Comic Book Men 1.01 “Pilot” Series Premiere Review

Comic Book Men - Series PremiereComic Book Men, a reality series from acclaimed director Kevin Smith debuts its series premiere on AMC tonight following The Walking Dead, focusing on the day-to-day running of his New Jersey comic book shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. An unusual effort for AMC, Comic Book Men might require a bit of tweaking if it wishes to succeed going forward.

As usual, we need to get one thing straight first. I don’t watch reality TV. That isn’t a critique against reality TV mind you, and even I’ve been known to take in the occasional Jersey Shore, or something random that particularly peaks my interest, but on the whole I find myself incapable of acclimating to the conditions reality TV expects. Like watching sports, there’s never any moment of reality TV in which I understand what’s being asked of me. Are any parts of it real, or are we ourselves expected where to decide where the suspension of disbelief lies?

I may not be an avid comic book reader either, but I consider myself within the pantheon of nerdery, to the point where I might be the only person at bar trivia who recognizes the name ‘Ultron,’but would never in a million years make the kind of purchases or sales outlined within Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, the focus and setting of Comic Book Men. However, I do consider myself a fan of the works of Kevin Smith, and trust in his direction enough to at least give Comic Book Men an honest approach, reality TV though it may be.

It’s also interesting to consider AMC’s decision to pick up Comic Book Men in the first place, obviously in need of something to fill the post-Walking Dead slot after the Hell on Wheels finale, and clearly trying to attract more of the Walking Dead‘s comic fanbase to AMC programming. AMC is also a network still unsure of what to do with its new-found accolades, as such experimenting with new formats like reality TV, so the performance of Comic Book Men may determine some of their programming strategies in the future.

Now as I said, I’m not terribly familiar with most reality TV, therefore I couldn’t tell you exactly what shows Comic Book Men picks and chooses from, as it drifts through a number of formats for the first episode. The series focuses on four men hanging around Kevin Smith’s New Jersey comic shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, manager Walter, oft-teased employee Ming, Mike, and the exceptionally bearded and acerbic non-employee Brian. They anchor the goings-on somewhat with a roundtable podcast hosted by Kevin Smith, in a sort of Tarantino-esque recap of the individual anecdotes of life working in this shop.

And that’s more or less where things become a little aimless with Comic Book Men, as it drifts between a number of different angles with which to present this world, darting between Clerks-esque dissection of pop culture and comics, and Pawn Stars-style appraisals of their quirky customers’memorabilia. There are also a number of events that take place outside the store, as Ming and Brian compete to sell off the Stash’s excess merchandise at a local flea market, but once again we’ve yet to see a clear picture of why we’re investing in these men. I’m not one to judge or throw labels at these guys, but forgive me if I can’t gather a reason to watch middle-aged men enthusiastically ruminate on mediums and eras long since obsolete.

There’s such a fascinating world taking place within the comic book zeitgeist currently, from DC’s big overhauls to all the Marvel films stealing spotlight, that it might be nice to draw a bit of attention to more current scenes rather than pore over artwork and tropes of a bygone era. At the very least, a more youthful presence around the shop would do wonders for attracting the type of audience they’re hoping for.

On the whole, Comic Book Men is worth a look, and certainly worth a few laughs in the unique characters and witty banter, but the pilot itself skews too broad for too small of an audience to attract any real attention. If anything, I’d be more interested to know what true comic fans, young and old, thought of the premiere.

And Another Thing…

  • To its credit, I did appreciate the show’s efforts to display characters, and facts the Comic Book Men reference for the purpose of helping along audiences who might not be familiar.
  • Characters like the various caricatured collectors looking to hawk their wars are exactly why I don’t watch reality TV, given that they feel positioned to be memorable, rather inorganically.

What did YOU think?

7 Comments

  1. justin February 13, 2012
  2. NJShoreChick February 13, 2012
    • Kevin Fitzpatrick February 13, 2012
  3. NotaFan February 13, 2012
  4. Robert Bruce February 13, 2012
  5. John Meyers February 14, 2012
  6. Damascus February 15, 2012

Leave a Reply

Guy Sets Plinko Record on “The Price is Right” and Goes Berserk
Leonardo DiCaprio Hiding from the Paparazzi Gets the Photoshop Treatment
Five Things You Didn’t Know About the Show “Making History”
The Castlevania Netflix Series Gets a Trailer and I Couldn’t Be More Excited About It
The Trailer for “Wonder” is Already Making Me Cry Let Alone the Entire Film
Dirty Dancing Remake is More Proof Patrick Swayze Needs to be Left Alone
If You Want to Learn How to Make Alien Egg Cake Balls
First images of Star Wars: The Last Jedi With New Characters by Laura Dern and Benecio Del Toro
Listen To Chris Cornell’s “Black Hole Sun” With the Background Music Removed
Watch Celine Dion Dancing to Cher Backstage in her Poofy White Dress
The Most Surprising Billboard Music Awards Moments Ever
No One Else is Talking About How The Wonder Woman Theme Song is “Immigrant Song” in Disguise?
Watch UFC Fighter Matt Serra Teach Neil deGrasse Tyson Jiu Jitsu
How to Stream the 2017 French Open
Theo Epstein Delivers Epic Commencement Speech To Yale
Charles Barkley Tells Shaq He Rode Coattails of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade
South Park: The Fractured But Whole Video Game Gets a Hilarious Trailer
Will We See The Legend of Zelda on Our Smartphones?
A Wild Pikachu Incident Occurs at a Mall in South Korea
Guy Might Go to Prison for Playing Pokemon Go in Russian Church
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Sasha Pieterse
Helen Mirren Has Sage Advice for Donald Trump in Tulane Commencement Speech
What if Famous Celebrities Were Covered in Tattoos?
Five Things You Didn’t Know about Tonya Banks