There seems to be a new web series debuting every fortnight, but we’re still in the process of figuring out what we want from the medium. Many shows are a mixture of provocation and easy-going observational comedy: the freedom of the web, but with a safety net. This cautious approach is alluded to in the fourth episode of Txdrmy, Srinivas Sunderrajan’s five-episode web series. The writer-director, appearing as himself, promises that the next season will be darker than the first. “Dark is good," a crew member advises, “but dark and depressing is bad."

Txdrmy is mildly dark, often funny and just weird enough to keep one moving from one episode to the next. Like Sunderrajan’s no-budget 2010 film The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project, it’s a work of metafiction. We begin the first episode in a taxi at night. A driver (Siddhant Behl) tells his passenger that he looks like Dev Anand. The passenger says he’s been plagued all his life by this, to the extent that he no longer believes his reflection is his own. Just as the driver appears to see a vision of Anand in the back seat, someone calls “cut" and the taxi is revealed to be a prop on a film set.

In the next “journey", a female passenger claims she’s god. In lieu of payment, she offers a miracle—not a bad metaphor for a cash-strung director expecting his cast and crew to come up with something transcendent. The actor/driver ends the episode even more rattled that he was after his exchange with the Anand lookalike. Is there something inexplicable going on with this show? Or is it just the director inserting last-minute changes?

After a bold twist in the third episode, the series can’t stick the landing (if ending after five episodes was the intention at all). The last episode in particular seems to collapse under the weight of meta-conceits. But Behl, who was terrific in the feature film Jugni earlier this year, has considerable comic energy, and Hussain Dalal and Ashish Verma are amusingly grim in their brief appearances. The whole series is around 30 minutes all told, and a good 20 of those are worth your time.

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