It’s no secret that I am a Canadaphile, it’s been a major part of who I am going back to childhood. We’re not just talking shows most people know or like, I’ve gotten into the shows we never got here at least as they aired in Canada or without a DVD. Shows like Murdoch Mysteries, Blue Murder, Grand Star, and even Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town. Although the one I plan to speak of for this article did air in America on the lesser known FearNet, but that is an extra premium channel at least on my cable service, so the only way I ever saw the show was through the luck of eOne Entertainment’s DVDs.
I got the first season of TODD and THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL when the cover first caught my eye, mostly the title and a very healthy dose of young Canadian talent who’d starred in some awesome Canadian shows including the stars show Alex House from Dark Oracle, it had longtime Canadian TV talent Chris Leavins dressed as what appeared a nerdy teacher, and top of that Jason Mewes was on the cover as a janitor. I grabbed it off the shelf right away, took it home, spun those episodes and loved it and then it was over. I searched the internet for where it would air if there was more to see. That was when I discovered it was either move to Canada (I want to, but that’s another story) or pay more on my cable bill to watch it on FearNet and I was like “Nooooooooooo!” and I just let the show go to the back of my mind and be happy I had that first season DVD full of funny, supernatural, gory, musical, awesome, weird action.
Then I heard word that Season two would be coming to DVD so I got excited and started looking into it. That was when I also discovered that the show would not be returning for a third season and not all plot lines got completed. Unfortunately I did NOT hear or discover the successful campaign for the animated film, but that didn’t stop my desire to see the second season, especially since I didn’t get FearNet.
In this second season they amped (sic) up everything. That’s usually the case of course with a show like this, the characters get older, so everything can get more mature. The evil is out there so it can only do what evil does and get more powerful, ambition gets more desperate, sexiness gets sexier and blood and gore well that has to get even crazier.
As in the the first season DVD, eOne made sure to stock this thing with enough extras that you’d have reason own this physical item more than just getting the episodes alone. Commentary tracks, deleted sequences, making of footage, the full versions of the music sequences. Oh, did I forget to mention the musical part of the show? Yeah, it’s a balls to walls heavy metal rock musical on top of everything else. Now you might be thinking that sounds weird, but if you’re anything like me, and I KNOW there are amazingly people with my pop-culture sensibilities, they’ll be your favorite segments.
TODD and THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL – The Complete Season 2 dropped on June 25th at a SRP of $19.98 and is available from your regular outlets (Best Buy, Target, Amazon, that local place) and I suggest you go and grab it and also season one if you haven’t. You’ll be getting many half hours of music, comedy, blood, sex, gore, silly, fun and awesome extras as well, what could be wrong about that? Nothing… absolutely nothing.
(disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of Season 2, but only at request and was already a huge fan of the program)
It might be public knowledge that I am a Canadaphile, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t ever bear repeating. I’m not just talking about liking certain bands or television shows that have gained release in America or Internationally though, a lot of people like the music of Neil Young, the acting of Michael J. Fox and David Cronenberg films. My love goes as far as not just Degrassi, but all Canadian teenage shows that have appeared on Disney, Teen Nick, The N, ABC Family, etc and more so the ones that only aired on Canadian Family, CBC and other Canadian Networks (and in cases the UK and Australia), but never made it to the US airwaves.
All this is to preface my excitement when I heard about the new iPhone/iPad app Totally Amp’d, a Canadian produced “web series” with similarities to shows such as Instant Star and 2Gether, both Canadian produced shows about discovering and promoting young talent. Produced by Smokebomb Entertainment, a Division of Shaftesbury, the show was created with Smokebomb’s three creative heads Jarrett Sherman, Daniel Dales and Jay Bennett who all have quality resumes. The program and app features music written by C.E.O. of Jingle Punks Music, Jared Gutstadt and features all kinds of genres, giving it a something for everyone feel in the sound department. On the writing team is Karen McCellan, previously of Being Erica and on three out of 10 episodes, Christin Simms who was a major part of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Clone High and Dino Dan.
What is most exciting about Totally Amp’d though is the amazing cast. The big pull on the series in terms of who they are marketing to mostly would be Cristine Prosperi. Cristine is currently a major player on Degrassi, coming in on season 11 as a new foil character attracted to the very popular Eli played the extremely popular Munro Chambers. Cristine gained a following immediately like most Degrassi cast members, but it is a deserving one as she is both gorgeous and talented. For the slightly older fan though there’s a major draw too in Ashley Leggat who became famous on “Life With Derek” which ran from 2005-2009, there she garnered a fan base in Canada and America and has made appearances in popular Shaftesbury shows such as Murdoch Mysteries and Aaron Stone, including an appearance on Cartoon Network’s Unnatural History. The third known commodity on the show is Demetrius Joyette, best known from the Canadian Teencom “Wingin’ It” which has unfortunately never aired in the U.S. Rounding out the cast are newcomers to television Amanda Thomson and Brock Morgan, as well the very experienced yet youngest member of the cast Camden Angelis (who has even done an episode of Scare Tactics). The show also features the talents of James A. Woods (no relation to the other actor of the same name) who has a expansive resume.
There are two other talents not in the initial marketing of the show to make note of. Shemar Williams, a very popular and talented dancer who actually had a dancing training segment for kids on TV and Dewshane Williams who had major roles in Baxter and Being Erica.
All the promotional hype out of the way, how is the actual final product? Excellent. The songs are fantastic, actually the main shining light more than anything. The characters are awesome too. It should be noted that while there are 10 appisodes, each appisode isn’t more than 6 minutes each, creating an about one hour short film. It’s a perfect length for the iPhone though where this show is made to live. Although it also fits the new professionally made web series format.
What makes the app part special are the unlockable karaoke format songs, the editable music videos and the highly entertaining dress em up. There are seven songs that you can record your own vocals for and then input them into a remix which you can pick and choose the elements including original vocals, drums, guitars, bass and percussion. There are five videos which you can choose the angle shots to create your own version. Both the kraoke and video edtiors are simplistic in nature and would be exciting to have a more fleshed out ability, but this isn’t a music app or video app, it’s an all around concept in which on top of a full length professionally created show exclusive to the iPhone you get some really fun extras. Then there’s the design studio which is the bread and butter of the app segment, something app developer XMG has truly excelled at. It’s truly a total package at $5 for the full season (free to try and test with the first episode) and truly worth it.
I’m hoping for a second season and that with it hopefully a longer story and more expanded applications, but this first part of Totally Amp’d is highly recommended for anyone with an iOS device running 4.3 and above. For those without an iPhone, the album is also available on iTunes and the Youtube channel has a lot of great stuff.