Jpod, games development as a tv-show

When my roommate introduced Jpod, I was reluctant at first, as I couldn’t imagine a TV-show built around a group of game developers, being any good.

We saw the show together and finished the first season of it before it got cancelled. Also this is one of the first, if not the first, canadian TV-shows I have seen. Is it worth your time? Read on to find out

The premise

Deep in the basement of Neotronic Arts (Hello EA!) a small group of developers are working on a niche game to be modest. It is called BoardX and is focused around skateboarding and gore, especially the gore part. The group receives a new boss in the first episode and immediately can the threat of drastic and troubling changes be seen on the horizon. The show is about the romantic and family related issues that the main character Ethan has to deal with and boy does he have many issues popping up around him.

The game BoardX is in constant peril throughout the show as well as his interest in a female coworker. Even in his family he has to help out his mom and her not-quite-legal hobby at home. The dad’s acting career and the increasing influence of a certain Chinese “businessman” becomes ever more pressing.

Without spoiling the story too much, I’ll go right ahead to the characters as they make the show.

The characters

In Jpod, the 5 main characters are a seemingly shy coder, a chain-smoking playboy and the best coder of his time, a goo-die-two-shoes suck-up to authority who’s also cute (and danish), a sex craving chinese girl, who’s the best at Motion Capture aswell as the fairly regular and likeable gore-expert.

Surrounding these broken characters is the even weirder side characters. The obsessing boss, the drug growing mother, the oblivious and carefree dad, who’s pursuing an acting career without a grain of talent, the various crazy ex boyfriends and girlfriends, a commune of lesbians, countless goons and drug dealers who stand in the way of the chinese mafia / kingpin character who takes great interest in dancing and the antics of the father of Ethan and many more.

The seemingly big cast of characters is what makes this show interesting. The focus on the game quickly gets put in the background and the focus on the interaction and bizarre twists throughout the season makes the show much more engrossing towards the end than in the first couple of episodes. At one point my roommate and I started discussing where the game development part went in the show and why developers are portrayed as people goofing around entire days without progressing at all. It was also the wild changes to a characters fate that kept us interested and wanted to find out what everything ends with.

Should you watch it?

Recommending Jpod isn’t as difficult as I initally thought it would be. The interaction between the characters and the issues they face are very relate-able, if a tad over the top compared to real life issues. The focus on the game development part quickly fades and therefore the appeal of the show quickly broadens.

Even though the show ends with a lot of loose ends, I would still recommend you give this show a try as it’s both funny, very different and unique in a lot of ways. Some of the situations the cast ends up in are quite unique and with all it’s B-like quality it actually felt really well produced. Of course as a gamer the show has a certain appeal as there are quite a few references to popculture and gaming in the show and some are more notice-able than others.