Review: Con Man Season 1

When a "network" cancels a TV show...

Premise: An actor - who starred in a quickly cancelled sci-fi TV show - tours the “con” circuit.

Verdict: Fun web satire for sci-fi lovers

Alan Tudyk plays struggling actor Wrey Nerely, famous for having played starship pilot Cash [Cash/Wash get it?] on a fictional TV show called “Spectrum”. Fellow actor Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) played the Captain of the ship. Spectrum was cancelled after only 14 episodes but then became a cult-hit in sci-fi circles. If none of this sounds familiar… then Con man is not for you [And… you probably don’t own a TV nor have access to the internet]. If, on the other hand, you recognize the obvious Firefly references, then you will probably enjoy this fun online web-series.

Basically, Con man is a satire [with hints of an homage] of life after Firefly. However, the joke embedded in the premise can only take a show so far. This is not simply a sketch comedy, we are talking about 13 episodes and over two hours of content. You need a story and compelling characters for that. And I think Con Man delivers.

As far as quality of the production, I have to say I was impressed. I was expecting a very low budget, indie look, but Con Man looked like a proper single cam comedy. They didn’t have the most impressive spaceship… but they had one, which is more than enough for a crowdfunded show [Let’s not get too demanding].

In addition, I love Alan Tudyk in comedies [even more than dramas]. I think he is genuinely funny. If you don’t believe me just go check out Suburgatory. Con Man also has an impressive list of guests from the sci-fi world including Firefly alums like: Summer Glau, Gina Torres, Sean Maher, Nathan Fillion, Jewel Staite [but not Adam Baldwin]; and other sci-fi favorites like: Tricia Helfer, Michael Trucco, Sean Astin, Milo Ventimiglia, Amy Acker, Seth Green, Joss Whedon himself and Felicia Day [because you cannot have a respectable web series without her].

But it was not ALL about the million geek-friendly actors. Con Man is cleverly written. It has a LOT of silliness and a few moments that are too quirky for their own good, but it also has very funny dialogue and satire that – more often than not – serves as indirect commentary on serious subjects.  

Should you watch it? I believe this is worth it if you are a sci-fi fan. If you are not… I think it may still be funny… but the ‘cleverness’ of it would be lost without the frame of reference. Much like Play it again Dick – which is targeted to Veronica Mars fans - this is ideal for sci-fi lovers and especially Firefly fans. My only complaint is that it was a bit overpriced. Paying over 1$ for 10 min episodes seems a bit much when I pay $1.99 for hour long shows… but then again we are trying to bypass the “networks” here, so…

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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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  1. I thought this show was hilarious, love Alan Tudyk, miss Firefly!


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