Daily Archives: March 21, 2012

The 400 Club – Episode 53

And so it has come to this. The finale of The 400 Club podcast. Sort of.

From next week on, The 400 Club podcast is getting a refresh and joining the Televised Revolution family. Not a whole lot will change, but it will have a new name, a new logo, and probably a new theme song.

But, what do we talk about this week?

  • Dave catches up on 2 Broke Girls
  • Prue examines Missing (S01E01)
  • Dan talks up The Walking Dead season finale (S02E13)
  • Dan recommends HBO TV movie Game Change and questions the validity of movies based on real life events
  • Community (S03E11) gets a look in

The panel also consider their own lives and the moments that remind them of TV.

Be sure to visit us on Twitter / Facebook, or check out our iTunes feed and leave a review (it helps people find the show).

News of the Day 21/03/12

Eddie Izzard has landed the role of Grandpa in Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) and Bryan Singer’s adaptation of The Munsters, Mockingbird Lane.

Casting! The actress who portrayed Catherine Middleton in Lifetime’s William & Kate and who has recurred in Californication, Camilla Luddington, has been cast as a fairy in True Blood‘s upcoming fifth season. Smallville‘s Alison Mack has booked a stint on Wilfred, and Constance Zimmer (Entourage, Boston Legal) has snagged a recurring role in David Fincher’s anticipated Netflix drama House of Cards

Starz, as it did with the Kelsey Grammer vehicle Boss, has renewed Magic City for a second season before its series premiere.

Greg Cromer, who has appeared on Community as the so-called Pottery virgin and doctor Rich and Happy Endings as Doug Hitler, has joined Roseanne Barr’s new NBC comedy Downwardly Mobile.

Aziz Ansari is taking a cue from Louis C.K.’s successful direct-to-buyer experiment and will release his stand-up special “Dangerously Delicious” as a digital dowload via his website www.AzizAnsari.com

Burgeoning movie star Olivia Wilde will return to House, which she joined for three seasons in 2007, for the series finale in May.

Check out the poster for HBO’s Veep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And yet another- less graphic but nevertheless spine-chilling- poster for Game of Thrones.

 

After Hours: how a web series is turning around a 50-year-old brand

Comedy websites have two big challenges: One is the enormous pressure to be actually funny, something that not even the big-time pros at Funny Or Die can always manage. Secondly there’s the self-imposed stigma that comes with calling yourself funny. It’s the pathetic “Am I right folks? Is this thing on?” cringe factor. When you first look at Cracked.com, you’d be forgiven for cringing.

Cracked suffers from a bit of a wonky brand legacy. The site was born out of the collapse of the Cracked Magazine comedy publication, which itself was struggling to maintain relevance in the early 2000s. Launched in 1958 in response to Mad, it turned to a more “lads’ mag” feel in 2006, which tanked. Thankfully, the powers-that-be had enough sense to kill the magazine and focus its work online, and throughout the years Cracked.com has developed a solid core writing team and a distinctive presence. I was introduced to the site the usual way: a friend sent me a funny article they thought I’d like. When I explored further I found not only more funny articles, but also a burgeoning online video presence.

The site has a number of online series, both serialised and in more stand-alone episodic formats (including the Streamy Award winning Agents of Cracked). Maybe in another article down the track I’ll review some of them, but today I’m focusing on After Hours, my personal favourite.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WeT2wwVwSY[/youtube]

After Hours has a lot of basic things that make it good:

  • It’s a simple (if slightly unoriginal) premise: four members of the wider Cracked editorial and video team (Dan O’Brien, Soren Bowie, Michael Swaim and Katie Willert, playing fictionalised versions of themselves) get together after work and debate classic pop-culture meaningless stuff like ‘Why Star Wars is Secretly Terrifying for Women’ and ‘5 Classic Movie High Schools it Would Suck to Attend.’
  • Four different illustrators animating the arguments of the gang adds a unique narrative dimension.
  • While on occasion patchy, it’s mostly well-written, performed and produced by the team.
  • It has some really funny gags (most delivered by Swaim, who is a truly gifted comedian).
  • It cleverly picks cultural references that play straight to its target audience.

On top of this, as I watched the first season unfold it became clear to me that After Hours was something better than good. It develops and grows. Whilst all of the episodes do stand alone, I thoroughly recommend watching from the first episode to truly appreciate it. There is no overarching story, but the writers subtly call back to other episodes and weave in character arcs, like the underplayed sexual tension between Willert and Bowie that comes to a head in ‘Why Batman is Secretly Terrible for Gotham’ (a standout episode I would recommend you catch, but it’s better to watch them all). You also get more joy from watching if you know the wider Cracked landscape as Bowie, O’Brien and Swaim extend on the voice and tone they use in their other Cracked pieces.  Without sounding ridiculous, After Hours gives you the sense that you’re peering into the heart of what makes Cracked funny (hint: it isn’t the brand).

It is this aspect of After Hours that makes it a good web series: It knows how to walk the fine line between being in-jokey and broad, bite-size but within a context of it’s parent site. And it lets writers and performers shine. Sure, it probably could do with more polishing, and some performers are stronger than others, but for a bunch of relatively young filmmakers it’s quite impressive

It’s clear Cracked.com made the right move away from blokey magazines and toward smart young writer/performers who are quietly doing some cool stuff in their corner of the internet.

 

Season 1 of After Hours is available on YouTube.

Season 2 of After Hours debuted on 12 March 2012, see the first episode of season 2 here.

Explore all of Cracked.com’s videos (and the wider site).

Televised Revolution – Episode 228

Firing at full strength, Televised Revolution is back this week with a corker of a podcast. As each of us battle through our personal demons ranging from cigarette addiction to an addiction to the popular smart phone game Draw Something, we sit and talk television.

On the podcast this week we discuss:

  • Channel 9’s financing.
  • The return of Larry King to TV by way of an interesting IPTV service.
  • Samurai Pizza Cats is finally released on DVD.

We also have a chat with the guys from cult TV show Danger 5 about the DVD release of their show.

At Televised Revolution, we look forward to receiving your mail and check us out on the Twitter. You can also find the podcast on iTunes (please leave us a review, it helps people find the show).