Action heroes are larger than life: Bold, brave, and borderline unkillable in the face of bullets, bears, and bombs. But not even John Rambo or Dwayne Johnson character #326 are immune to the deadliest fate of all: death by natural causes. So when Indiana Jones clone Tom Raker dies suddenly of a heart attack in the new web series Snarky Sidekick, it’s left to his assistants, plucky academic Heather (Siobhan Thompson) and titularly sardonic tech guy Simon (Matthew Starr, who created and wrote the series) to try to keep his legacy alive while constantly quipping about how unequipped they are to do so.
Is “affectionately mocking the cliches and unwritten assumption of an established genre by taking them super seriously” the freshest premise you’ll see all year? Probably not. But the performers are game, and the world they build together has a comic specificity to it that overcomes most hints of staleness, especially when the script drills into the day-to-day minutiae of heroic support. (Simon’s technically minded refusal to use Tom’s equipment because he built the stuff and knows how unreliable it can be comes to mind as a fun example.) In short, the writing works, and Starr has a talent for digging into Simon’s emotional insecurities about leaving the comfortable shade of Tom’s shadow, even as the script deals out a litany of action adventure cliches at a pleasantly steady pace.