By Chris Cummins in Daily Lists
Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 8:00 am
So far, the entries on this list have been elaborate affairs that feature actors, location shooting and lots and lots of money. In the interest of fairness, let's kick off the top five with an entry that is low on production value..but still high on laughs.Truncated ruthlessly slaughters sacred cows of the videogame industry in roughly minute-long takedowns that can teach Mr. Plinkett a thing or two about brevity. The ongoing series -- created by blogger Paw Dugan -- has already taken on classics like Kid Icarus, Castlevania and Mega Man. Even if he's far too harsh on your retro favorites, you'll probably be laughing too hard to care.
4) Tron: Reboot
Tron and Tron: Legacy make the world inside Encom's computer grid look like a pretty fun (yet admittedly dangerous) place to be. One thing that has yet to be addressed by the films is what the day-to-day life of a program who lives inside this electronic wonderland is like. If Tron: Reboot is anything to go by, it's pretty monotonous. The brainchild of Ben Hansford, Michael Faradie and Daniel Thron, the series features chubby program Dongle dealing with frustrations both off and on the game grid. Each of these brief shorts perfectly captures the look and feel of Steven Lisberger's visionary sci-fi film...with a bit of the tedium of daily life thrown in for good measure. The series also acknowledges that the original Tron was somewhat goofy as well. So is Tron: Reboot a reverent valentine or a complete spoof? I'll leave that for you to decide. End of line.
3) The Dark Knight Chronicles
After watching the three episodes of The Dark Knight Chronicles that have been produced so far, I desperately want there to be a regular Batman comic written by Ben Edlund. You see, Luke Neumann and Hannah Brink's parody of the Nolanverse casts the Dark Knight as a ADHD-suffering doofus who is more than just a little reminiscent of the Tick. In these adventures, he and a long-suffering Commissioner Gordon team up to stop a foe called the Nutria King who wouldn't be out of place in the 1960s TV series. Like most parodies of Christian Bale's Batman, this series gets plenty of comedic mileage out of the Caped Crusader's guttural howl of a voice. That bit of nonsense paired with Neumann's ever manic performance as Batman and some truly inspired facial expressions make The Dark Knight Chronicles the comedy series we need, but, well, you know.
2) Transylvania Television
Transylvania Television is the greatest show ever to come out of Minneapolis that isn't Mystery Science Theater 3000. The spooky and/or kooky web series follows a group of monstrous puppets who run a low-budget TV station. Like Avenue Q, Team America, and Crank Yankers before it, the show is quite definitely adult-themed. (Sample episode title: "Dark Night of the Ejaculatron"). Full disclosure: As much as I enjoy the series due to its cute puppets, great voice talent and witty scripts, I must admit that its inclusion of a ginger Bigfoot that is my doppelganger may have clouded my judgement somewhat. In other words, your mileage may vary.
1) Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II
It looks like space wasn't the final frontier after all. Long before J.J. Abrams ever met Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, longtime Star Trek fans Jack Marshall and James Cawley had the ballsy idea to recast Kirk and Spock and continue the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Their commitment to this controversial idea resulted in Star Trek: New Voyages, the most famous (infamous?) of all web series. Since debuting in 2003, the low-budget and often cheesetastic series has featured the participation of Trek veterans -- including George Takei, Walter Koenig and Denise Crosby. True, the series will never be considered canon and is largely ignored by Paramount, but it is nevertheless a fun continuation of Gene Roddenberry's eternal five-year mission. (A few years ago, this was rechristened Star Trek: Phase II after the proposed follow-up series that was rejected in favor of Star Trek: The Motion Picture). Arguably the series' most notable moment to date came with the filming of David Gerrold's "Blood and Fire," a script that was deemed too controversial for Star Trek: The Next Generation because it was an allegory for the AIDS crisis. Bringing long dead Trek scripts back to life? I'd like to see your fan fiction try to pull off such a feat. Even with sometimes dubious acting production values, this one still takes the top spot thanks to longevity and keeping Roddenberry's hopeful dream for a better tomorrow alive. Plus, that Takei episode is just damn good fun.