Friday, November 2, 2012

Reviewaverse Saga Episode 7 (Part 3)

I avoided this for a long time. Truth is, my heart just isn't into it. I don't want to put out a half-assed product, no matter what that product is. It means always pushing to go the extra mile. For this final part, I spoke to Matt about doing an audio read. Perhaps even getting Justin and Lewis in for something over Skype. I was toying about approaching an artist to create images to go along with it.

Matt never fully committed, and I didn't push the point.

I can't blame him. This Saga represents so many mixed feelings. The production was likely the most ambitious undertaking that had ever been made in the internet reviewing community at the time, and it never really received due credit or recognition.

It irks me somewhat when people dismiss his accomplishments out of hand because Matt went to film school where so many others in the community didn't. As if knowing basic shot composition somehow makes it easier to make a special effects heavy science fantasy epic. The simple truth is that Matt at times had to drag his creation kicking and screaming into the world. The filming of the Saga was very often a miserable affair. People dropped out. Friendships were stressed. Nobody was paid. Matt pushed six episodes to see the light of day through sheer force of will.

The result was an odd mix of Battlestar Galactica, Tokusastsu and reviewing. Against the odds, the Saga worked more often than it had rights to. While it requires a certain mindset going in, there is a definite charm to the lead character as well as a surprising sense of scale, urgency, and stakes.

Matt's entire team deserves credit, of course. In particular he praised collaborator Will (The Blackalgia Critic), who directed many of the episodes. It was the lack of Will's enthusiasm as much as anything else that killed Episode 7.

This needs closure.

The following, with admitted reordering and flavour text, is the original text of the treatment I pitched for the final episode. It's rough and woefully unpolished, but the story's there.

For anyone who still cares, I hope this satisfies.



It takes Cinera a moment to notice the camera is off. She considers killing the cameraman, then notices ExSied. Cinera congratulates him on his glorious return. The still silent ExSied will have nothing to do with the Triad and takes a shot at her, but Cinera dodges. Realizing she's outmatched, Cinera retreats.

Back to Linkara and the Trenchcoat Anti-Critic, who've become uneasy allies. They are ambushed by Revuer 2. A fight ensues. Trenchie, it's established, is basically tactical support, able to aid very little in actual battle. Linkara uses the device he rescued from the ship to transform into his power ranger costume. During the battle, a figure is spotted observing the battle from a distance. Trenchie's damaged and glitchy registers the presence of another reviewer. Dramatic reveal of J-dub, who joins the fray with his own transformation and briefly it seems as though the good guys may be able to win.

Dramatic reveal of Ares, now transformed into Revuer 3.

Trenchie ends up paying the price of his life, sacrificing himself to give the other two time to escape. Jew Wario and Linkara barely escape with their lives.

Ares will at some point betray Cinera, and absorb her power into himself. Then he will execute the now human Cinera.

Revuer 3 ultimately becomes the main antagonist. This serves as the strongest emotional stake for Apollo. He was the closest ally and his was the ultimate betrayal. This may not be the most satisfying conclusion to Cinera's arc, though. Maybe the ExSied confrontation should come later with him soundly defeating Cinera, all but killing her. It's too late to do that in this as that scene is in Part Two of this thing, but that ordering of events would make the most amount of narrative sense. Would've. So, uh, just imagine things happened in that order. Yeah.

Ultimately J-Dub and Linkara encounter ExSied. They are hopelessly outgunned, but using Trenchie's handheld computer they're able to restore his memory... which nearly destroys Apollo.

And it's at this point that Ares arrives.

Apollo, emotionally crippled by the weight of his actions, welcomes it when Ares shows up as he "deserves to die for what I did.". But watching J-dub and Linkara stand up and fight despite overwhelmingly outmatched Apollo realizes there is still something left worth fighting for. He stands up to Ares and the ultimate battle begins.

The end, Revuer 1 and Revuer 3's ultimate attacks end up rebounding. This has the effect of a massive explosion. When the smoke clears, neither Ares or Apollo are visible.

It's over.

Linkara and J-dub are now faced with what to do now. How to carry on or if it's even worth it.

All the reviewers are dead.

It's at this point Linkara points out that Spoony died once before. "I cloned one bastard-son-of-a-bitch back to life, I can do it again." "It'll take some time." "The world's toast and the baddie's dead, we've got nothing BUT time!".

And as they walk into the sunset, we fade in on Apollo and Ares. Their respective Revuer units lay cracked and smoking in the rocks nearby.

Suitless and worse for the wear, Apollo slaps a roped up Ares awake. "You good yet?" "Eat dirt, Hack!" "Answer's that."

Apollo tases Ares back unconscious, sits down and squints in the setting sunlight.

He looks down and notices a round pair of blue-tinted sunglasses with the left lens empty laying on the ground. He dusts them off and puts them on, the blue lens aligning with his remaining eye.

"Time enough for redemption, my friend. Just not right now.".


