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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Eric, a student at Five Points High School, is dead. That much is clear. The reason why is still a mystery.

Though he apparently committed suicide, killing himself in a parked car, Eric didn't leave behind a note. He didn't record a series of tapes, à la 13 Reasons Why. Someone was in the car with him at the time, a friend named Lexi. But few know she was there, and she's not talking about it. Yet.

Five students each have bits of the puzzle. But none of them—even Lexi—have enough to piece together the what and why and even the who. Not who literally killed Eric, who seems to have done that himself. But who—perhaps a collection of whos—bears responsibility for his tragic death. And so it's up to Facebook Watch viewers to solve the streaming mystery before the final episode airs.

Streaming of Conscience

In some ways, Five Points is nothing new. Deadly mysteries have been a storytelling staple since Edgar Allen Poe committed Murder in the Rue Morgue; and bands of semi-guilty suspects have been in vogue since at least Agatha Christie.

But if Five Points' story isn't all that unusual, how this series tells it offers a bit of a new twist.

The show airs on Facebook Watch, which is simply a page on Facebook. Anyone who belongs to that social network can watch if they so wish. (And that, in itself, is problematic, as we'll soon see.)

Forget the usual hour-long drama format, too: Facebook keeps its episodes down to a measly 10 minutes, airing two at a time weekly. Each episode is told, more or less, from the perspective of one student, with each new installment adding more context to the last. By the end of the series' 10-episode run, audiences should know what happened to Eric.

From Whodunit to I'm Done With It

If Five Points takes some inspiration from Christie and Clue, it also turns to 13 Reasons Why. The show makes a big deal of the serious themes it tackles—from bullying and LGBT issues to drug abuse and suicide. And, as has become vogue, it also offers a list of resources for anyone affected by these concerns or triggered by the show's treatment of them.

Not that there are many viewers left to trigger at this point.

Facebook's grand experiment in the world of original programming started out pretty strong. About 5.2 million people watched the opening episode as of this publication date—respectable numbers in this age of unlimited viewing options and fragmented audiences.

But the show's viewership plummeted by 80% the following week. As of today, the eighth episode has been watched about 150,000 times.

Perhaps that's because the show just isn't very good.

Oh, it's not horrible. If a high school drama department was behind Five Points, in fact, I'd say it was rather effectively executed. But 10-minute episodes don't allow for much time for character enrichment. And, well, Facebook itself has never been known for its thoughtful subtlety.

Still, Facebook manages to squeeze quite a bit of questionable content into those 10 minutes. Eric's blood is spattered again and again. People beat other people up. Characters kiss, and same-sex issues are very much part of the show's plot. Folks swear, too, up to and including the s-word.

Now, none of this rises to Game of Thrones-level gratuity, of course. Five Points would be right at home on even network television (minus those s-words). And each episode is prefaced with a content warning, which seems considerate. Still, for a show that can be watched on a smartphone by any and all youngsters with a Facebook account—potentially circumnavigating whatever parental oversight a home might have—the content warning might actually be a selling point here rather than a deterrent.

Five Points may be a sign of how the world of television continues to change and evolve. But frankly, I found the show a bit … pointless.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

July 2, 2018: "We Started This/I Saw the Tape

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Madison Pettis as Tosh; Spence Moore II as Eric; Nathaniel J. Potvin as Wallace; Hayley Kiyoko as Lexi; Raymond Alexander Cham Jr. as CJ; Coco Jones as Jayla; Trey Curtis as Jonathan; Daniela Nieves as Ananda; Jake Austin Walker as Alex; Jahking Guillory as Ronnie

Director

Distributor

Network

Facebook Watch

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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