Time to continue this list with the next and last six items on the list. I need to repeat that they’re not in any particular order, as these are people who shaped up my reviewing style over the years, and to whom I’m especially grateful for their content. Or for merely being people I know and whom I interact with, in real life or on social media (usually the latter, obviously). Let’s get into it!
7. The Mysterious Mr. Enter
Oh boy, here I go again with the controversial choices! The Mysterious Mr. Enter is an animation reviewer on YouTube, who has since turned this into his job thanks to Patreon. He has reviewed a lot of episodes from shows, many of them from SpongeBob, Family Guy or Teen Titans Go over the past five years, but don't go say those are his only targets. Anything will be fair game as long as it’s bad enough, even movies. Oh, he’s not only a negative critic; he has split his work in two shows, Animated Atrocities (for terrible media) and Admirable Animations (to praise animated TV show episodes, shorts, or movies that he feels deserve it), with attempts at branching out to other media. I say he’s a controversial figure because his style of review and his opinions haven’t always been well-received. Also, he’s been on the receiving end of a lot of trolling and mockery, some of which came from other members of the “animation review community” of YouTube (though many have apologized after realizing that these mockeries went too far and trolls from their own fan bases were harassing Enter). There are people out there who see him only as an average critic, which is a perfectly valid opinion, and I’ll leave out the criticisms levied at him… Except for one.
See, one thing said about him is that he takes cartoons too seriously. Yeah, just relax, it’s not like cartoons are an important part of children’s media or anything, right? He outlines that point, and the problem with that line of thought, at the start of his review of the Arthur episode “April 9th”.
His reasoning is sound: Cartoons are a major element in a kid’s life and growth, which means that parents shouldn’t just let them watch any crap that’s on TV (or on YouTube) that will appeal to the lowest common denominator. And just like how parents have a duty to look over their children’s entertainment, animation producers should feel that they have a duty to present stories and morals that will help the child’s growth, not merely do gross-out jokes because it’s popular, or present morals that are detrimental to the children watching. Even if it doesn’t seem so, these cartoons will have a great impact on these kids, greater than anyone can imagine. Sometimes, it may cross past mere children's entertainment, and become true art.
When you think about it, the same goes for video games; if something is problematic, it’s best to point it out.
What’s the lesson here? Whatever you are reviewing, take it seriously. Never treat your analysis and review like it’s a joke. Praise the good, condemn the bad. Always remember that there are actual people on the production end of things. Which also means that whichever bad decisions have made it into a terrible piece of media, entire teams are responsible for them. They don’t deserve harassment over this, but their mistakes can and should be pointed out in the hopes that they’re not repeated.
8. Todd in the Shadows
Adding to the list of Channel Awesome producers who’ve had an influence on me, there’s Todd in the Shadows, the pop music reviewer with a unique gimmick. He stays anonymous by wearing a mask and staying in the dark, and he does his reviews sitting at his keyboard. He’s very thorough in his research, and offers an in-depth look at the artists he covers. He has added sub-series to his show, such as One Hit Wonderland (in which he analyzes a one-hit wonder band and their greatest hit, and looks back on their short fame and why it didn’t last) or Trainwreckords (in which he analyzes the music albums that basically ended an artist or band’s career).
Among the CA crew, he’s one of the reviewers that people still watch to this day. He has managed to keep his content fresh and interesting. Unlike a lot of reviewers that went more for comedy then deeper discussion in their early days as online video reviewers, he always had a more analytical side to his videos. Unlike most content producers on here, whom I’ve learned lessons from, I am not entirely certain what I learned from watching Todd regularly. Is it possible that his analytical side rubbed off on me? Perhaps, but then again, the fad on YouTube has moved slowly from comedic content to in-depth analyses (à la Lindsay Ellis) or documentaries (think of series like Down the Rabbit Hole or Defunctland). He still remains, in my opinion, one of the better examples of the analytical YouTube series that still manages to keep some room for comedy here and there, which is the best way I could describe my blog nowadays. So, in a way, I guess he did have an influence on me.
He’s great. You should totally watch his series. They’re super-interesting.
9. Kyle Kallgren
I’m not the most knowledgeable on film theory. I followed few film classes during my two years of college and three years of university. I know a lot of terms. I can tell you what a Dutch angle is, I can talk about metanarratives and other concepts related to stories and filmmaking, but I don't know nearly as much as this guy. Kyle Kallgren, who became known through his series Brows Held High on YouTube, was a very interesting member of Channel Awesome, and though he left that site in 2015, he has kept on producing content of the same caliber. Content that I love.
Kyle reviews artistic films that would hardly be known to the common American moviegoer. Oh, that doesn’t mean that he’s too high-brow for them, on the contrary – I found many of his videos to be great takes in making those artistic films more approachable. In offering his own opinion of these films, he presents his point using many terms of film study, vulgarizing for the viewers, explaining their meaning. Some of the films reviewed are bizarre, unexpected, or look straight-up boring on the surface (think Gerry or Blue). Yet, his opinion and analysis added to the review make for an entertaining and educative series. He may have taught me more than my film classes ever did.
