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Series Review: “Play It By Ear” – Navigating the Challenges of Modern Long-Distance Love



Play It By Ear,” the digital series presented by Karen Twins Productions, takes viewers on a journey through the complexities of long-distance relationships in the modern age. 

Set in both Amsterdam and Los Angeles, this six-episode season serves as the first instalment of an anthology series that will explore new characters and cities in each subsequent season.

This first season revolves around Lukas (Dillon Bentlage) and Mila (Emily Ann Zisko), college sweethearts who find themselves in a long-distance relationship after graduation. Lukas, originally from the Netherlands, moves to Amsterdam for work, while Mila embarks on a yearlong screenwriting program in Los Angeles. As their lives take different paths, their relationship faces numerous challenges and changes. The central question becomes whether they can grow together or inevitably grow apart.

The series delves into the struggles of maintaining intimacy and connection across time zones and circumstances. 

The first episode portrays the difficulty of getting intimate over the phone, which disrupts the once-strong sexual chemistry between Lukas and Mila. The narrative explores the impact of distance on their relationship and leaves viewers questioning whether their love can withstand the challenges they face.

As the episode ends, Mila asks Lukas over the phone “Can we make it?”.

The second episode takes us back six months earlier, showing Lukas and Mila‘s graduation in California. Their families gather for a celebratory dinner, but tensions arise when Lukas‘ family brings up Mila‘s impending move to Amsterdam, to which she hesitates. This glimpse into their past provides insight into the foundation of their relationship and sets the stage for future conflicts.

In the third episode, Mila and Lukas reach a breaking point and decide to take drastic measures. As their communication stagnates, Mila‘s mental health begins to deteriorate. It is clear that they are both being influenced one way or the other not just by the situation they find themselves in but by other people.

This development adds emotional depth to the series and highlights the toll that distance can take on individuals.

With an average episode duration of around 10 minutes, “Play It By Ear” offers a concise and easily digestible viewing experience. However, the pacing feels somewhat rushed, leaving room for potential missed opportunities in exploring the characters’ emotional journeys. 

Simon Kienitz Kincade and Emily Ann Zisko are both credited as writers and directors on the series so far. It appears they are presenting a very honest and authentic takes on the matter of distance relationships and it sure to resonate with many. This somewhat sets a high expectation for the remaining episodes to close the first season and also the subsequent seasons that are intended to explore new characters and different cities.

Overall, “Play It By Ear” is a decent show that resonates with couples, regardless of whether they are separated by distance. It prompts viewers to contemplate important questions and engage in necessary conversations that can either strengthen or jeopardize a relationship.

The series provides a window into the trials and tribulations of long-distance relationships, leaving audiences with anticipation for the remaining three episodes and the outcome of Lukas and Mila‘s journey. 

Do well to check it out. I will score this 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Second on my list of addictions is Movies.. the only thing I could possibly love more is my Dearest Waakye lol. Nothing else does a better job of reminding me that ANYTHING is possible with the right amount of effort. I have great eye for details and flaws in scripts. Shallow scripts bore me. I am an avid reader. Your everyday Mr Nice guy. Always the last to speak in a room full of smart people. Half Human, half Martian but full MOVIE FREAK.

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