up in the brig.  Dunbar wishes that Cordell could be locked up with him: "the inept, blackmailing Pinkerton."

Scene 5: Game night.  Dunbar makes a jobke about heterosexual sex.  Josie is not amused: "For all your talk, you haven't shagged in years."  Well, not with a woman, anyway.  

Cordell comes in -- sorry, his name is Cornell. Josie calls him a "drunken fool."  He insults for being mute.  She almost attacks. 

"My prisoner is not the first Cthulhu Cultist you've had aboard this ship." Cornell tells Dunbar.  He looks at Josie.  Dunbar stares. Could she be....

Scene 6:
Cornell goes to the brig and opens the Prisoner's locked trunk.  An eerie green light. He slams it shut.  The end.

Beefcake: No.

Other Sights: No.  All interiors and forest scenes.

Convoluted Plot: Yes. The post-Apocalyptic setting was completely unnecessary; just make it an alternate world, like other steampunk.  The first scene was completely unnecessary; why introduce characters who aren't protagonists, and have the real protagonists show up later?   

Dunbar interviewing people while drunk resulted in massive confusion.; the Old Guy sort of merges into the Barmaid, so I thought he was confusing one for the other.

  Calling Antonio Cornell "Pinkerton" just because he works for the Pinkerton Detective Agency?  Confusing.

Maybe the original comic book is less convoluted.

Heterosexism: Dunbar spends all his time trying to pick up ladies or talking about picking up ladies.  But at least no one is crushing on Josie.

Gay Characters: Dunbar-Hoops gay subtext.

Is It Worth It?  Why not?  Only 5 15-minute episodes.  You can get it done and still have time for an episode of Corner Gas before breakfast.


  1. Don't know what that is but gay subtext... 😏

    It's pretty much everywhere. Well, almost! 🤷‍♂️

    1. I tend to exclude family, characters intended to be family, children, and things of that nature. Unless it's deliberate.

    2. None of the characters in the series are family members.

  2. This seems to have a DIY movie charm

    1. It was crowdsourced and filmed in St. Louis. Most of the cast seem to be amateurs. James Bragado (Captain Dunbar) was a history major at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Jeff Gruhala (Hoops) plays for the St. Louis Blues hockey team.

  3. A dirigible is a lighter-than-air craft that can be piloted. Before the invention of the airplane, many people believed that they were the future of transportation. Jules Verne's "Five Weeks in a Balloon" is really about an experimental dirigible flight.


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