May 31, 2005

Attack of the Show

I’m going to lapse into some heavy nerdery for the next few minutes (yes, possibly more than usual). A few years ago I discovered there was a channel dedicated to video games called G4 TV. At first I figured this would be pretty great, 24 hours of video games to flip to when nothing else was on… or sometimes when stuff was on. My shortsightedness was quickly revealed by thin and repetitious programming, and despite the amazingly fun train-wreck Starcade reruns, the channel got old pretty fast and I stopped tuning in.

Flash forward a couple years, after a brief interlude as G4techTV, and G4 is still on the air. I don’t really watch G4 anymore, but their live E3 coverage was pretty good. Their programming has actually improved quite a bit; they have more shows with personality, including on-air personalities rather than constant videos of video games, and have managed not to take themselves too seriously. It looks like they actually have some of the creative freedom that one would expect from a channel like MTV waaaay back before they were whores. One such show has really struck my fancy as of late: Attack of the Show. Earlier this year, AOTS rose from the ashes of The Screen Savers, a similar show that died off in the TechTV merger.

AOTS is a sort of daily industry variety hour, balancing airtime between topics like video games (duh), the internet, technology, and random pop culture. I know what you are saying, “big deal”, but what I find most interesting about this show is the amount of overlap it has into (what I consider to be) a community that am a part of online. On any given day you will probably find a quick piece on BackPack, or Ze Frank on for an interview, hell, they even had a news story about Matt’s recumbent bike! It seems really silly that this stuff makes any kind of news program, but at the same time I find it really interesting. Their community skims the outer thresholds of the standards and design communities, and we even overlap in some places (they push FireFox on the show almost daily). For some reason it gives me great pleasure to see this stuff on TV… I mean, my grandparents understand TV! This could be what I’ve been waiting for to help them understand what it is a I do all day.

Attack of the Show can be seen on daily G4 TV at 7pm ET (and is often rerun throughout the day a couple more times).

Commentary (33):

1. Yannick L. says… may 31, 2005 | 10:57 am

I like the show but its definitely not as good as “The Screensavers” was.

Still it is good to watch something else on G4 Tv other than games. There is only so much I can take. hehe.

2. Jason Beaird says… may 31, 2005 | 11:08 am

That sounds like a TV show I might actually want to watch. I’m ashamed to admit that my favorite shows as of late are In a Fix, House Hunters, Clean Sweep, Designers Challenge, etc. The TV and my brain could use a break from the home improvement.

3. Tony says… may 31, 2005 | 11:27 am

If you liked The Screen Savers, and miss TechTV, you should check out the new site/podcast This Week In Tech, by a group of TSS/TechTV alums (including some people still involved in G4).

4. Casey says… may 31, 2005 | 3:34 pm

Hey there Jason… long time reader, first time commenter… boy that’s weird. Anyways…

TechTV was the greatest channel I ever watched, all the way back to when it was ZDTV! The Screen Savers was the greatest show on that network, along with some other good ones such as Call For Help. Then Comcast bought them to merge with their failing G4 network. Prosperity was proclaimed, but to many the death of TechTV was imminent.

See kids, G4 couldn’t get their network into a lot of homes and they didn’t have a lot of subscribers. Then Paul Allen, you know, the dude from Microsoft, who owned Vulcan Ventures decided he didn’t want to own a TV network anymore, and put TechTV up for sale. TechTV had their presence in a lot more homes than G4 could ever imagine! So Comcast decided this was the easiest way to force feed their craptastic lineup into the minds of millions.

At first, I was excited. TechTV was an extra $9.95 per month with my cable company, which is ironically Comcast. So when I heard they were going to merge, I was like… great! Kill off G4’s crappy programming, kill off TechTV’s crappy programming, give us the best of both! WRONG!

They slaughtered TechTV and only kept a handful of shows, and most of those were obviously video game related. Killing off Call For Help was a big thing for a lot of people. It found it’s way back onto the network in G4TechTV Canada (which isn’t completely owned by Comcast, which is why it’s still called G4TechTV) and we’re hoping it makes its way back down here to the states. The Screen Savers was the last big holding point for anything technology-related (past video gaming) on the network. Unscrewed got canned, and TSS was “dead”. Months later, G4TechTV announced they’d become G4 again! TSS is now AOTS, and it’s soul is no longer there. Tech? What? Never!

Occasionally it’s good, but for the most part I’d rather shoot my brains out. Kevin Pererra alone makes me want to kill myself.

Give me back Kevin Rose (he just left, most likely due to the fact that G4 sucks), Dan Huard, Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Yoshi, and the rest of the gang, and then I’ll reconsider.

