Leave a Comment
People get nostalgic for cancelled television shows all the time, but it’s not too often they get nostalgic for cancelled networks. Then again, G4 was never some run of the mill cable channel. It always punched well above its weight in cultural relevance, which is why it was such a shock when it ceased operations back in 2014. Last year, a planned revival for 2021 was publicly announced, but it’s 2021 and G4 isn’t here yet. Fear not, though, gamers, the network did drop an apology video over the weekend, and if it’s any indication of the tone we’ll be getting, we’re all in for some good times weirdness.
The video, entitled “G4 Launch Announcement! This is BIG!!”, features comedian Gus Johnson as G4 Interim CEO Jerry XL, and it’s basically a highlight video of stupid decisions, excuses and hilariously low-tech artwork. There’s also some hand sanitizer drinking and a really badass shirt of a lion. Check out all the oddities below…
I love how self-aware this whole video is. It has its own unique sense of humor, and it never speaks down to the audience. In fact, it drops some absolute gem lines like references to a “team of zoomer gig workers.” I also love how it just asks people to come straight out and tell them what they’d be willing to spend their discretionary income on. This is the exact tone I’d love to see the network carry forward, both because it makes me laugh and because it feels like a callback to the early years.
G4 was launched in 2002 and produced programming for and about gaming. Original content such as Attack Of The Show and X-Play debuted a few years later and found a pretty dedicated fanbase who appreciated the content, the off-beat tones and the willingness to partner with outside the box creators like Jackass' Ryan Dunn (RIP). Some hosts, most prominently Olivia Munn, even broke out into the mainstream, but the network was never able to turn into one of the bigger networks on cable. It was simply well-liked niche content for a very specific fanbase.
This led to a series of behind the scenes choices in which executives tried to broaden the fanbase. There was a brief merger with TechTV that was ultimately dropped. There was a lot of syndicated programming that was acquired. There was talk of a rebranding to Esquire. None of the new directions worked, and ultimately, the channel was dropped by DirecTV and ceased production completely in 2014. But now it’s back and planning to launch again this summer, hopefully circling back to its roots.
Gaming, or at least gaming-related programming, is significantly more popular than it was a decade ago. Millions of people consume gaming content on Twitch every single day. If G4 can attract even a percentage of that audience, they should get off to a good start, and if the delivered content is as amusing as this apology video, viewers will probably stick with it.