I was going to do an Art Of Storytelling tonight but then this entered the world courtesy of the death plague quarantine convention at home version of San Diego Comic-Con.
G4TV started out as a TV network for gamers and gaming culture. While some shows about or adapting games existed gamers didn’t have their own TV network. However, G4 had a little trouble getting out of the gate, so they purchased Tech TV for their shows and assets, especially getting their shows on more cable and satellite providers. That was the first of many mistakes and the occasional good idea that couldn’t save them from eventually disappearing.
For a brief look at the history of the channel and how it killed two networks I have a video here from Good Bad Flicks. Tech TV fans may not like G4 returning but G4’s fans are excited. I have to ask though, even if it returned to the pre-Spike TV knockoff days…do we even need G4 in 2021?
I saw reruns of both versions of Arena and it seemed like a good show. Attack Of The Show went downhill before Kevin Pereira left and it was like deserting a sinking ship. X-Play was good but I don’t know how many of the changes Adam Sessler fought for and against before he was fired. I’m not sure what he does nowadays because I’m afraid to read a lot of Twitter anymore. Social media is a hostile place. Movies For Guys Who Like Movies was an odd addition as were the reruns. The last good shows I saw after the final push away from gaming and geek culture, what basically made the channel, were Ninja Warrior, the dubbing of the Japanese competition Sasuke that is now a franchise as American Ninja Warrior, and Unbeatable Banzuke, the dubbing of Sasuke‘s parent show Muscle Ranking. I didn’t see many of the other early shows until years later since a number of them were either gone by the time we got G4 (we didn’t have Tech TV ever) or aired while I was in school. I did catch a few episodes of Portal and I could see me getting into that.
However, I’m not sure we need G4 nowadays. Had the network continued on its original course it might still work today. Nowadays many of those kinds of shows are easily available elsewhere, some of them even made by former Tech TV and G4TV staff. Disney XD has a block of gaming shows, eSports air on actual sports networks, TBD airs some of these kinds of shows but they all come from the internet. Thanks to YouTube and formerly Blip, shows about gaming are easily available when they weren’t in old days, while watching gaming both live and pre-recorded is all over YouTube and Twitch, plus smaller streamers and would-be challengers to both services exist. Facebook has even been trying to get into the game. You can also find trailers, game footage, reviews, documentaries (for example the one above), plus shows G4 would have never thought of like going over game story theories, using gaming to explain science and history or vice versa, nostalgic looks at games or computers, or cultural examinations of choices made in game design and stories. If G4 had been around for that stuff and actually worked with a decent model they may managed to survive, but as today’s youth and geek culture are moving online for most of their entertainment, and I can only assume G4TV will go that route instead of trying to be a TV channel again, do we need G4TV or even Tech TV when what they do is now being covered by numerous other sources.
Then again I was one of the people wrong about Toonami since anime is all over the place and the programming block hadn’t aired anything besides anime, like the US action cartoons they started off with, in years. Nostalgia is a heck of a thing. Maybe I’m wrong but outside of nostalgia does G4TV really have anything to offer? We’d love to see Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb back with a more traditional X-Play but do we need it? Time will tell I guess.