Off the Air (TV series)

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Off the Air
Off the Air logotype (2014).png
Logotype from the official website
Genre
Format Anthology series
Created by Dave Hughes
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Cody DeMatteis
  • Alan Steadman
  • Melissa Warrenburg
Running time 10–11 minutes
Production company(s)
Broadcast
Original channel Adult Swim
Picture format
Original run January 1, 2011 (2011-01-01) – present
External links
Website

Off the Air is an American anthology television series created by Dave Hughes for Adult Swim. The series, which premiered New Year's Day 2011 at 4 a.m., is presented without explanation or narration as a showcase of surreal animations, short films, music videos, viral internet videos, film and TV clips, archival footage and morphing psychedelic imagery, arranged around a single loose theme (expressed in the episode title) and blended without pause into a single continuous presentation.

Hughes, a former employee of MTV Animation, first pitched Off the Air to Mike Lazzo sometime after late 2009. Clips are sought for "truth or integrity", Hughes explained; he observed a large portion of producing episodes to stem from putting visuals to music well, incorporating transitions to help keep it flowing. As a result of its 4 a.m. graveyard slot and small selection of episodes, the series remains relatively unknown, but has been dubbed a cult phenomenon by critics and the network.

Synopsis[edit]

The series is presented without explanation or narration as a showcase of surreal animations, short films, music videos, viral internet videos, film and TV clips, archival footage and morphing psychedelic imagery, arranged around a single loose theme (expressed in the episode title) and blended without pause into a single continuous presentation.

Production[edit]

Series creator Dave Hughes first started working for the network in 2003 after an eight-year stint with MTV Animation, where he had edited series such as Beavis and Butt-head and Celebrity Deathmatch.[1] Hughes, who saw the network "slipping away from its more experimental roots" as it got popular,[2] had the series in mind before, but never realized "it would be me who did it."[3] 120 Minutes, Concrete TV, Liquid Television,[3][2] and Night Flight were among some of the experimental programming to expose him "to a whole new world of ideas, music and people that I just didn't see anywhere else on television."[3]

Hughes first pitched Off the Air to Mike Lazzo sometime after late 2009, after producing a video mixtape that would that would be projected behind musical performers for the network's 2010 Adult Swim Carnival Tour. He compiled footage for the mixtape using the Prelinger Archives, as well as various online sources, and applied visual effects to them "until you didn't quite know what you were looking at."[2] He originally imagined the series to exist as a "bizarre collection" of Internet and archival footage intertwined with clips from Adult Swim shows, "set to good music."[3] He ultimately had to omit the latter material, however, as the network would still have to acquire licenses for their own series in derivative works.[4] He found that once they were gone, "the show really opened up."[5]

In putting an episode together, Hughes seeks clips "with some kind of truth or integrity to them", opting for both viral videos in addition to ones with fewer view counts.[5] Tracking down licensees for clips proves to be the most difficult aspect of the process, he stated, with co-producers Cody DeMatteis and Alan Steadman assisting him in pursuit of material hard to obtain.[6] Colin Foord of the Miami-based art collective Coral Morphologic, whose short film Oyster Vision is featured in the second episode, was not sure how producers sought after his film; he posited that they found it through their Vimeo account or their exposure at the Borscht Film Festival.[7] When asked if getting consent for other's work posed a challenge, Hughes noted it to be helpful working under the "Adult Swim banner", with a few artists responding with reluctance, however. He stated that each piece of the episode is treated with protection, not "trying to exploit anyone or make fun of anything or anybody."[5]

Each episode is edited using Final Cut Pro, along with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects for further manipulation.[2] Hughes observed a large portion of producing episodes to stem from "finding the right music to go with the visuals, or vice versa",[8] and found transitions to "really help keep it moving."[9] Hughes digressed from Liquid Television's use of longer segments in order to make the series a "larger event rather than a series of smaller events", and found visual effects and transitions to be "a huge part" of his theory in making an episode.[2] A compilation of videos that were considered to be featured on episodes of the first season had been published on the network's official blog.[4][10][11][12][13] These videos, extending into its second season as well as hosting various supplemental material, have since been published onto Network Awesome.[14]

Episodes[edit]

Off the Air series overview
Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 5 January 1, 2011 (2011-01-01) June 1, 2012 (2012-06-01)
2 5 August 28, 2012 (2012-08-28) October 1, 2013
3 7 December 31, 2013 TBA

Broadcast and reception[edit]

The series premiered with the episode "Animals" in the United States on Adult Swim's DVR Theater block, unannounced, at 4 a.m. on New Year's Day 2011; it was broadcast twice in a row, back-to-back.[15] The episode was published onto Adult Swim's official website, not to be mentioned again on the network until its second episode, "Food", aired in May 2011.[16] It has since continued airing as part of the DVR Theater block, with an exception on November 5, 2011, when a marathon of four episodes aired during the daylight savings transition (2 a.m.–2 a.m.), coinciding with the premiere of its fourth episode, "Space".[17] Episodes have been made legally available for free on the network's official site.[18]

It's basically just an 11-minute music video. ... There's no plot, there's no narrator, there's nothing to guide you through it – you're just dumped into a different clip. For me, that's amazing. I love the idea that people may be coming home from a night out and may not be 100 percent mentally there, and they're looking at it like, "What... is happening?"

