A review by Nalini Haynes
In a post-apocalyptic future people live in a settlement. There are rules.
Isaac, the titular Wastelander Panda — an actor wearing a panda head and paws with hessian-like tunic and cloak thrown over the top — breaks the rules by accidentally killing a girl who was trying to escape being used as an incubator to breed more humans. To avoid the death penalty, Isaac offered to go into the wasteland to find a replacement brood mare — I mean, woman.
The council accepted Isaac’s offer but threw his brother and his mother out of the community as ‘insurance’; the three pandas wander the wasteland looking for a woman to take back to the commuity.
This didn’t make sense to me.
Why are they pandas? It seemed they could have been ‘normal’ white people like most of the community, with one guy breaking the rules.
Why throw them out as insurance? Surely, if the community wanted insurance that the rule-breaking panda would fulfill his quest by bringing back a woman who could breed for the community, then surely keeping Isaac’s brother and mother would have been more effective.
And finally, the introduction has a voice-over saying that Isaac was different and it was all his fault this happened because he was different and perhaps that was because Isaac couldn’t remember the wasteland. So… Isaac couldn’t remember the wasteland and that’s why he accidentally killed the girl who was trying to escape being used as a brood mare?
The panda costumes are bad. Really bad. They’re at that place in uncanny valley where I focus on whether the mouths move because, after all, whether the panda’s mouth moves when he talks is really relevant to the story. Not.
My best guess is some guys got stoned and thought ‘World of Warcraft pandas have a huge audience. And there was that hit movie Kung Fu Panda. Let’s cash in on the popularity of pandas… I know, let’s call it Wastelander Panda because alliteration is cool in the way that bowties are cool.’
To be fair, this webisode was only about 11 minutes long. I should watch more to see how the story unfolds before making any decision or giving it any rating.
Wastelander Panda is currently on ABC’s iView.