Channel Awesome is a low budget internet “network” with original shows like The Nostalgic Critic, Some Jerk With A Camera, The Angry Joe Show, The Cinema Snob. As the names indicate, these are not exactly high- budget Hollywood productions, or even independent “artistic” films. For the most part, the shows on Channel Awesome are people talking into a video camera about things they like and don’t like. Despite that, here are the reasons we think Channel Awesome is great.
- Channel Awesome directly challenges YouTube. For a long time, people who wanted to post videos online and try to make some money found that YouTube was the only game in town. Play by their rules or YouTube pulls your video. YouTube is famous for taking down videos for “copyright infringement” of a movie, even though it is perfectly legal for a reviewer to show a short clip of a film. Rumors are that major movie studios secretly pay YouTube to delete videos that give bad reviews to a film.
- The shows are so silly they are fun. For example, Brad Jones has a series where he reviews foods. However, Brad is not The Master Chef. Brad is not filming the latest creation in an upscale Soho restaurant. Instead, Brad reviews foods like The Halloween Burger at Burger King, or the world’s spiciest potato chip. A lot of his reviews are filmed in his car in the parking lot of whatever fast food place he is reviewing. The honesty of his food reviews is refreshing. Let’s face it, most Americans eat a lot of their meals at fast food places, and often consume the food in the car. It’s about time we had a show reviewing the junk most of us regularly eat.
- New Talent gets presented. Talented, but unknown, actors get to appear in skits or movie spoofs and have their skills seen by thousands of viewers. For example, Malcolm Ray has a recurring comedy role as the Devil on The Nostalgic Critic. He is joined by Tamara Chambers who has spoofed a number of characters including Wonder Woman.
- Channel Awesome gives us all hope of becoming video stars. The shows are so low budget and sometimes so stupid that you just have to say, “Hell I could have done that!” In fact, after some episodes you will be tempted to run down to Best Buy and get your own video camera to start a show. Instead of sitting at a desk reviewing invoices, wouldn’t you like to make money filming yourself eating cheese fries and reviewing them online?
- Channel Awesome is an American Success Story. It is great to see a new idea succeed. The three founders, Mike Michaud, Mike Ellis and Bhargav Dronamraju, started the company in 2008 when they all lost their jobs at Circuit City. The demise of Circuit City turned out to be the push they needed to try doing something new. Creating success out of a failure is, after all, the classic Horatio Alger story. It is made even better by the fact that the internet vehicle they created now allows many other people to try to succeed at their own dreams.
- The viewers are a part of the shows. Channel Awesome is still in its infancy and we predict that in 10 years it may have morphed into a major power on the internet. But we love watching it now, when it is still low-budget and ridiculous. The fact that sometimes the people don’t actually know what they are doing adds to the enjoyment. It makes the people on the shows seem more like our friends than “celebrities” we are watching. This must be how audiences felt in the early days of Television. Viewers can comment and get a personal response from the actor or show creator. Shows are changed due to viewer’s responses. Its like watching a minor league baseball team. They may not be the best athletes in the world but they are your team.
Editors note: This post was written in January 2017, before the recent allegations of sexual harassment and unfair business practices at Channel Awesome came to light. While we have no direct knowledge of any of the charges, they are very troubling. It is quite possible that Channel Awesome itself might soon go the way of Weinstein Entertainment.