If you're going to make a scripted web series, it's almost a foregone conclusion that it will be a comedy—sci-fi costs too much, most straight-up dramas have too many locations for the quick turnaround required, and a funny script can overcome most technical handicaps. And the writing for Ghost Ghirls is pretty good, especially the riffing between Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci, the writer/stars of the series.
Meta-hilariously, this series was developed for Syfy, which airs a gazillion el cheapo ghost-hunting shows of exactly the kind this 10-ish-minute long series is parodying. The show doesn't always hit—there's an episode in an Old West-style whorehouse that made even less sense than the rest of the extremely silly series. But by and large it's great, and the guest stars are surprisingly high-wattage: Colin Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, The New Girl's terrific Jake Johnson, among many others.
If I have one complaint, it's that the leads are funniest together and there's not really time to incorporate the guest stars into the passive-aggressive dynamic between the two stars ("If you get take-out, will you save me some?" "No." "Okay."). Some fare better than others—Johnson is great, and Odenkirk's own shtick is so funny it doesn't matter that he doesn't really fit in—so the show certainly finds ways around that problem, but I found myself wishing there were more moments of the two girls sniping quietly at one another.
Perhaps this sounds odd, but the show benefits tremendously from the brief running time; as a half hour, the gags would wear pretty thin, whereas the brevity sharpens the gags. There has been a lot of complaining about the lack of premium content on the web in recent months; this show certainly seems to fit the bill.
I have a little problem with Tiny Commando: how tall is this guy, anyway? The boilerplate says he's only four inches tall, but as someone with a fair number of action figures on his desk, I can tell you what a four-inch-high man looks like and he's much shorter than this dude. Anyway, this show is probably my favorite of the new crop of digital shorts. It's really, really goofy and the performances—notably Gillian Jacobs as TC's handler Mitzi (Client: "Thank you for saving my company." Mitzi: "And your life, if that's important.")—are terrific. The pilot has a really, really good gag with a leader legally distinct from Kim Jong-Un and his all-business translator, and the riffs on everything from film noir to dumb racing movies are pretty solid.
Ed Helms is listed as a creator alongside Jacob Fleisher, and he also plays Cesar Pequeno, the supervillain with one normal-sized finger instead of a right hand (I'd be cranky, too).
Basically, it's a J.J. Abrams show on a very small scale—a private investigator become the target of a larger conspiracy over the course of several standalone missions. Fingers crossed, but nobody has switched sides from good to evil to good again, and the entire cast does not appear to have been dead for several episodes unbeknownst to the viewer. The effects are really simple and fantastic across the board—some of it's green-screen, of course, but more of it is just clever camera angles and trick shots (a kung-fu battle with a guinea pig is fought mostly in silhouette).
For some reason, the episodes are two-parters at less than five minutes each; the format works fine but it does make you wonder why they're not straight-up ten minute episodes.