One of the biggest digital-based projects of the past year is returning for a Season 2 — and Shadow and Act has the exclusive trailer!
Season 2 of Giants will premiere Wednesday, Feb. 21 on Issa Rae’s YouTube channel.
Giants is distributed by Issa Rae's ColorCreative.tv and is executive produced by Jussie Smollett.
It is a scripted drama digital series created by and starring James Bland (USA’s upcoming crime series, Unsolved), alongside Vanessa Baden Kelly (Kenan & Kel, Gullah Gullah Island and Rosewood) and Sean Samuels (SyFy’s Toxic Shark). Season 1 of Giants was praised for authentically capturing the black millennial experience and tackling stigmatized issues including mental health, sexual identity and unconventional means of economic survival.
The show's description: Giants returns bigger and bolder with six, half-hour episodes and an hour-long finale in its second season. Nothing will be the same for Malachi (Bland), Journee (Baden Kelly) and Ade (Samuels), who find themselves sharing a tiny, one-bedroom apartment and are forced to face their inner giants while on full display to one another. This season dives deeper into each character’s past and peels back the layers of their insecurities to find the root of their issues. In true Giants fashion, season 2 pushes the envelope by exploring real-life issues such as abortion, drug abuse, black masculinity and the parameters of sexual assault.
This season's notable guest stars include Kelsey Scott, Will Catlett, KJ Smith, Woody McClain and J. August Richards.
For this season, in an effort to help increase diversity and create on-ramps into the entertainment industry, Giants partnered with LeadersUp to provide young adults of color with the opportunity to gain experience as production assistants.
Check out the trailer below, as well as our chat with Bland on the web series' upcoming season and much more
S&A: What was the reception like for Season 1?
Bland: The reception has been overwhelmingly positive. I think it’s safe to say that the show has found its audience. Season one episodes have accumulated over a million views collectively on YouTube and a video of series star Vanessa Baden Kelly discussing how the black community perceives mental health has soared to 3.3 million views on Facebook. We've learned through messages and comments that the characters and themes in this series resonate with viewers on a very personal level. People have found healing through these stories. For me, that's the most important impact.
S&A: How does it feel to have your series viewed all over the world?
Bland: It's a reminder that God can dream a bigger dream for me than I can dream for myself. Before I released season one, the goal was to get the series into Sundance. That didn't happen, and I was crushed. Working in Hollywood contributed to me developing a love obsession with film festivals that I later realized was unhealthy. I was allowing a festival to validate the worth of my work. Us filmmakers often hang our hopes and dream on an official selection laurel, and we often forget that there's a whole world out there that is accessible via the internet. Once I turned my intention towards releasing Giants online, I realized that my greatest hope for this show was to reach audiences all over the world. I'm proud to say that Giants have fans that stretch across multiple continents and the series was recently translated in Portuguese to air on Brazilian television on TVE in Bahia.
S&A: How do you think Giants differs from other web series offerings?
Bland: I don't look at Giants as a web series. It's a drama series that happens to stream via YouTube. This season we shot six half-hour episodes and a one-hour finale. We are an independently produced digital series that is created, written, directed, produced, funded and distributed by people of color. In my opinion, Giants is in a lane of its own.
S&A: Giants has a lot of notable guest stars on this season. What will they bring to the table?
Bland: Our guest stars bring a level of depth and black excellence to this season that I cannot wait for audiences to see. I really love that we were able to introduce our three lead character's parents this season, as well as, a therapist who comes from a totally different generation than the rest of our cast. Giants tells the millennial experience; however, I believe it's important that we show from whom we came, and on whose shoulders, we stand.
S&A: What are your long-term goals with the show and with your personal career?
Bland: The long-term goal for both Giants and my personal career is global reach. My plan is to produce quality content for a global audience. What that looks like specifically is beyond me. God has the driver's seat, I'm just along for the ride.