A new web series is using an unconventional tactic to find popularity: mass transit. More than 1 million daily Los Angeles Metro bus riders are now being exposed to web series, thanks to Transit TV's broadcasting of One Economy's "Los Americans" Monday through Friday.
"Los Americans" follows a multi-generational Mexican-American family, and the first episode alone deals with issues of alcoholism, unemployment, and cultural self-shame. It stars Esai Morales (NYPD Blue, 24, La Bamba) as the family's patriarch, Lupe Ontiveros (Selena, As Good As It Gets) as the grandmother, and Raymond Cruz (best known as drug dealer Tuco on AMC's Breaking Bad).
The drama will be shown in segments on more than 4,000 screens on over 2,000 buses in Los Angeles. It is a departure from the daily news, talk, variety, and weather tidbits that Transit TV has been providing. The show is being broadcast in part to reach people who might have the same problems, and each episode directs people towards resources that might help them.
Before you start saying, "This sounds like after-school special nonsense," it should be noted that the show is well-done, with very accomplished actors, and doesn't play out in a heavy-handed way. Take a look at this episode, entitled "Going To mexico," to see what I mean:
This is the sort of series that is scarce to nonexistent on TV, minorities fill every major role, and dramas tend not to focus on family much anymore, crime procedurals being king these days.
One Economy produces the series. The Washington, D.C. based global nonprofit was created in 2000 with the goal of bringing broadband online to low-income communities. "Los Americans" is one of two dramas they produce alongside the Telly-award-winning "9ine," and several documentary series.
There is no doubt that "Los Americans" will get exposure beyond what a typical web series gets. At five days a week, a million potential viewers every day, almost any upstart would love that kind of awareness.