Channel surfing, universally acknowledged sign of utter boredom and desperation. That constant click, click, click one pointless channel with a show made for the sheeples after the other, click, click click. Every now and again though you fall on something new, something fresh, something not for the masses but for you. For us. That's how I found Dead Pixels this weekend, channel surfing.
Dead Pixels, in all it's indie low budget glory is one of the best geek shows I have ever seen. I would hazard to say in all likely hood the writer Jon Brown is likely a geek himself and almost certainly a gamer, just like us. That's what makes it so deliciously uncomfortable and from that brilliant.
Dead Pixels follows a guild of MMORPG players on their journey both IRL and IG in 'Kingdom Scrolls' exploring both friendships and the world they play in grinding for loot. The narrative of the show is split between live action and scenes played out in-game. Often the latter revealing the true feelings of the lead characters (Meg and Nicky's).
Throughout the six-episode season, we follow the exploits of Meg the highly sexed gutter mouth office worker who is utterly comfortable with her geekiness. Nicky her flatmate and guild buddy who is obviously in love with her and the stereotypical antisocial geek of many a meme, Usman, the neglectful family man that wants to game and escape his mundane life. Finally, we have Russel the object of Megs constantly engorged love nub and series noob.
What is interesting about Dead Pixels is how Brown choose to flip the tried and tested gender roles and made Meg the horny lead and Russel the dim-witted eye candy. One of the immediately apparent things that stood out right away within a few minutes was the cast. They do an excellent job of making stereotypically 2D (pun very much intended) character archetypes much more fleshed out. They are moving away from the often characterised geeks as only interested in gaming. Indeed, that is a part of the show but seeing how true to life they appear in Dead Pixels makes it stand out over something like the first Season the IT Crowd. Seeing the characters develop over the six episodes rather than which was more laughing at us geek than written for us is a welcome change.
My throbbin' loot nubbin' needs a rubbin'
One particular scene that made me smile much more than it likely should have was when in one of the later episode Meg was walking along the street and passed another 'geek'. Wearing what I can only describe as the uniform of a geek chic fashion follower Meg unloads on her saying it like it is, calling her out on her geek cred in the most viciously funny way. It's moments like this throughout the series that had me enjoying every single second of Dead Pixels. There was no shying away from having the characters act like a lot of us do, seeing a current real-world take on our subculture is exciting while still keeping the humour mostly accessible to even the normals out there watching it.
Ultimately I think the only thing missing from Dead Pixels was a few Leyroy Jenkins references and maybe a cross-media marketing push for the characters on Twitter or Instagram that would have given it even more appeal. I hope we get a season two and if we do that they don't go the way of IT crown and widen the market appeal. Outside of The Guild, Dead Pixels is the best we are going to get!