I have a not so secret confession to make: I am a huge nerdy geek. No, it is true, dear readers. I obsess over pop culture and find comfort in reading up on the latest tech information (two yearlong Wired subscription and still going strong). I’ve tried my hand at soldering circuitry and building PC’s from parts found on the vast expanse of the internet to the detriment of my bank account. I read the Hobbit in middle school and attended the midnight releases of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies. There also may or not may be a 1 foot scale model of R2-D2 staring at me while I write this.
So when I learned that Wil Wheaton, a nerd icon, was going to host a show on the SyFy (it pains me to have to write it like that honestly), I was a bit excited. Of course, I was also anxious that this experiment would be a colossal failure. After all, the SyFy network has seemingly shifted its core programming of science fiction and fantasy to a broader appeal in order to gain new audiences and markets. Understandable for a business, but c’mon how are wrestling and sci-fi similar?
With this in mind, my trepidation concerning the Wil Wheaton Project was not without merit. However, I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the show. It was entertaining without dumbing anything down, engaging without being pandering, and just plain fun. For the first time, there was a truly nerd oriented show with an unquestionable geeky host (The Talking Dead and Web Soup are great shows with a great host, but not necessarily nerd topic only. Still love Chris Hardwick). Better yet, it was actually good and that is all that should matter.
Unfortunately, like most good things in this world, the show came to a tragic end. By tragic end, I mean that it was cancelled after only one season, which is a travesty. I want to blame someone or something for the show’s demise, but most likely it was a myriad of several factors. Even so, you should have watched the Wil Wheaton Project and here is why:
Celebrity Guests Playing Silly Games Unironically
Guests on talk or reality shows usually seem a bit fake or, more accurately, very planned. They are usually promoting something and have a rehearsed and agreed upon persona. That is the system we all agreed on; however, the guests, and host, that appeared on Wil Wheaton Project appeared to genuinely enjoy the odd games and conversation that occurred. There was an entire premise where two people tried to guess the idiotic deaths of characters in sci-fi films and both were legitimately trying to win. It was an uncommon and welcome sight for talk show style television.
It Put the Silly and Fun Back Into Sci-Fi
We nerds can be a bit precious when it comes to our television shows, movies, comics, video games, board games, books, pretty much our everything. Because of this we tend to not criticize, analyze, or really have any ‘fun’ around our nerdy pursuits. Wil Wheaton on the other hand said screw that noise. He reveled in the insanity and inanity of science fiction, fantasy, and all pop culture. Hell, he had a game where people mocked the movies that appeared on the network that gave him a show (see previous video). He also encouraged his audience to place him in whatever ridiculous scenarios and images they could conjure and upload them to be seen by the masses atphotoshopwilwheaton.tumblr.com.
Wil Wheaton is Truly One of Us
Recently, among the nerd and geek community, there have been idiotic accusations of “fakes” coming in and somehow ruining nerd culture. The very idea is a load of bullshit and having to even acknowledge its existence pains me greatly. There are elements of nerd-dom that are detrimental to the culture, but Wil Wheaton embodies the opposite of these traits and is a great ambassador of geekery to mainstream culture at large. Perhaps, he said it best:
I mean, how can you not love that guy?
Sadly we must say adieu to Wil Wheaton Project for now. Your time and shine were brief like an exploding star (relatively). May you live on in some capacity on the Internet and rise once more like a soaring phoenix. We hardly knew ye friend and that is our loss. Thus, we pour one out for you in memoriam.