‘Wil Wheaton Project’ Series Premiere Review

Published 11 months ago by

wil wheaton project Wil Wheaton Project Series Premiere Review

Actor Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next GenerationBig Bang Theory) is a nerd royal and recognizable TV personality with a congenial attitude and 2.6 million Twitter followers. It makes absolute sense that Syfy would try to align with him in some way, but as the host and namesake of a semi-late night comedy series that both echoes and has compared itself to E!’s The Soup, Wheaton’s selection seems a bit off.

A large part of the charm of The Soup comes from host Joel McHale’s outsider status as he skewers the world of unscripted TV and its most witless and ridiculous inhabitants with occasionally palpable disdain.  

Wheaton is, on the other hand, very much a product of the “nerd” world. He is not an outsider; in fact, The Wil Wheaton Project has been partially sold on its host’s status as a nerd insider, and insiders don’t often bite the hand that feeds them.

In an interview that Wheaton did with Vulture in advance of the series premiere, he said that on The Wil Wheaton Project, they “will highlight the stuff that we love” and “gently mock the things that need to be gently mocked” while “celebrating nerd culture.” But in the premiere episode, the “gentle mocking” felt mostly restricted to elbow nudges and inoffensive prattle about barely adored or remembered shows like Dracula and Star-Crossed, rendering the self-authored comparisons to The Soup ill-fitting, save for the show’s green-screen backdrop.

wil wheaton project hardwick Wil Wheaton Project Series Premiere Review

Worse still, The Wil Wheaton Project really doesn’t shower its audience with insight or a “celebration” of nerd culture this time out, just a bland recitation of the week’s pop-culture news, a few bad puns, and uninspired comedy bits like an ’80s sitcom-influenced theme song for the Walking Dead (How many mashup videos have their been over the last few years of TheWalking Dead and an ’80s sitcom’s theme song?) and a slow-motion video of Cosmos host Neil DeGrasse Tyson months after similar slow-motion videos of Neil DeGrasse Tyson became an internet phenomenon.  

The Wil Wheaton Project comes closest to reaching its potential when Wheaton briefly questions the central wisdom of the Gotham TV show during a segment called “Wil’s Memos” – but sadly, that ember burns out when the writers tack on a Bat-nipple joke and some Batfleck mockery to an altered trailer before later running another slow-motion Neil DeGrasse Tyson video.

Mostly devoid of laugh out loud moments, bite, and depthy commentary on nerd-culture, The Wil Wheaton Project premieres as a disappointment with ample room for improvement over the course of these next 11 episodes. It’s also a poor style match for a host whose talents (as demonstrated on TableTop) might have been better served by a different format.

The Wil Wheaton Project airs Tuesday nights on Syfy @10PM ET

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. Will Wheaton is not a comedian.

  2. Sounds terrible.

    I also find it hilarious that my dad made me watch Star Trek: TNG daily but it wasn’t until a friend of mine pointed out to me that Wheaton was in Trek (after we saw a Family Guy episode that mentioned him) that I even knew who he was (I still barely know now to be honest so having him as a “nerd insider” on a show for nerds kinda falls flat in my view because I’d never heard of him until a few years ago and I think The Big Bang Theory is one of the worst attempts at comedy ever….ie a typical Chuck Lorre creation).

    Internet memes pass me by a lot of the time so I never heard of the Tyson slow motion stuff until reading this review but by the sound of it, if I’d seen it on this show, I’d have probably been embarrassed because it doesn’t sound very funny. I also despair at the mockery of the new Batman actor as if the show’s writers assume every nerd in the world hates the casting choice because hey, guess what? Some of us have loved the inspired choice since it was first announced so again, I would’ve cringed during that segment.

    I dunno, it’s like rock music going mainstream and every TV presenter calling the likes of One Direction “a rock band” and throwing the horns up while talking about them while I, as a fan of actual rock music, cringes and feels embarrassed for the presenter in question. This show sounds like the nerd version of that. Always hate when people and shows try too hard to appeal to a certain section of the population because it never works.

    • Just because you haven’t heard of Wil Wheaton doesn’t make him not a nerd insider, he has a few Youtube shows and podcasts about “nerdy” things like tabletop games that are extremely popular. He has a huge enough following on twitter and tumblr to make this very commercially viable from the perspective of SyFy, especially since he almost single handedly made Sharknado so popular. Who wouldn’t want to cash in on a market force that powerful?
      Whether the show is actually good or not (unlike you I am not going to comment on something I haven’t seen) Wil Wheaton makes perfect sense as a host because he comes with a legion of ready made viewers.

  3. I was disappointed. I was hoping the Wil Wheaton Project was going to be a sit down type talk show with Wil doing interviews with Sci-fi celebs. Wrong it was not that. It was a poor attempt at a cross between The Soup and Tosh 2.0. It is not working. I hate saying that because I am a Wil Wheaton fan. His show TableTop is amazing. This show saddly is not.

