UnderDeveloped Satirizes the Film Industry


UnderDeveloped is a new mockumentary series about a group of failed producers who are working together at a production company.

Series creator Brian A. Metcalf reteams with his Adverse star, Thomas Ian Nicholas. The two projects certainly couldn’t be more different–Metcalf has mostly worked in the crime drama and horror genres. It turns out that Metcalf also has a good knack for directing comedy, too. It doesn’t hurt when the series is able to bring on the likes of David Koechner and Tom Arnold. While it’s definitely an ensemble comedy, Nicholas and Metcalf definitely get a lot of work to do base don the first two episodes. The first four episodes will be streaming on Tubi as of September 8 with two more episodes to follow at some point. Tubi is a free AVOD service so audiences can also watch the series without spending money for a new streaming service.

The mockumentary couldn’t be more timely with the double strikes impacting the industry as a whole. It touches on a number of pressing issues facing not just the industry but society in general. For instance, nepotism is front and center in the pilot episode. Ralph’s (Tom Arnold) wife is Stan’s sister. When she demands that Ralph hire Stan (Brian A. Metcalf) to run a lower film division, it means a better qualified employee like Joe (Thomas Ian Nicholas) gets passed over for a deserving promotion. Stan is in way over his head to say the least. When it comes time to re-up a first look deal, Joe plays hardball and does what he must to make sure they get a renewal. Oh yeah, Ralph has zero faith in this division accomplishing anything. Everyone is close to losing their job but somehow, they manage to pull through.

The production company’s office features signage for Bottom Dwellers Film but there are many references to Warner Cousins Pictures throughout the first two episodes. Again, it makes for a fun way of poking fun at the film industry. We all know that the Warners were brothers in real life so why not make a reference in the series.

Here a fun fact for fans of early 1990s baseball movies: UnderDeveloped features the stars of both Rookie of the Year and Little Big League. Rookie of the Year‘s Thomas Ian Nicholas stars as Joe. Little Big League‘s Luke Edwards, according to IMDb, plays Johnny Darrow in the fourth episode, “Cowman.” In playing an action star, Edwards drew inspiration on things that Chris Evans has done per EW. Both actors were also in Adverse.

Underdeveloped is an independent production and also has an interim agreement with SAG-AFTRA. It’s why the series had a Comic Con panel in July and a premiere with the cast on September 5. But anyway, Metcalf draws on years of personal situations in creating the series and writing the episode scripts. In terms of Hollywood satires, the series is in good company with The Beta Test from a few years ago.

If you’re a fan of mockumentaries, it’s worth it to check out UnderDeveloped. I’m curious to see how the rest of the season plays out.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Brian A. Metcalf, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Kelly Arjen, Matthew Helderman, Luke Taylor
CAST: Thomas Ian Nicholas, Brian A. Metcalf, Kelly Arjen, with Mark Pellegrino, David Henrie, David Koechner, and Tom Arnold, Samm Levine, Shelley Regner, Lulu Jojovich
NARRATOR: Jaret Reddick

The first four episodes of UnderDeveloped will premiere on Tubi on September 8, 2023. Two more episodes will follow in the first season. Grade: 3.5/5

Please subscribe to Dugout Dirt and Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.