Demo Reel

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The show that Doug Walker and Channel Awesome want you to forget...

Demo Reel was a internet video series that ran from October 2012 to January 2013. It was created by Doug Walker, better known as the Nostalgia Critic, and starred Doug and Rob Walker, Malcolm Ray, and Rachel Tietz.

The series revolved around a fictional film production company called "Demo Reel", which created low-budget knock-offs of popular movies. It was intended as a replacement for the Nostalgia Critic, but was ended and replaced by a revival of that series due to poor reception and viewing figures.

Why it Sucks

  1. Poor premise. A bunch of hack filmmakers creating poor copies of popular movies isn't funny by itself. This is even weirder considering that Doug Walker had previously said (in-character as the Nostalgia Critic) that purposely trying to create bad movies doesn't work, as the whole reason why they're funny is that they happen unintentionally.
  2. Most of the episodes don't actually parody the films they're recreating, instead just being straightforward, low-budget copies of the originals. It's not until the last few episodes that they actually start parodying and satirising the films rather than just recreating them.
  3. The acting isn't great. Malcolm Ray is quite funny at times, but Rachel Tietz is pretty bland and unmemorable for the most part, and Doug Walker continues to do a lot of the annoying, over-the-top yelling and screeching that he was often criticized for as the Nostalgia Critic, with Rob Walker doing the same to a lesser extent.
  4. The sections focusing on the personal lives of the Demo Reel crew are just boring, and cause the episodes to really drag. They don't really tell the viewer anything they wouldn't have been able to work out from watching the scenes of the Demo Reel team making their movies, making them largely pointless.
  5. Donnie DuPre never comes across as an appealing lead character. In the first couple of episodes he's really pretentious and annoying, then by about the fourth episode he suddenly becomes the complete opposite, and a whiny, pathetic loser. The only time he seems real or believable is in the last episode, when it turns out he was the Nostalgia Critic all along.
  6. Despite the promise that this series was something new and much better than the Nostalgia Critic, it re-uses several memes and running jokes from that series. In particular, Casper the Friendly Ghost, who occasionally popped up to annoy the Critic in his videos, makes an appearance within the first minute of the series, which is quickly followed by a jab at Randy Newman that had been made several times by the Nostalgia Critic (which in turn was ripped off from Family Guy).
  7. Awful, amateurish production values.
  8. Rips off RedLetterMedia's videos, except that it's nowhere near as funny or well-made as their output.
  9. Contains all the worst aspects of the Channel Awesome crossover movies, including failed attempts at drama, scenes that try to be funny but only succeed in being weird and disturbing, and bits of dialogue and scenes copied directly from other films (even outside parts where the Demo Reel team is recreating said film), only magnified and without the familiar reviewers.
  10. The episodes are far too long, coming in at around 35 to 45 minutes long, which is too much to sit through in one go. For reference, most of the other producers who worked for Channel Awesome kept their videos to around the 20 minute mark, splitting anything longer into multiple parts.
  11. The promotion for the series was completely mishandled, with the Walkers hyping it up to ridiculous levels while never actually making clear what the series was about, ensuring that it would be badly received.
  12. Was responsible for the increased emphasis on sketches and later the introduction of clipless reviews, both of which are extremely divisive, to the Nostalgia Critic revival, as Channel Awesome needed to justify their new studio and keeping Malcolm and Rachel on contract.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The series does get a little better as it goes on, making the episodes shorter than the punishing 45-minute length of the first episode, adding a bit more in the way of parody and shortening the "behind-the-scenes" sections, even if it was too little, too late.
  2. They at least bothered to give the series a proper finale that set up the return of the Nostalgia Critic, instead of just dropping it and trying to pretend it never happened.
  3. Indirectly helped to introduce Tamara Chambers, who was a friend of Rachel Tietz and way better-suited to comedy videos, to the Nostalgia Critic revival.

Reception

The series was met with a negative response from former Nostalgia Critic reviewers, and caused a major drop-off in advertising revenue for Channel Awesome (then called That Guy With the Glasses). It eventually forced the discontinuation of this series after only a few months.

In the years since, Doug Walker has admitted that the series turned out poorly, acknowledging this as the Nostalgia Critic in his review of Christmas with the Kranks. Several other former Channel Awesome reviewers have had nothing but scorn towards the series since leaving the site, not only saying it was extremely poor in its own right, but that the loss in traffic to the site hurt the advertising revenue for their own shows.