Debuting early this week, RadNerd is the latest streaming series from theStream.tv. The series, which is clearly cast from the same mold as G4’s Attack of the Show is hosted by the energetic and highly animated, Beau Ryan and his more subdued sidekick, Leo Camacho, who looks like he was culled from a Kevin Rose casting session.
Sara Fletcher appeared as the series’ first guest and, honestly, she was the only reason I tuned into the show. Unfortunately, they spent very little time actually talking to her, and based on the way they filmed the show, she could have been coming live from the Moon, rather than being in studio and 3 feet from the show’s hosts. There are two contradictory theories about a guest’s role on a show. Put simply, either the guest is there to make the host look good, or the host is there to make the guest look good. The dichotomy is often illustrated by contrasting the styles of Jay Leno and David Letterman. On Letterman, the guests are there to play along with Dave’s antics, whereas on Leno, Leno serves as a foil for the guest, letting them have the spotlight. RadNerd seems to have adopted the Letterman model. In the long run, this may be the best tactic for them, if they can’t rely on getting compelling high-profile guests, then the show’s hosts will have to be the main attraction; however, for those tuning in primarily to see that week’s guest, those viewers will be disappointed. Better integration of the weekly guests, plus a longer segment devoted exclusively to them would better balance the show and mitigate any disappointment. Also, greater emphasis on the guests and the project they are there to plug, might encourage future guests to appear on the show.
Secondly, as mentioned previously, the way they shoot the show, isolates the talent. The show is shot vlog style, a single, tight midshot, with each person having his own camera. The problem is that this separates the on-air personalities and all but eliminates any interaction between them. In contrast, the pre-show was a two shot, which allowed its hosts to interact with one another. Furthermore, such a tight shot places Beau Ryan and his frenetic gestures and exaggerated facial expressions right in the viewer’s face. Unlike television, where the typical audience is sitting 5 to 6 feet away, an Internet series has its viewers less than a foot away. Using a two shot of Ryan and Camacho would allow the two of them to better interact with each other. Also, it would require pulling the camera back, blunting Ryan’s frenzied mannerisms, and balancing his approach with Camacho’s more laid back style. Single shots could still be incorporated into the show, for emphasis or variety, giving the director more variety in visual presentation.
If there was one element of the show that worked well, it was the segment on comic book news hosted by Damian Beurer, especially when contrasted with the show’s other segment, Tuesdays is a B*ch. Beurer’s segment was both informative and entertaining whereas the other segment, about new DVD and video game releases, seemed to exist solely as another excuse for Ryan to mug to the camera.
There are of course other things I disliked about the series; however, they are largely subjective. For instance, I am not a big video gamer so the extended trivia segments for me held little interest. Also, if not already apparent, I found Ryan’s adopted persona, rather grating. However, as I said, this is just my opinion. Ryan is undoubtedly a wonderful person who loves kittens and rainbows; I simply am not a fan of over-the-top buffoonish characters, especially at 1 in the morning. The show is archived on theStream.tv, I encourage everyone to check it out and form his own opinion.
Author’s note: Interested in a different opinion? Check out the article authored by the lovely and talented Jenni Powell over at that other site. For those unaware, Ms. Powell is a Internet pro, who knows more about this stuff than I do.