Bunneh3000’s Ode To G4TV: I Want My GeekTV
The sexy and quirky Olivia Munn. The hilariously talented and quick witted Kevin Pereira. The passionately geeky and funny Chris Hardwick. The sarcastic and logically critical Adam Sessler. The beautiful and unerringly intelligent Morgan Webb. The awkwardly comic and powerful Jessica Chobot.
Between about 2003 and 2012, I frequented G4TV/TechTV as the only somewhat accurate representation of gamer culture on Cable TV. As a gamer and someone who craved a variety of opinions on the latest game and news in the gaming industry, G4TV was the closest thing to having a source of geeky news on a daily basis. Interestingly enough, I hated watching news channels and programs due to my desire to remove myself from the negativity and anxiety inducing stories that were pumped through TV journalists 24/7. Instead, G4TV’s programming spoke to me in a way that reinforced my hobbies of escapism. As an engineer, the channel’s occasional focus on technology (which is probably more applicable to IT work) was also appealing.
To this day, I set the bar for all of my podcasting endeavors at the level of Kevin and Olivia’s onscreen chemistry. While they didn’t always hit the right note with their comedic choices, their timing and personalities would often pull off skits and lines that many other hosts just couldn’t do. I miss it. Oddly enough, the amazingly popular culture of geekdom today (which is flourishing in mainstream coverage I might add) misses it as well. While there are so many other podcasts, YouTubers, and Twitchers that manage to seemingly fill the void for this younger generation of geeks, those of us who remember the days of this channel’s peak certainly value what the odd programming brought to the table on TV.
Let’s face it. G4 wasn’t perfect. There were many nights I would sit and wonder why certain skits were chosen and realize that the demographic that they were aiming for was often times exclusive of myself. Personally, I thought that their chosen demographic of the younger more TRL-esque white male crowd was mistaken as I often spoke to fellow minority and female geeks and gamers who would frequent shows like X-Play, Attack of the Show, The Screen Savers, and The Electric Playground to name a few. I suppose Silicone Valley didn’t have a wealth of camera ready minorities or something to that effect (I’ll save the diversity discussion for later). Not to mention the fact that the content of AOTS often times seemed like you were in the midst of a frat party (overly sexualized jokes, skimpy dressed The Feed hosts, etc.). While a lot of that was hard to watch, the fleeting moments when real opinions about stuff like new DVD releases by Chris Gore or great new comics to check out by Blair Butler were priceless. The ‘critics’ that they had there were really good and I tended to agree with their opinions of certain media. I know this rant is a bit AOTS-centric, but let’s face it…aside from X-Play, most everything else on the channel at one point was either American Ninja Warrior or COPs.
In the later years of Attack of the Show, during the period that I call “Post-Munn”, I always felt that the show struggled to find that comfort zone as they had a rotation of special guest hosts (which included Chris Hardwick of the now wildly popular Nerdist group as well as the “Talking Dead” show). My wife, who is basically allergic to geek culture for the most part, had even found enjoyment (sometimes) in watching Attack of the Show as a part of our daily after work routine. At times she would latch onto an interesting celebrity interview or bit of news concerning video games or interesting technology and gadgets. While she never did fully take the plunge into geekdom, she did manage to cave in and become a fan of amazing shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. While she does admit to loving those shows, she’ll never consider herself a geek. In my eyes, I see the days of AOTS as her tenderizing for these shows to make their way into her heart!
The insanity of AOTS introduced me to things like The Glitch Mob, Chris Hardwick, Blair Butler, Andy Allo, Grace Helbig, Baman and Piderman, countless things on Gadget Pr0n, and much much more! Occasionally, the content of the show would get a bit heavy with on air debates about a few topics but it was pretty much understood that if you were a guest on AOTS that you didn’t really want to take yourself too seriously. The light hearted feel to the show was probably what drew me to it. Since it didn’t go the dramatic serious route, the show’s attempts at comedy (while typically juvenile) did manage to hit the right note at times. My love for Grace Helbig and her timing was all due to G4TV and the few moments they aired her hilarity. In a way, most of the other hosts and guest hosts were the same way (yes, this includes Chris Hardwick).
Then something happened. As the “Post Munn” era continued, I began to see more and more of the negative sarcasm of hosts like Adam Sessler become more of a regular thing. Like most of the other older heads that could stomach most of the MTV-audience-directed jokes and tone, I noticed that new episodes of X-Play were less frequent and COPS began to dominate spots before and after the AOTS geek block in the late afternoon or early evening timeframe. Even Kevin Pereira’s demeanor seemed to show shavings of sadness and discontent. Let’s face it. Attack Of The Show was a live daily news outfit that required a LOT of ‘upbeat’ energy to match the style of what was to be discussed on the show. I imagine the days with good celebrity interviews were easier, but trying to mask having a bad day or anxiety about the shelf life of the show (much less the whole channel) had to be ridiculously difficult. Honestly I can’t imagine the hate mail that was directed towards Morgan Webb or Olivia Munn or Kevin Pereira or Sara Underwood from people that either felt like they could do their job or simply just hated the ‘hot-girl-eating-a-hot-dog-in-a-bikini’ tunnel vision that the channel seemed to want to focus on.
