Teletoon Pilot Project Time | Nerdland

This review of Nerdland (Teletoon: Cuppa Coffee Studios, 2008) is rather late in coming.  I wasn’t sure how to review the show, since Nerdland‘s credited writer is Teletoon’s current director of original content, Alan Gregg.

If Gregg is a front for the animators, Nerdland could at least pay a writer to take credit for the script (see: Angora Napkin.)  To be fair, Gregg was at Brown Bag Films when Nerdland was in production, but it still gives Nerdland the inside track for a greenlight.

With Nerdland‘s online popularity and Cuppa Coffee’s track record, a series greenlight might very well happen.  That’s a shame, as the pilot sucks.

In the pilot, Jarhead (Cory Doran) agrees to a bet with Nick Fassbinder (Darren Frost) over who can pwn the other at Black Aura IV.  The problem is, Jarhead doesn’t have a copy of the game.  He has to resort to a trade with “Smokeface” (Scott McCord) for a copy, as Black Aura IV hasn’t been released in Canada.  Jarhead could just go to a bittorrent or warez site for his copy, but that wouldn’t leave room for a burglary and Beast’s (Zachary Bennett) ample supply of weight-based pratfalls.

Spoiler alert: “Smokeface” is Todd, the token jock/sports card collector.  He is dating Patty (Athena Karkanis), who looks to be a cosplayer seeking a normal life.  This wouldn’t bother me, except that Todd’s character is very ill-defined.  He knows the value of anime-based cereal marshmallows, as otaku Kevin (Jonathan Malen) gives one of them up for Black Aura IV.  “Smokeface” also references The Road Warrior.  Either Todd is complex, or his character changes depending on the pilot’s needs.

Come to think of it, why does Kevin know who Arthur Lipsett is?  Even given the nature of animation historians, that seems like a reference plopped in for Canadian content’s sake.  That would be like me referencing Kazuhiro Fujita in the middle of an article about Cuppa Coffee Studios, unless Ugly Americans has an Ushio to Tora reference I don’t know about.

Nerdland is a professionally-made pilot by one of Canada’s most successful animation houses, but the writing defeats its intentions.  Nerdland isn’t different from any other pop-culture-referencing cartoon.  The fact that Alan Gregg has a credit for this show makes me hate Nerdland more than I normally would.

At the very least, Gregg should have dropped his writing credit when Nerdland aired on Teletoon proper.  He’s entitled to the credit, given that this work predates his role at Teletoon.  I just hope Gregg’s not a sleeper agent meant to cement a Nerdland series order.  I don’t need to be even more cynical about Canadian television than I already am.

C. Archer
Le Social