Web Video: The Mercury Men
Edward Borman, a lowly government office drone, finds himself trapped when the deadly Mercury Men seize his office building as a staging ground for their nefarious plot. Aided by a daring aerospace engineer from a mysterious organization known as The League, Edward must stop the invaders and their doomsday device, the Gravity Engine.The Mercury Men
is an indie sci-fi web serial recently picked up and hosted by the SyFy
network. Filmed in black and white, it combines elements of Dieselpunk
, Raygun Gothic
and atomic punk, with a feel reminiscent of the original Outer Limits
The Mercury Men provides examples of:
- Adventurer Outfit: Jack Yaeger wears the standard Raygun Gothic version.
- Aliens Never Invented the Wheel: Apparently, the Mercury Men have sophisticated technology; they can transport between worlds and manipulate gravity. But going from planet to planet via chemical-propelled rockets is something new and threatening to them.
- All There in the Manual: The official website provides tons of supplementary material, including blueprints, digital props, and faux-1960’s trading cards.
- Always Save the Girl: At a critical moment, Edward takes time from helping Jack to make sure Grace gets to safety.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Gravity Engine.
- Behind a Stick: Edward tries this, hiding behind a narrow metal pole.
- Big Bad: The Chief Designer.
- Blind Without Them: Edward can't see a thing without his glasses.
- Brain in a Jar: The "Batteries".
- Brick Joke: Grace’s form still needs stamping eight episodes later. The final fate of the brain-in-a-jar probably counts too.
- Chekhov's Gun: It looks like the Lumiére might actually be this in the 10th episode cliffhanger.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: Done silently but forcefully by Jack to Edward.
- Cowardly Sidekick: Edward is almost literally afraid of his own shadow.
- Deliberately Monochrome
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The Lumiére's bullets.
- Dieselpunk: Mixing Sixties Sci-fi themes with Thirties-style Raygun Gothic.
- Doomsday Device: The Gravity Engine
- Dressing as the Enemy: Edward's idea for getting Jack near the Gravity Engine.
- Energy Beings: The Mercury Men.
- Extra Eyes: The Mercury engineers' suits have three eyeholes. Apparently the Mercury Men have an extra eye.
- Gravity Master: The Chief Designer.
- Hard Light: The Lumiére's bullets. And the Mercury Men themselves.
- He Had a Name: Before killing the sniper that killed Glenn, Jack tells him, "You shot the wrong man. His name was Patrick Glenn. Apologize when you see him."
- Hologram: Jack uses a hologram of a Mercury man to distract a sniper.
- Humanoid Aliens: The Mercury Men, also called "the first men" in the series, are humanoid in appearance, but are taller, thinner and stoop (supposedly because of Earth's greater gravity). They are also composed of Hard Light and apparently have a Third Eye.
- Humans Are Special: At least according to Dr. Tomorrow.
- Infinite Ammo: Averted/subverted. Although The League’s zap-gun-of-choice - the Lumiére - resembles a modified six-shot revolver, so at first glance this trope appears to be played straight, the blueprints on The Mercury Men website reveal that each of the six glowing mercury pin bullets is good for 24 shots, for a total of 144 energy blasts per full reload! Finite yeah, but still — Gene Autry, eat your heart out! It does, however, seem to run out at the most inconvenient times.
- It May Help You on Your Quest: Jack gives Edward his gun at the end of Episode 9, implying he'll need it later.
- Jump Scare: When the Mercury engineer appeared out of the darkness at the end of Episode 10.
- Meaningful Name: The hero, Jack Yaeger.note
- Another League member is named Glenn.
- And the nebbish accountant who's bored with his job... Edward Borman.
- The leader of the futuristic League is named Dr. Tomorrow.
- My Girl Back Home: Jack confides in Edward that he has a girl back home in Fairborn, Ohio. The Battery threatens her life later on.
- No Endor Holocaust: Apparently this universe never heard of the Roche Limit. Possibly justified, as we don't really know how the Gravity Engine works.
- No Ontological Inertia: Averted. It's specifically stated that turning off the engine won't fix the problem. It has to be reversed.
- Oblivious Janitor Cut: At least until the Mercury Men zap him.
- Our Zombies Are Different: A construction worker electrocuted by the Mercury Men is reanimated to carry around one of the Batteries.
- Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment: Inverted - The Mercury Engineers wear special suits not because the Gravity Engine is dangerous to handle, but because they are made of light and can't handle it without wearing the suit.
- Playing Possum: Edward and Grace pretend to be dead as a Mercury Man walks by.
- Ray Gun: Jack's pistol, the Lumiére, fires "mercury pin" bullets, made of Hard Light. Apparently it is the only thing that can kill the Mercury Men.
- Raygun Gothic: Much of the serial evokes this genre. The hero himself, Jack Yaeger, is dressed as a typical Raygun Gothic pilot: Bomber jacket, flight cap and goggles, jodhpurs and jackboots, and carrying a raygun.
- Reverse Polarity: Jack has to do this to the Gravity Engine - with Edward's help - to put the moon back in its proper orbit.
- Schizo Tech: The story is set in the mid-Seventies. But the lighting - and the monsters - looks like The Outer Limits (The Sixties), Edward's and Grace's outfits look Fifties-ish, and Jack's outfit evokes The Thirties. And it mixes Dieselpunk, Raygun Gothic, Atomic Punk, horror and other genres seamlessly.
- Shock and Awe: The Mercury Men's main weapon.
- Shout-Out: A visual one in Episode six, where Dr. Tomorrow controls the transmission.
- In Episode 10, Edward gets a package from "Buck Rogers" (Yaeger) full of Lumiére bullets.
- The two named league agents are Yaeger and Glenn.
- Space Base: The abandoned Mercury Men's base on Mercury.
- Took a Level in Badass: Well, more like half a level. While Edward does not achieve true bad-assitude, his ray-gun marksmanship skills improve somewhat during his twelve-hour ordeal (once he learns to keep his eyes open, anyway), as do both his willingness to put himself into harms way and his ability to think on his feet.
- Two-Fisted Tales
- Weird Moon: The Mercury Men try to pull the Moon down to crash into the Earth, and almost succeed. Strangely, there are none of the resultant tidal quakes, flooding and other disasters that should have happened in such an event.
- White Collar Worker: Edward.
- X Meets Y: Captain Video meets The Outer Limits.
- You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me: Words to this effect are said by Edward, several times.