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Reviewaverse Saga Episode 7 (Part 2)

And so we come to the second part of the Episode 7 treatment. The reaction to this undertaking has been very positive; I'm just so glad people are reading and enjoying it. If you don't know what's going on, you should probably check out part one first.

No illustrations this time, I'm afraid. If someone were to volunteer, I would gladly add in their sketches, but I just don't have the time right now to do them myself.

We see two scuffed dress shoes stumbling more purposefully, now. Beeping chimes at a regular tempo.

"Thr-r-r-ree hundred meters."

"Please don't let this be another dead end."
* * *

Up on a nearby hill, Linkara is flat on his belly and surveying the landscape. He squints; the approaching man on the horizon has gotten closer; no doubt about it, he's coming towards Linkara's location! Linkara pulls out his gun, grits his teeth. Then he notices a tall shrubbery bush. A smile crosses his face.
* * *

Trenchie is panting when he reaches the top of the hill. "Five me-e-e-e-ters." After catching his breath for a moment, the Anti-Critic spots a coat and hat mounted on a makeshift cross made out of shrubbery branches; they are dusty with more than a few battle marks of their own, but the ensemble is unmistakably Linkara's.

He laughs bitterly and walks up to the marker.

"And so it goes, eh? We go out not like bulls and lions but like blasted lemmings."

"Si-i-i-ix met-t-t-ter-s-s."

Trenchie stops laughing and looks at the device, confused... then with dawning realization his eyes open.

"Two-o-o-o KTCHT-T-CH!" The machine finally gives out in a burst of distortion. Trenchie starts turning around when suddenly the barrel of a gun pokes into his face.

"Drop it, G.E.A.R. bastard!"

"I doubt there's much point in that." The device's screen displays broken code for a second and goes blank. "You can put that down, I'm one of the good guys. And by the way, you're an asshole for making me think you were dead."

Linkara digs the tip of the barrel deeper into Trenchie's cheek. "You're not in a good position to be talking like that."

"In a better position than you, by the looks of it. Where's your ship?"

"It's in orbit with the cannon pointed at your head."

Trenchie studies Linkara's face. "It's gone, isn't it." Linkara's face contorts in anger.

"What's your name?"

"I'm the Trenchcoat Anti-Critic!"

"...Is that some kind of joke?"

"Funny story, actually. See, I'm actually a historian of sorts-"

"Save it. You say you're one of the good guys. Say I believe you. Answer me this; if you're not G.E.A.R., how did you get a G.E.A.R. Box?"

"Who do you think they stole the things from to begin with? Well, the design at least." He indicates the device. "It's overheated; once it's cooled a bit, I'll show you the proof you need." He pats a pocket full of MiniDiscs.

Linkara loosens the pressure on the gun, then takes a step back. Trenchie rubs the his cheek where the barrel was pressed and says: "While we're waiting, what do you know about the Triad?"
* * *

For the first time in a long time Cinera is out of her armor, an expensive red dress in its place. Behind her is a pristine city, left untouched for the purposes of this evening.

She smiles into camera.

Her face is being broadcast live across every network across North America. This is a broadcast she'd be repeating in every language for the rest of the world soon enough, but the epicenter of geek lay here.

"Yesterday you were at war with your neighbors. Yesterday even parties in your own governments were pitted against each other over petty disputes. Today that ends. Today, we speak with one voice to all nations. One world, united through geekdom." She gestures grandly. "Citizens, I welcome you to paradise. Citizens, I welcome you to Neo-Nerdaria!"

When her arm comes down again, X-Seid is standing behind her in the distance.

The camera feed cuts out.


There have been a lot of questions that have been raised and I'd like to take this opportunity to address some of them.

While i don't want to spoil what's going to happen, this needs to be addressed: Lupa did not survive her run-in with X-Seid. At the stage of production my version was written she was no longer attached to the series.

Though Matt has made it known publicly the Reviewaverse Saga takes place in the early days of Channel Awesome, the timeline has never been established in the series itself. In other words, it's fair game. That was the assumption under which I was operating when writing the original outline upon which this is based; in making it more current the story possibilities were stronger.

Likely not. Unlike previous episodes, 7 was not going to be cameo heavy. There was opportunity for brief cameos in the opening montage, but little in the body of the episode.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reviewaverse Saga Episode 7 (Part 1)

Matt Burkett's Reviewaverse Saga, an ambitious love letter to everything geek created on his own dime, has come to an end after the sixth episode of a planned seven episode run. Though he has made public his original plans for the finale, that version will never see the light of day.

But that doesn't have to be the end of the story. That first vision wasn't the only conclusion to the series that was ever planned. There was also the version I wrote.

Despite appearances, what follows is not self-insertion fan-fiction.

What follows is instead is an adaptation of what I actually pitched to Matt Burkett as the seventh episode of 'Apollo Z. Hack: A Reviewaverse Saga'. For a time it had a good chance of being the official final episode to the series.

Let me back up a bit.

