Startups may be a risky entrepreneurial venture, but Crackle has done everything it can to protect its investment. In “StartUp,” some shielding is for the best — like the casting of respected character actor (and fan favorite) Martin Freeman — and some damage a quality product, like the overt sex scenes uncomfortably forced into far too many scenes. Yet unlike the young channel’s first dramatic offering, the disastrously ineffectual “The Art of More,” the choices driving “StartUp” seem to be well-intentioned — and the growing pains could disappear over time.
Slowly coming together over its first few episodes, the characters populating Ben Katai’s (“Chosen”) second series aren’t the easiest to identify with, but they’re not quite antiheroes either. We first meet FBI Agent Phil Rask (Freeman) when he walks silently into a hotel room while a couple is having sex. Without saying a word, he sits down and watches them until he’s noticed. An intimidation move meant to swing the impending negotiation in his favor, some of Phil’s decisions are as justifiable as they are unpredictable. Others — like when he beats the shit out of his own car — are either heavily metaphoric or only there to keep us