As an amateur freelance tech and gaming critic, I imagine I always saw myself eventually building up the cred to work with such creatives as the G4 crew and Kevin Pereira, whom I still follow and listen to on his entertainment venture The Attack and The Pointless Podcast via Supercreative.tv. I would shoot them random emails looking to become a part of the online editorial staff. For a time, I essentially thought that working for/with them was the ‘top of the line’ position for the freelance writing grind that I saw myself as a part of. Eventually I realized the need for me to push forth and do it myself. Still, for some reason, seeing G4TV alumni has this odd nostalgic feeling. I essentially chalk it up to my hunger for geek culture to be and stay in mainstream view for some odd reason.
Now that we’ve all moved on (it’s really only been about 2 or so years since the fall of G4TV) and essentially turned a blind eye to Esquire TV or whatever it was rebranded to become, my Spidey Sense continues to tingle as I look for that definitive geek central. A part of me wants to lean towards Nerdist with amazing podcasts like The Indoor Kids with Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, Sex Nerd Sandra, and many more, but once again, even Hardwick’s labor of geeky love seems to be missing something as well. I supplement that with other podcasts like Married To The Games, CAGCast, BlackGirlNerds Podcast, PodCrash with Chris Gore, and Girl On Guy Podcast with Aisha Tyler.
I suppose, because of my age, that I’m missing out on the wealth of YouTuber content because, I suppose, I’m just really looking for that outlet that is a video talk show styled hodge-podge of geeky news and debates aimed towards an adult audience. With the dominating popularity of geek culture nowadays (cue the theme music to Talking Dead or Comic Book Men) there HAS to be some television guru that sees the benefit of an all geek related channel. There’s certainly a wealth of talent on the interwebs of personalities that could hold up the belt. While we are past the days where a show like X-Play would work, the concept could be repurposed into more of a reporting kind of show. Regularly delving into the lives and process of game making in current days as well as how it was done in the past is an untapped well. I think it would be interesting to see. Someone could make it interesting I think.
There are plenty of ways to do this channel. Geek culture is far beyond just SyFy channel and a few shows that AMC decide to place on the air. Here’s my ideas for GeekTV:
- Cosplay – You could certainly have and maintain a cosplay reality show if not a cosplay related talk show complete with tips and interviews.
- Comic Books – while Comic Book Men is funny, there are a ton of ways to cover and explore the comic book industry. Now that movies have entered the comics atmosphere, I don’t see why a number of shows couldn’t be drummed up. Do reruns of classic superhero cartoons. Run movie blocks of comic book animated movies (some of which are in the PG-13 realm).
- Anime – This aspect of geek-dom is and has always been sorely lacking. There should be some show that covers the new news in anime releases and explores the history of great series and movies. Get some intelligent hosts that LOVE anime and unleash the hounds!
- Gaming – Look. ESports are growing at an exponential rate. A deal could be made with MLG.tv as well as other eSports tourneys to cover the finals of events like EVO and Shoryuken. Of course having a show like X-Play with reviews is unnecessary in these days, but personalities that could do insider developer interviews and editorials on classic gaming franchises and such would work. Think ESPN’s 30 for 30 series only based on the gaming industry rather than sports. BOOM!
- Mod World – PC gaming is infamous for its killer mod community. There should be a show dedicated to finding great mods (both new and old) and bring attention to how to do it and more.
- Tabletop gaming – Wil Wheaton’s show Tabletop on the internet is a great idea. Get some interested celebs to play new tabletop games to help viewers learn how to play the games and see some games that they may want to buy and play themselves.
- Debate style talk show – Whether I agree with Bill Maher or not, I love the format of his show. Get a panel of intelligent guests and discuss recent news or controversial topics. With things like Gamergate, diversity in the gaming industry, diversity of game protagonists, and more as regular topics. I imagine there’s a way to have a solid agenda for each weekly show. Let’s face it, the Star Wars vs Star Trek debate is a great go-to topic!
- MUSIC – let’s face it. Musicians are just as geeky as any others I know. With the rise of things like chiptunes, nerdcore, and more, there should be a geek related music show to introduce these artists to the geek collective. You could interview gaming soundtrack composers as well as fan created parodies of pop songs turned geeky! Move over Talk Soup!
- ToonSaturdays – Saturday morning cartoons from the 80s and 90s would run ALL DAY on Saturdays. *mic drop*
Anyone out there? I’m sure there is, but I suppose the one thing that is missing…
Is me 🙂 *cue Superman stance and incessant delusions of grandeur*