In the summer of 2011, a few months after Matt had made the decision to leave the series unfinished, internet personalities Linkara and Jew Wario (Lewis Lovhaug and Justin Carmical respectively) expressed interest in being involved and seeing the series completed. It was shortly after that Matt asked me to be involved.

He'd been impressed with the cameo I'd done for the sixth episode. The two of us had been talking about a collaboration since. It was at his insistence, not mine, that I be given a larger acting role.

(The genesis of my involvement.)

After the second or third variation of the story Matt had brainstormed, and after many discussions between the two of us on the subject, I got permission to try my hand. The idea was to create something which was strong enough that it would stand alone for those who weren't familiar with the series but also serve as a satisfying conclusion to the series to those who'd been invested in the series for its then 18 month run.

It does need to be said that this is an early version. There are plot holes and it rushes through several key events. I feel though that the people who've been with this series for the last two years deserve some kind of closure; at this point, for better or worse, this is as close to an official seventh episode as there is likely to ever be (Matt's new project, 'How I Spent My Doomsday', is an entirely new undertaking and is not connected in any way to AZH or the Reviewaverse).

I also ask your patience. This isn't a copy-paste job; I'm taking the time to flesh out and polish the story considerably. Given how long so many have waited I refuse to rush it, but I also have heavy commitments in the next few months. This will be released in parts to lessen the waiting time.

I dedicate it to every fan the series has ever had. And to Linkara and J-Dub, whose enthusiasm gave the series a second chance.


A corrupted stream of data flashes across the frame. Fragments of dialogue and flashes of images from past and current events. "...savior or destroyer..." "Nerdaria..." There's a sea of distorted faces. Other reviewers. The word 'DECEASED' appears under most. "...the Reviewaverse will fall." Images of wide-spread devastation. Apollo's face lingers briefly on the screen. 'UNKNOWN'.

Inter-cut with this we see two dusty and scuffed black dress shoes stumbling through a desert. Periodically a mini-disk falls into the sand amidst the rough Arizonian vegetation.

"There's got to be someone left." A male voice, rough from the desert air.

A female computer voice confirms; "No reviewers detected."

"Just give me a name."

"No reviewers detected."

The man stops and another mini-disk falls to the ground.

"Give me a name, damn it!"

Corrupted garbled speech.

The man sighs. He takes off his glasses and wipes dirt and sweat from his eyes. For the first time we see him; the Trenchcoat Anti-Critic. There's more than a little wear-and-tear in his trademark trenchcoat, and Trenchie's pockets are stuffed to overflowing with colorful information disks. The battered computer device in his hand crackles before going silent. He lets the hand drop to his side.

"So that's it then, they're all gone."




High above in the Earth's atmosphere, Linkara's spaceship is crashing.

Warning lights flash in the smoking control panel. There's a loud "whoop" which repeats itself twice a second. Linkara flips a switch on the controls above his head, wincing slightly as it sends out a small shower of sparks down towards his head. A female voice chirps up from the computer system.

"Impact eminent. It's recommended you pull up, Linkara."

"What do you think I'm trying to do!?"

A lighted button above Linkara's head flickers and dies. He pounds it a couple times with his fist; it doesn't come back on.

He swears, then says; "Computer, prepare for evacuation teleportation procedure."

"Acknowledged. Preparing for-"

"Wait. Belay that order."


Linkara frantically searches his person; it's missing!

"Computer, stand by for transport. In the meantime give me a countdown until impact."

"Acknowledged. Time to impact: 27 seconds... 26 seconds..."

Linkara races back to his quarters. He searches with urgency through the room, throwing books and trinkets onto the floor.

"13 seconds... 12 seconds..."

He spots what he's looking for under a bench. He dives for it, knocking his hat off on the seat portion now above him. As Linkara's hand closes on the morphing unit he all but forgets about the hat momentarily.

"5 seconds..."

Linkara jams the fedora on his crown with his free hand and yells. "Fucking energize!"


Linkara is teleported out just in time, landing hard on the ground. He's far enough away for safety, but close enough for the crashing ship to be in full devastating view behind him.

"I wish I could've done better for you, old girl."

* * * *
In the sand is a damaged wearable tech device... Obscurus Lupa's Lupad. A hand gloved in red armor reaches down and picks it up. The hand's owner, Cinera in full Revuer 2 armor, holds it up for a better look.

"You're sure it was him?"

From behind her Ares steps out, alive and very nearly unscathed. A scorch mark on his arm is the only indication of his fight with Apollo.


"So, he survived..."

"Your deductive reasoning astounds me."

Cinera crushes Lupa's communicator. "Still, that he crushed that little loose end says a great deal."

"If he could be turned, he'd make a powerful ally."

"Sarcasm doesn't become you, Ares." She bends down again to look at Lupa's backpack. After finding the zipper jammed, Cinera slices it open with a clawed finger. Electronics and wires spill out like the innards of a fallen beast. From these technological guts she draws out the third Revuer unit.

She holds it tenderly in her hands. "The undeserving have had their day, Ares. Their sun has set. What once fell is risen again."

"Talking like that doesn't make you sound smarter."