– Jason DeMarco, a creative director at Adult Swim[19]

The series has received positive critical reception. Austin McManus of Juxtapoz magazine praised the show for not being "your typical try-too-hard-to-be-weird production."[20] PQ Ribber of The Overnightscape Underground dubbed the series a "modern version" of Liquid Television, and called it "really kinda spiffy, and trippy, and cool."[21] Writing for the Miami New Times, Amanda McCorquodale observed the show as the "already bizarre network's foray into out-there visual experimentation",[7] and Matthew Trammell of The Fader regarded the series as "when things get really interesting."[19]

As a result of the series' graveyard slot and small selection of episodes, it remains relatively unknown. McManus, however, noted word of mouth to be "gradually spreading" about it;[20] he and the network also described the show as a cult phenomenon.[22][23] Several episodes – including reruns – have surpassed 1 million views, according to Nielsen Media Research.[24][25][26][27] As of April 2012, its lowest rated premiere was "Falling", seen by 807,000 viewers.[28] Hughes added that he follows the series' ratings "when I think about it", but does not receive further analytics.[29] He found it to trend on Twitter during the weeks of its airing, and enjoys viewing user's statuses regarding it. He stated that he enjoys reactions from people who wake up to the show after falling asleep to the network, and judged from the online response, its audience would be "pretty young, late teens, early 20s, and seem[s] strangely positive and engaged."[29] Similarly, the series has broadcast praise of the show written by viewers in the form of bumpers, often hinting at further episodes being produced.[30][31][32]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ McManus 2014, p. 84.
  2. ^ a b c d e Me, Rev. Syung Myung; Aulwurm, Jeremiah (September 27, 2012). "Interview: Dave Hughes, Creator of Off The Air". Kittysneezes. Seattle. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d McManus 2014, p. 85.
  4. ^ a b Staff writer (February 16, 2012). "Off the Air – 11 Things We Left Online: 'Animals'". Adult Swim. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved September 29, 2013. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c McManus 2014, p. 86.
  6. ^ McManus 2014, pp. 86–87.
  7. ^ a b McCorquodale, Amanda (June 11, 2011). "Adult Swim Begs Miami's Coral Morphologic for Its Oyster Video Art". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  8. ^ Hughes, Dave (January 5, 2014). "Off the Air – 'Color'". Million Monkeys Inc. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  9. ^ Hughes, Dave (January 5, 2014). "Off the Air – 'Falling'". Million Monkeys Inc. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ Staff writer (April 3, 2012). "Off the Air – 11 Things We Left Online: 'Food'". Adult Swim. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved April 16, 2014. [dead link]
  11. ^ Staff writer (May 1, 2012). "Off the Air – 11 Things We Left Online: 'Dance'". Adult Swim. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved April 16, 2014. [dead link]
  12. ^ Staff writer (June 1, 2012). "Off the Air – 11 Things We Left Online: 'Space'". Adult Swim. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved April 16, 2014. [dead link]
  13. ^ Staff writer (August 29, 2012). "Off the Air – 11 Things We Left Online: 'Body'". Adult Swim. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved April 16, 2014. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Off the Air (Adult Swim)". Berlin, New York: Network Awesome. May 12, 2013. Archived from the original on July 20, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ Hughes, Dave (creator) (January 1, 2011). "Animals". Off the Air. Season 1. Adult Swim. http://video.adultswim.com/off-the-air/animals.html.
  16. ^ Hughes, Dave (creator) (May 25, 2011). "Food". Off the Air. Season 1. Adult Swim. http://video.adultswim.com/off-the-air/food.html.
  17. ^ Off the Air Marathon Nov. 5th (Promo). Atlanta: Adult Swim. 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Off the Air". Adult Swim. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Trammell, Matthew (April 15, 2014). "Adult Swim: Discretion Isn’t Advised". The Fader. New York City. Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b McManus 2014, p. 82.
  21. ^ Ribber, PQ (May 14, 2014). "Quaquaversal Satellite – Putty". The Overnightscape Underground (Podcast). Event occurs at 47:30. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  22. ^ McManus 2014, p. 89.
  23. ^ "Adult Swim Summer Singles Program Returns with a Free 15-Track Digital Compilation of Never-Before-Released Songs". The Futon Critic (Press release). Atlanta: Futon Media. June 10, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ Pucci, Douglas (June 18, 2012). "Adult Swim ratings (June 4–10, 2012)". Son of the Bronx. New York City: Blogger. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  25. ^ Berman, Marc (November 9, 2012). "Adult Swim Weekly Ratings Scorecard (October 29 – November 4, 2012)". TV Media Insights. New York City: Cross MediaWorks. Archived from the original on June 3, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  26. ^ Berman, Marc (December 28, 2012). "Adult Swim Weekly Ratings Scorecard (December 17–23, 2012)". TV Media Insights. New York City: Cross MediaWorks. Archived from the original on December 5, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  27. ^ Pucci, Douglas (January 7, 2014). "Adult Swim Ratings Scorecard – Week of Dec. 30, 2013". TV Media Insights. New York City: Cross MediaWorks. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  28. ^ Pucci, Douglas (September 6, 2012). "Adult Swim ratings (August 27 – September 2, 2012)". Son of the Bronx. New York City: Blogger. Archived from the original on December 10, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b McManus 2014, p. 88.
  30. ^ Staff writer (May 29, 2011). "Dear Adult Swim". Adult Swim (Bumper) (Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System). 
  31. ^ Staff writer (September 18, 2011). "A response on YouTube to our show Off the Air". Adult Swim (Bumper) (Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System). 
  32. ^ Staff writer (November 20, 2011). "Dear Adult Swim". Adult Swim (Bumper) (Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System). 
Bibliography

External links[edit]