Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crazy Cancellations: jPod

Maybe Canadian producers should’ve tried to sell their shows to American stations, like The IT Crowd on BBCA and Merlin on NBC. If they had done so with jPod, perhaps this dark, dry comedy would’ve survived. The show’s alumni now appear often in Canadian-friendly shows, often sci-fi, such as Battlestar Galactica and Psych. The show, based on Douglas Copeland's creative novel jPod, is about a group of video game designers, tucked away in the basement of an office building, in which they are not in contact with the rest of the company. For some reason the most crucial workers are unknown to everyone. It’s kind of like the IT Crowd but even dryer and incredibly dark and twisted. It definitely revolves around sex, secrets, and misunderstandings…and probably stupidity. And there's lots of marijuana-related jokes and scenes.

The characters were mysterious with shady pasts and complicated childhoods, but you begin to understand them episode by episode, especially after seeing their parents. Characters were diverse and incredibly interesting as backgrounds and secrets were revealed. Cowboy (Benjamin Ayres): the ladies’ man who often goes shirtless. John Doe (Torrance Coombs): the virgin man seemingly as general as his name, but is far from it. The normal…ish Ethan (David Kopp) with crazy-ass parents (played by Sherry Miller and Alan Thicke). Kaitlin (Emilie Ullerup): the young woman who used to work for Mac and is from the U.S., but keep it on the DL because her co-workers don’t know. Brie (Steph Song): the germophobic badass lady who loves gore…and sex. Then there’s their incompetent boss who knows nothing about video games, but wants to make the perfect video game for his son…minus the violence the team was originally making…and minus the humans…because his son likes turtles…and minus the gore. So the video game slowly morphs into something that it never was. Essentially jPod had to make a new game from scratch.

Here's the deal: the series is on DVD, but it's rare. And it's faulty. One of the episodes when played goes back to the menu. Not cool. But they're not bothering releasing it with corrections due to lack of interest. But how often have things been released to video/DVD and they have had major success in that form when not in theaters or TV. I only begin to hear about amazing things when they're off air.

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