Let me start by saying I am a Joel Hodgson fan and am a great admire of his work, particularly MST3K. That show was a brilliant example of brilliance, and although it was certainly a team effort, so much of the heart would not have been there, and was lost when he left, had it not been for Joel's presence. That being said, I come to the "TV Wheel." The idea of a revolving stage and sedentary camera may not sound like much, may not even make sense, but watching it happen is something to behold. The sorts of optical illusions they created were amazing at times, and the pure movement of the "wheel" was smooth and easy to watch. The performers would act out the sketches through window like openings, and it made for some creative perspectives. Joel and Jim Hodgson proved incredible genius by making it something quiet interesting and fun in itself, and the different effects they were able to come up with were incredible! Also, the segments where Joel talks a little about the show was a very nice way to get to know the concept. He did some silly things with puppets (Boy, did he have experience with that!) and, as always, he is cute and interesting. So I give "the boys" 5 stars. Now to the comedy: This was probably one of the weakest shows I have ever seen in terms of writing and performing. I probably laughed all of three times and not truly laughter, but giggles. I agree with one reviewer, the actors and actresses were too in your face, too desperate to be seen and told they were funny. When I was done, I felt like I had just had an episode of mania, kind of mirroring the energy that took place in front of me. (The audience must have been either family members, friends, paid, or all of the above. They laughed at times at the oddest spots and too hard to be genuine.) I found the writing flat at best, going back and forth between blah and bleh! The few things that were interesting were less comedy and more comments, a very Joel thing to do. But as far as anything worth a laugh, there was little to be seen. It was nice to see people like Nick Bakay, Paul Feig, and a few others, but even they could not save it. It was just not good.
I adore Joel Hodgson, and it was a wonderful and painful ride watching the "TV Wheel," even still, you have to see the creative mind of his and the beautiful ideas he can have. He is a man with guts and honesty, and nothing can change that. I felt a little sad knowing the show didn't make it. It was one of a few things that failed in those year for him, so my heart pains a little to think of what he may have gone through after that. He changed in a way that just depresses me. All and all, this project may have improved had it the chance, but we will never know.
Note: there was a documentary made of the project and of the process of creating the stage. That was MUCH more enjoyable then the show itself in a way, and I encourage people to see it. It's a nice little peak into how a show as odd as this got put together, and some of the people behind it.
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