For now, I watch Systm and listen to This Week In Tech just to keep my sanity. And a little X-Play because it hasn’t changed a bit. Plus Morgan Webb is… you know. ;-)

Sorry about the long post man, but seeing you praise this show kinda got the foul emotions all riled up again. I could go on, but I’ll spare the other readers, and you.

5. Jason Santa Maria says… may 31, 2005 | 3:42 pm

Casey: Thanks for the info! I wasn’t praising it so much as making an observation about stuff from this community getting airtime. AOTS (and even TSS) suffers from some rough spots here and there, but it’s fun background noise while I eat my cereal in the morning :D

6. Jeff Louella says… may 31, 2005 | 8:58 pm

Ah, Leo Laporte. He is now “The Tech Guy” on a California radio station KFI. I remember the Screen Savers on ZDTV even before it became TechTv. It was Leo and some red head woman. Ah, those were the days. Check out his blog!

7. Todd says… may 31, 2005 | 10:51 pm

My girlfriend’s sister worked as a producer on TSS and later on Unscrewed. I never got in to the studio, but I have a signed picture of Leo on my wall at work (and I hear him as the “tech guru” on KGO in the Bay Area). I’m glad that there is something filling in that niche.

Like us or not, this online community (both the bloggers and the standard-ites) needs to be represented in all media. We are a target audience to someone! To shut out the online crowd, well, cable would have to be insane. I look at many advertisments and see shades of Web design in the borders, the way colors are combined, those pointless moving backgrounds of boxes and lines so prevalent in early Flash sites. A bridge between online and other visual media (what do we call it? Television media?) has already begun.

If AOTS keeps good ratings, could this suggest a merge of online and cable content? Is the time far off when people like our very own Stan will be asked to sit in on national TV shows and discuss Web coding standards? Or does the fact that ZDTV, G4-the-first-incarnation, and Tech TV—doubtless in addition to other stations across the nation/globe—have gone under imply something worse: that there will be no direct crossover in online and TV content?

8. Jason Santa Maria says… may 31, 2005 | 11:10 pm
Is the time far off when people like our very own Stan will be asked to sit in on national TV shows and discuss Web coding standards?

We should probably hope that doesn’t happen. I could single-handedly set the course of web standards back a few years.

9. Khalil says… jun 1, 2005 | 12:25 am

Thank God Kevin got out of it. I hate that merger, that merger killed the actual learning aspect of techtv. Not everything is geared around and towards games. We need another techtv people. I miss Leo and Patrick, Yoshi and Cat, damn G4 sucks.

*Sorry for my rant but I have been feeling it for sometime now. Have more to say but not gonna clog yuh blog with it*

10. Morgan Knutson says… jun 1, 2005 | 1:41 am

I used to love the original ZDTV Screen Savers. I think that particular show peaked when it was Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht. Alex was funny, and Kevin knew his shit.

I’ve seen AOTS, but it really doesn’t compare to the Screen Savers. Kevin Pererra is a serious boner. But you’re totally right Stan, it is entertaining. I think anything tech related is a better watch than say…any one of Rupert Murdoch’s BS spewing trainwrecks.

11. Trenton Boyd says… jun 1, 2005 | 5:02 am

I was a big fan of The Screensavers back in the day when Leo was still on, but I haven’t really seen a lot of it since G4 did their “overhaul” of TechTV. I kind of stopped watching G4 altogether because it was a little bit too trying-to-be-but-not-quite hip for me. Every now and then I’ll catch an episode of X-Play and I’ll watch that because Morgan Webb is teh hott.

I’ll have to set my alarm to catch AoTS though.

12. Manny Fleurmond says… jun 1, 2005 | 8:06 am

Morgan Webb…mmmmm.

Oh, yeah, back on topic.
I just got G4 again just to watch thier E3 coverage, which was pretty good. I hate what they’ve done to TechTV, especially TSS. Sad fate, indeed.

13. Yannick L. says… jun 1, 2005 | 11:13 pm

Tony: Yup I have been following up on all the TWIT casts. It is really good to see the old cast back in action. The TWIT casts are really interesting and entertaining.

Give it a try guys. Listen to TWIT.

