“Attack of the Doc!” opens with a critical note.
The documentary is “by the fans for the fans,” and that includes writer/director Chris Gore.
The Film Threat founder appeared regularly on G4TV, the gaming cable network that had an outsized impact on pop culture. Now, Gore is recalling the channel’s its influence on our Comic-Con age and sharing why the channel’s legacy matters.
You couldn’t air much of what went down on G4TV today. And that’s a very bad thing.
G4TV never got all the bells and whistles of an ESPN or CNN-sized platform. The channel’s modest budget could be seen on the shows’ sets and in the faces of the then-unknown hosts. This was a channel for gamers, nerds and everyone who ever felt the joy of beating a video game or dressing up for their local Comic-Con.
Except Comic-Cons weren’t cultural tastemakers circa 2002 when the channel first went live.
G4TV, also known as G4, eventually merged with TechTV and became a cult-like destination for young gamers. The channel’s signature series, “Attack of the Show!” featured a dynamic duo of attractive, affable hosts – Olivia Munn and Kevin Pereira.
They cracked wise, made fools of themselves and did anything and everything that lunged to mind for the audience. Munn’s combination of beauty and on-camera bravery made her a star, and Pereira’s jovial presence proved the perfect complement.
Together, they made “Show!” must-see TV … and something more with the benefit of time.
You couldn’t stage “Attack of the Show!” today, of course. The jokes were often randy, and Munn happily donned risqué outfits and jumped into massive pools of pastry to the viewers’ delight.
Munn’s shtick wouldn’t be allowed now even though she wasn’t offended or embarrassed by her antics. Others would be on her behalf.
“You put your guard down when you’re around family,” former G4 host Laura Foy says about the show’s comedy impulses. “We have to dilute everything [now].”
Writer/director Gore keeps the documentary hyper-focused on the channel’s rise and pop culture reverberations. Nerds rules in 2023, but that wasn’t the case in the early 2000s. Comic-Cons command the attention of most major film studios, hungry to market their wares to Geek Nation.
That wasn’t happening before G4TV.
Gore shrewdly touches on the show’s anarchic spirit without overplaying his hand. He’s on shakier ground by going into the hyper-details of the channel’s coverage of E3 and the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), details that pale compared to the wonderful anecdotes assembled elsewhere.
G4TV resembled basic cable TV of yore, but people took the high jinks seriously. “Doc!” features sublime footage of director James Cameron promoting the first “Avatar” film, giddily playing the straight man to the various G4 bits.
Chris Gore returns to The Projection Booth to talk about his latest project, the 2023 documentary Attack of the Doc! which relates the story of G4 TV and its flagship show, Attack of the Show. https://t.co/9tGXDACxvp @ThatChrisGore @AttackoftheDoc
— 📽️The Projection Booth Podcast (@proboothcast) April 24, 2023
The show’s anarchic spirit, akin to Fox News’ old “Red Eye.” served up improv glee rarely seen on cable today.
Back then, even failed comic bits didn’t yield social media rage or accusatory press releases.
The early G4TV days found fandoms embracing the channel, and each other. That, too, has soured following the channel’s demise. It’s hard not to see “Doc!” as a bittersweet end to an era.
“Attack of the Doc,” reflects a time when TV broke boundaries with a goofy, unapologetic grin on its face.
HiT or Miss: “Attack of the Doc!” is literally made for G4’s devoted fans, and they’ll eat up this exhaustive account of why the channel mattered.