    • Despite the jokes being not funny and that the look of the show is really lowbudget, the most annoying thing is the laughing(track). Sad to see Wil Wheaton doing such a bad show.
      Again, the laughing is way too much, too loud and too obnoxious.

      • It’s a live audience…

  4. Frankly I found his premiere episode hilarious and enjoyed the bits. I’m looking forward to more and I think this show in particular fills a gap that is missing. Between The Soup and Tosh.0 I feel like I’ve got a 90 minute block of fun waiting for me at any given moment.

  5. So, Dazz, let me ask you, do you always criticize shows based on a review without actually watching the show?

    Terry, I understand foiled expectations when you expect one thing and get another.

    I agree that there is room for improvement, but I’m interested enough to keep watching.

  6. Is this a personal blog or a serious review site? Because I couldn’t get past the bad grammar.

    For future reference, proof read what you write so that you don’t mistake “their” for “there” again.

    For further, future reference, “depthy” is not a real word. If you are going to attempt to sound sophisticated, get a thesaurus. Here’s an online one you can use: http://thesaurus.com/.

    • I’m going to assume depthy is a typo as the “Y” key is right about the h.

      Also, you seem like you’d be really fun at parties.

      • It’s not on the same line. I don’t buy it being a typo. If it were a “g” at the end. I would chalk it up to a typo. This just further proves the author didn’t read what they wrote.

        Please excuse me if I want to see a certain level of professionalism when someone is trying to write a serious review. If this were meant to just be a personal blog, I would look at it differently. However, this site appears to be attempting to be a legitimate review site. As such, I hold it to a higher standard.

        • Stop being a will wheaton stan. It’s a little sad. If you don’t tell people what they did was wrong. They won’t improve. Yes I suck at grammer. Oh sick burn. Happy Now? :)

        • Relax, Just_another_dork. You’ve lost perspective. If you truly cared about professionalism you would send a professional submission through the contact form with the note. There’s nothing professional about being a self-righteous troll. You’re failing.

        • Plenty of commenters can point out grammar or spelling mistakes without being condescending. Like hey “depthy” is not a word or whatever. You on the other hand took it to typical grammar/spelling troll territory.

          More like just_another_troll. Amiright?!

    • Your second sentence is a fragment. “Proofread” is one word, not two. You have placed a comma incorrectly between the adverb “further” and adjective “futur.”

      • You might want to learn what fragment actually means in terms of grammar. My sentence contains a subject and a predicate. It is also a complete thought. Proofread, while most commonly written as one word, was not used as one word until 1920. It’s not wrong to use the separated form. It’s just not common.

        Furthermore, the second line is fine with or without commas. Commas aren’t just used to separate items in a sentence. Commas are also used to add pauses in the sentence, to connect two incomplete sentences, and so much more. This isn’t anything complicated. It’s mostly basic grammar, which most of you should have learned in second grade.

        • U know no matter you correct grammer on here. Will Wheaton isn’t going to go to the mall with you. It’s a fact of life. :)

        • I am sorry, but you are incorrect. Your sentence is a fragment. The placement of “because” at the beginning of the sentence makes the entire thing a conditional modifier. It’s a common mistake.

          You are also incorrect about comma placement. Commas separate modalities in a sentence. They do not simply “add pauses.” You may not add one in the middle of a contiguous modifying clause unless you are separating parallel elements, such as two adjectives modifying the same noun.

          Most importantly, of course, the other poster is correct: your attempt to deflect the (largely accurate) criticism of Mr. Wheaton’s show by focusing on grammatical quirks in the review will not net you a meet & greet at his next convention appearance.

          • I would have taken the review more seriously if it had been better written than your average forum post at 3am. I didn’t even bother reading the rest of the article. Once I got to that first major error, I couldn’t read further.

            I guess the article was just meant to be an excuse for you guys here to stroke your e-peens. The article writer certainly doesn’t care about being a legitimate reviewer. Keep rubbing one out to a poorly written article. You are so much better than every other legitimate review site that can take the time to ensure their articles aren’t written by someone who failed freshman high school English.

            • And you might have been taken more seriously if you had any legitimate criticism of the review. As you do not, you’ve been dismissed as a crank, and made Mr. Wheaton’s fans look like trolling whiners.

            • Your a$$, it just got handed to you.

    • Meant to type depthy. Meant it to convey “something with depth” and it felt right, so I used it. It’s a thing that people say, though strictly speaking, NOT a word.

      The “their”/”there” thing was an honest flub. Those things happen… everywhere and it’s not a mistake that I am prone to.

      Thanks for reading.

