Monday, June 23, 2008

TV premiering tonight: Atom TV

Apparently the veteran video website Atom Films is getting a makeover as, a web portal for original comedy programming tied in to Comedy Central (both are now owned by Viacom), but as of this writing the site looks the same to me (here's an article on the switchover from back in November). Regardless, this new partnership has resulted in Atom TV, a Comedy Central show supposedly designed to highlight the best content from Atom and, presumably, get people to check out the site. It is thus odd that this show is being buried at two in the morning in the middle of the week, although the network is at least promoting it by sending out preview screeners to the press.

Not that I would recommend watching the show anyway - most of the content in the first two episodes ranges from horrendously unfunny to merely pointless, and the efforts to Internet-ify the visual presentation come off as particularly clueless and desperate. A status bar at the bottom of the screen that notifies you how much of each segment is left mirrors what you'd see in an online video, but mostly I found myself constantly glancing at it to see how much longer I'd have to endure a given video. The comments from users that pop up reminded me of something you might find on TRL, although at least the producers are brave enough to include the occasional "This is the worst video ever" comment among the dominant "This is awesome" ones.

The most interesting thing to me, actually, was the occasional bit of onscreen info that touted the pedigree of the makers of these videos. The site is spending a decent amount of money to get experienced TV and film creators to make new videos, but it's definitely not worth it. Almost every bit takes one joke and beats it into the ground, or just throws out random absurdity for three minutes or so. Such wastes of time are somehow more tolerable online, when you're only half paying attention to them anyway, but on your TV, even in the middle of the night, standards are slightly higher, and this doesn't even pass the Half-Baked-airing-for-the-millionth-time muster of typical late-night Comedy Central programming. Comedy Central, Monday nights (Tuesday mornings), 2 a.m.

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