Having discovered that reality shows for nerds are the most cost-efficient TV programming possible, AMC has announced a new series premiering this summer titled Geeking Out, hosted by professional nerd Kevin Smith and actor Greg Grunberg.
As a self-proclaimed nerd, I feel like AMC wants me to be excited by this announcement, and yet somehow I’m very much not. For starters, the press release hurts my soul in ways that I completely expected:
The series, Geeking Out, will be hosted by Smith (Comic Book Men) and Greg Grunberg (Heroes), and will take a timely look at pop culture through a “fanboy” lens, said network officials. ...
“Kevin and Greg are both true fans of this content, and share a deep passion for talking about it, and engaging other fans about it. But it is their natural chemistry as hosts that really brings this idea together,” said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV. “As part of our growing non-fiction slate, we wanted to create a broadly entertaining venue for hardcore fans and general viewers where we can break down all things fanboy on a weekly basis; and we wanted to bring those fans great interviews and exclusive looks into the world of fanboy culture. We look forward to sharing this highly entertaining duo with our viewers.”
I sure do love it when true fans of this content talk about it. And what a bold move by AMC to get hosts who share a deep passion for talking about this content, as opposed to people who don’t give a shit.
Look, here’s the bottom line: I think Kevin Smith is a good guy. I think he’s a true nerd; he’s genuinely passionate about this stuff; he’s certainly likable; and if you’ve heard his speaking engagements or podcasts you know he can be a great storyteller. I’m impressed with his accomplishments. I bet he’s a great person to know.
I do not, however, trust his taste in geekery to the tiniest degree. I have read his comics (including the one where Batman pissed his pants) and watched his movies (my pal Germain correctly assesses Dogma as problematic, but I share none of his enthusiasm or forgiveness for the film). If Kevin Smith told me about some hit new show or comic, I would completely ignore it until someone whose opinion I respected presented the same information.
As for Greg Grunberg… I have no idea. Is he a nerd? Could be. Did he ask/beg/threaten/blackmail his pal J.J. Abrams into small parts in the 2009 Star Trek movie and The Force Awakens because he’s a die-hard geek who’s memorized the top speeds of all Federation and Imperial starships? Or did he just want to work on two crazy major movie franchises and then got lucky enough that the director of both considers him a good luck charm? No clue. (Also, Grunberg is a fine actor, but that has absolutely no bearing on whether he’ll be able to talk about the new superhero movie du jour without seeming like he’s reading the studio’s list of approved talking points.)
Granted, the show could be amazing. Smith and Grunberg could have marvelous chemistry. The show could be fun, funny, and thoughtful. Maybe Geeking Out will even take an in-depth look at nerd culture beyond the newest products, examining the culture’s strengths and weaknesses, its wackiness and its problems. If that turns out to be the case, I will happily admit I’m wrong, and join what will undoubtedly be its legions of loyal viewers.
Of course, if it is good, someone besides Kevin Smith is going to need to let me know.