  7. I was not very impressed. Felt like SyFy’s attempt to do TOSH.0 but without what makes that show funny and edgy.

  8. I’d give it a mixed review. I wanted to like it but some of the jokes/humor just seemed dumb, batfleck and the Tyson bits for example. The Walking Dead segment was a waste of time. He could combine fun with serious conversations about what works and doesn’t work in specific SyFy programs. Why was Dracula a dud? Why are people excited about The Strain? I liked him in TNG and enjoy him on the Big Bang Theory but something was off about the premier episode. It was too silly. I’d rather see something like Chris Harwick’s Talking Dead which is a little silly but is also an interesting discussion of the plot and the reactions of fans and actors to plot twists. Wil has to decide is this show for 20 year old boys going on 12 or is it for adults with a brain and a sense of humor.

  9. I must be in the minority, I’ve never been a big fan of his. He was always a little too whiny on TNG and in his post TNG projects seemed to try too hard to course correct from that with his stints in The Guild and BBT acting a bit too pretentious. I haven’t seen (or heard of) TableTop, so I don’t know about that. I gave this a shot last night and have to agree with others, it’s a desperate grab at trying to be Tosh or McHale. I think Chris is right in that if it was a sit down discussion about “nerd” topics for the week with a celeb interview, this could be more interesting.

  10. I wasn’t paying much attention to this show I was kinda occupied with other stuff, but I found it kinda funny and that Gotham bit had me cracking up.

  11. I’ve never been much of a fan of Wheaton. I don’t find him particularly funny, and after seeing him at a recent ComiCon panel (in Seattle) where he spent the entire hour reading from his book (instead of interacting with people who came to see him) my opinion of him was significantly impacted for the worse.

    I doubt I’m missing much, it is SyFy after all.

  12. I think the thing that makes all of these pro show comments so funny. Is finding out there are Will Wheaton stans. On a lighter note. I just hope he doesn’t take anymore material from a lesser known internet creators, and pawn them off as their own jokes. That is just messed up.

  13. Way too superficial and try-hard at comedy, exacerbated by the obnoxious laugh track (if it wasn’t canned, it sure sounded like it).

    My advice would be to slow it down with more considered pieces (fewer pseudo-segments) and let the fun/humor unfold more organically (ie, make it appear less obviously scripted). Maybe get a couch!

  14. Wheaton is at his best when he is unscripted. It’s what makes him a better writer than he is an actor. His sincere love for obscure geeky things is endearing…his ranting or snarky persona is not. The show would be vastly improved if it simply let him riff on his geek interests, rather than trying to have him do ‘bits.’

  15. I found this difficult to watch. I know a lot of people find Wheaton charming, but I don’t see it. And his comedic timing was just terrible. If the jokes were delivered by a real comedian I might find them at least somewhat amusing.

    With that being said, I will watch it again at least a couple more times. Maybe he will find his footing as a host.

  16. I am a big Wheaton fan, from the early success, to trying to make it past the Wesley Crushers of the world and on to his success at non-mainstream areas. While the pilot was certainly not smashing, he at least has already commented on things he’s read and knows he can improve on elements. And with Felicia guesting on next episode, can’t go wrong there.
    Keep at it WW.

  17. I am looking forward to him bringing the same gravitas to this that he brought to Flubber and Python.

  18. I’ll have the staying power of Arsenio Hall Show. This project’s got longevity on it.

  19. Just saw the show and enjoyed it for what it was, fun. I also like Wheaton as the host

  20. Will,

    Really enjoyed your 1st show. You are funny. Who knew?

    I am 63 years old and remember when you played Little Ricky,
    The Beaver, the voice of Mr. Ed, Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years, and Mr. Haney on Green Acres.

    Can I send you a picture of me wearing a dress?

  21. I saw the first episode and was disappointed. After watching the second episode, I have decided that it falls in the category of “life is too short to waste my time doing that again.”

    I don’t know why I thought it might get better.

    Better use of your time: if you have Comcast OnDemand, watch the short Defiance mini-series.

  22. F*ck F*ck F*ck… No more!!! Will, you’re better than this. Kill the laugh track. WTF? who is writing this? This could be really good! but no… lowest common denominator? your audience is much much much smarter then this.

  23. Dumbest show I’ve ever seen on SyFY. Will Wheaton needs to go out and get a regular job. His days of show business are over.

  24. Jeeze there’s a lot of negative in-fighting going on between the commenters here. Take it out to the street and beat each other senseless there ok? You’re just wasting everybody’s time and intelligence with your childish bantering.

    Generally, if I don’t really like a show I won’t comment on it. But my original post 4 weeks ago (the 4th one above this one still stands IMHO.) The show has grown on me and I look forward to it.

    And to commenter Dazz: if you think you can do a better job submit a 30 minute pilot to the network doing what Will does every week on his show. I can truly and easily believe that you don’t like The Big Bang Theory (TV’S #1 HIGHEST RATED AWARD WINNING COMEDY) and Will’s show because your sense of humor is obviously DOA, surfing the marble surfboard, calling long distance from the wooden phone booth, doing the wave from the sod stadium, checking in to the roach motel, flying the marble kite, taking a spin in the brass handled sedan, doing the hokey croakey, eating moss muffins.