14. Kathy says… jun 2, 2005 | 1:37 pm
I mean, my grandparents understand TV! This could be what I’ve been waiting for to help them understand what it is a I do all day.
Too funny. So true. My parents know I do something with computers—”Is it email, honey?” Wait ‘til they find out other designers have become “tv stars.”
15. Matthew Kelley says… jun 3, 2005 | 4:45 pm

It was interesting reading that article, because I have the opposite opinion. I thought the earlier shows were actually a lot more true to “tech” and true “geek culture” than it is currently. Attack of the Show isn’t anything like it should have been — especially now that they’ve let Kevin Rose go. He’s the only one on the show that I felt was genuinely interested in the things he did (for instance Dark Tips and other various “hacks”). I think it’s sort of sad, actually. As soon as something becomes “popular” it looses its elusiveness, which is why I think the mainstrem G4TechTV is just a faint echo of what it used to be.

16. Josiah Platt says… jun 4, 2005 | 4:27 am

I haven’t seen this show. I’ll be tuning in very soon. Thanks for the heads up.

17. Steve Truett says… jun 5, 2005 | 2:07 am

The only thing I really ever turn on G4 to see is Anime Unleashed. They actually have their ear pretty damn low to the ground on that show. They were running R.O.D the TV months before the entire series was even finished being dubbed into english.

18. bandelin says… jun 6, 2005 | 4:00 pm

if you want SUPER geekery, check out

that kevin rose dude quit and is now doing this show with a few others.

maybe someone already mentioned this, but reading the other post is kind of like work…

19. James Wilson says… jun 25, 2005 | 9:24 pm

I agree with most of the posts here I watched tech TV and Screen Savers was a good show G4 sucks and is only concerned with making money (which unfotunately is the only way of being heard on the networks these days)Making the move to LA LA land was a big mistake and AOTS is as stupid as its name Shame on the networks for busting up the relationship between Kevin and I shall now call her TV whore (I thought she was a nice girl and they made a good couple)The format of Screen Savers was interesting and I am now cancelling my sub to G4tech and picking up Scream channel The only good shows left are Call for Help!! and X-Play (which is a good knod to gaming)Filter I like to watch but I am biased because I think the host is hot!! hahaha F.U. Hollywood

20. Kayla says… jul 2, 2005 | 3:58 am

Yes the screensavers was so much better. I never ahd to pay anything extra for TechTV, but that channel was awesome. However, after it merged I found myself watching it less and less… why? because it sucks now.

Nothing against gamers, but some of the crap they have on their now is just dumbed down to a general audience. Attack of the Show will never EVER be as good as the screensavers was.

21. Charles says… jul 17, 2005 | 4:00 pm

It’s just a tv show on a channel so high up you usually forget about it (241 from my cable provider). I liked Screen Savers as well. AOTS is funny sometimes even if the host has silly chin growth and can’t button his shirt. Like all nerd shows, AOTS still has a hot girl that is probably the only real reason that lots of folks watch the show.

As a matter of fact, I feel my nerd factor going through the roof just for posting this. Perhaps, I will go do something outside and enjoy being a part of the “general audience.”

Nobody failed to mention the most disturbing part about g4 — the lame video game vixen show. As a self-confessed gamer I have to ask, who pops a boner to a video game?

22. Charles says… jul 17, 2005 | 4:03 pm

I meant to say in the last part — “nobody managed to mention” as oppossed to “nobody failed to mention”

23. Hayl says… jul 18, 2005 | 10:29 am

Attack of the Show is the worst show ever. All the original/good people from The Screensavers have now left or been let go except for that stupid chick, Sarah Lane who is just plain annoying. Leo thankfully is still doing Call for Help but I think it possibly may only be being broadcast in Canada and Australia. They are filming it in Troronto.

I was never that much of a fan of Kevin Rose until he left G4TechTv. I really hope his new venture ( goes well.

It is also nice to see that Leo, Kevin, Yoshi, and Patrick (Norton) are doing a podcast at

I will likely be terminating my subscription to G4TechTV in short order.

24. MovieTab says… jul 27, 2005 | 9:48 pm

I loved TSS, but it got bad near the end and I’ve watched Attack of the Show a little since it started up. The problem there is there’s no longer any tech tips what-so-ever.

25. Ted says… jul 29, 2005 | 4:01 pm

The former TechTV audience is STILL looking for similar programing like TSS and Call for Help. Wouldn’t it be great if one of the Discovery Channel’s channels would do some technology information programming!

26. Charles S says… jul 30, 2005 | 1:33 am

It’s been a while since I watched g4techtv or now g4. But its nice to hear that Kevin Rose is finally gone from that horrid show. So does that mean that Attack Of The Show will be cancelled? I mean cmon theres only 3 hosts left…

27. Jerome says… aug 25, 2005 | 5:43 am

Attack of the Show isn’t The Screen Savers. It’s not even trying to be The Screen Savers (anymore, anyways). It even changed its name from The Screen Savers to Attack of the Show for that exact reason; because it doesn’t want to be The Screen Savers.

The Screen Savers was one of my favorite shows. Now, Attack of the Show is one of my favorite shows. It wasn’t at first, because I hadn’t yet realized that it was purposely being a different show than The Screen Savers. It was a gradual transition, however. Kevin Rose leaving was one of the main things that started to make it obvious that Attack of the Show was going in a different direction than The Screen Savers.

Just think about it, though. Most of The Screen Savers people are doing other things now (mainly because of the messy G4TV-TechTV merge). I think the Attack of the Show people knew they couldn’t keep doing The Screen Savers without most of The Screen Savers people (well they could, but I think they knew it would be lame to do that). So not having the same people involved and also the idea of the show changing…it just became a different show.

I honestly think they were probably planning on making Attack of the Show before the whole G4TV-TechTV merge. But because of the merge, Attack of the Show couldn’t avoid getting The Screen Savers “in its blood” so to speak. Then they had to slowly evolve The Screen Savers into Attack of the Show instead of just starting out fresh.

Anyways, I’m really rambling here. I liked The Screen Savers, and I like Attack of the Show. But they’re different shows. Realize that and you might be able to enjoy Attack of the Show more (if you were a fan of The Screen Savers).

28. James says… oct 5, 2005 | 4:04 pm

AotS is utter garbage. Probably its high point was shoving a web server into someone’s digestive system through his, um, output port. The cast suffers from delusions that their verbal flatus is witty banter.

29. Toobs says… nov 8, 2005 | 5:32 pm

I finally had enough with AOTS. It’s the worse show on G4. Since CFH is back on G4 in the States, there is no reason to waste my time with the mindless alcoholics, so call B Star Host on AOTS. I found myself fast forwarding 90% of the show each night on the DVR. The subjects that they cover has no baring on IT. Since Kevin left (best move that he made on his career), the show is waste of bandwidth. Instead of airing CFH at 6am PST, they should cancel AOTS all together and put CFH in the 4pm slot. I really miss the ZD days, where you had Fresh Gear, TSS, Tesh News, etc. After the smart geeks left, the network went downhill. G4 is another Spike TV with pure garbage. G4 will probably get sold again and be rebadge at another crap network. I have finally deleted my serise recording for AOTS. If they decide to get rid of CFH, I will downgrade my cable to get rid of G4. AOTS is pure crap.

30. Jason Santa Maria says… nov 8, 2005 | 5:35 pm

Toobs: Yeah, I’m inclined to agree. Soon after I wrote this the show went sharply downhill (though some will claim it never went up the hill to begin with). I don’t really watch it anymore.

31. Steve says… nov 15, 2005 | 2:28 am

I too miss leoon the screen savers. I wish they would bring back the ol’ tech tv. I think a lot of people learned a lot from the show. I know it helped me help other people. It is with their tips and advice that I originally started my web site to help other friend’s get thier advice.

32. Tyler Thomas says… dec 10, 2005 | 9:49 pm

I too remember the good old days of the Screensavers, Call for Help, and X Play b4 they moved 2 their new set in L.A. The screensavers was awesome b4 and now its pretty good as AOTS. I think it would have been great if they could have kept Kevin Rose, but he wanted 2 do his own thing. The main reason I posted this though is because of X Play. Some people may think it hasn’t changed but it has. I’ve watched it ever since it was Extended Play and only Adam Sessler was the host. They are getting away from doing in depth reviews and previews of games, just to fit more ad time and get better ratings. I hate how every special feature they do is sponsored by something. Thats another thing that pisses me off. How many special features they do. It seems every week theres a new Games for Cheap Bastards. When they were free of G4 they rarely shiowed their co workers and always made fun of the interns. Those skits were truly funny. I know this is all because of the pressure that G4 is putting on them. They arent allowed to experimen new things mainly because the old things get better ratings. Unfortunately this will run out and X Play will continue going downhill. This makes me sad that a show with such chracter is now bland and repetive. I give it 2 ihateg4s out of 5.

33. John says… dec 10, 2005 | 10:02 pm

I completely agree with Tyler about X Play. Their skits were so funny back when they were not with G4. Now they are so stupid that its almost unbearable to watch them sometimes. They now skimp the preview and review time to make commercials longer and give more time to their sponsors. I understand that this makes them more money, but it also kills what made them the best show on T.V. They were so original and when they did a review of a game you agreed with them completely. Now before I buy a game I find myself checking online reviews and magazines just to make sure what they said was true.

I feel as if G4 has taken the X out of X Play. The old disembodied voice is gone and their funniness has gone downhill. It should just be called G4 Play because thats exactly what it is!