His content may not please everyone, but it’s definitely great if you have interest in film discussion beyond the simple review. And I can definitely say that his videos have encouraged me to not only expand on analysis of the works I review, but also to improve constantly and offer new perspectives on those works. And I shouldn’t be afraid of going in-depth; if it’s entertaining enough, the readers will enjoy it.
While I’m at it, shout-out to all the ex-Channel Awesome producers that I still watch to this day, but haven’t mentioned on this list due to it being already pretty long:
Lindsay Ellis, Luke Spencer, Suede, Guru Larry, Leon Thomas, Benjamin Daniel, Angry Joe, The Rap Critic, ERod…
With a list that long, it’s a miracle that I find any time to actually write all of this.
10. Nick Nocturne
Wait... I can find something... see, he never appeared on camera... He only does voiceovers... wait, let me find an artist's rendition.
Ah, there you go. I started watching Nick’s video series Night Mind sometime in 2017, so he’s still fairly recent as one of my inspirations, and that's also why he's lower on the list. Nick specializes in discussing horror, whether it’s movies or YouTube webseries, and in ARGs. That term stands for Augmented Reality Game, and usually involves a creator building an intrigue through social media (frequently YouTube, but on other social networks as well), with puzzles to solve and plot threads for the viewers to figure out. He goes in-depth and discusses these ARGs, even pointing out what’s been done right and what hasn’t. He will be quick to point out the type of puzzle that comes back frequently, such as secret codes or hidden messages in a webpage’s source code. And, like any good reviewer, he will give praise where due, especially if a webseries does something unique.
I joined the Night Mind Patreon Discord last year, where Nick interacts once in a while (on top of hosting a weekly event), so I’ve had a chance to discuss with the guy. Over the last year, he has been questioning his own content, wondering if he was doing things correctly (because of drama I won’t talk about here), and he’s been eager to try out new things. In fact, it’s one of his recent videos, in which he discusses his influences and favorite YouTube channels, and recommends them to his viewers, that made me decide to write this list.
I learned a few things on the art of producing online content, thanks to Nick. On a more personal side of things: Don’t be afraid of admitting your mistakes. Don’t ignore them; acknowledge them, apologize for them. Fans love and respect a creator that admits their mistakes. The next lesson, he stated multiple times, but discussed it during panels on the first convention he was invited to as a guest: On the Internet, find your niche. Offer content that nobody else is offering. You’re guaranteed to find an audience. The last lesson is discussed in a few of his videos. The quote is actually longer and is about creating fan works based on existing material, but the overall message can apply to all creation. Open quote: “Be as original, unique, creative, intelligent, and entertaining as possible. Do something that means something, that has a message, that qualifies as art […]”. Solid advice for anyone who decides to create, whether it's something online or any other sort of media.
11. Testeur Alpha
Just because the “age of angry critics” on YouTube is over doesn’t mean it can't be fun to watch once in a while. And as I said, Doug Walker inspired a lot of people to start making their own web show. The Quebec YouTube gaming scene isn’t as huge as the American one, but it’s still pretty interesting, from convention reporters to collectors giving advice on repairing old games. The one that stuck out the most with me is Testeur Alpha (Tester Alpha), who goes by the online nickname Alpha, who makes videos featuring his accomplice Beta. (They got a theme going on.)
As far as angry reviewer go, I personally feel that his video series has a lot of creativity behind it. There’s the occasional storyline (involving some opponent called Omega and his lackey Psi – like I said, there’s a theme). There are running gag characters such as Fisher, the nasty dev who has apparently made every horrible game in existence, or Konrad the eternally-annoyed delivery man. I could do without some of the other jokes, but otherwise it’s solid content. (Though fair warning, it's probably the most low-brow series on this list.)
Eventually, Alpha and Beta started streaming on YouTube and Twitch, and gained enough subscribers to become Twitch partners. They share the account and try to stream at least three out of seven days each week, with sometimes extra streams depending on the mood. They might be the first streamers that I’m really following. It’s great to see the difference between the characters on the show, and the guys in everyday conversations (even if they still claim to be their characters on-stream). On top of that, Alpha doesn’t have that big of a fan base yet, so he can hop onto the Discord and chat around whenever he feels like it. There are advantages to having a smaller fan base, it seems. Odd lesson to take from that, but hey, it’s cool.
Oh, and he likes metal music, so that's another good thing there.
Oh, and he likes metal music, so that's another good thing there.
12. My own family
Of course. I wouldn’t be who I am now without them. I’ve known them for more than twenty-six years, and I can say they’ve raised me well. My sense of morality, part of my comedy style, most of my personality, a lot of that has been shaped up by my life with them. My parents, whom I love dearly, and who have always looked out for me. It’s not cheap to add them to this list as I can safely say they have always been my greatest influence.
On each of my projects, they backed me. They shared my pride, my joy, whenever a project went well. They may have helped me through my frustrations when something didn’t go right. They gave me everything I needed, and often gave me what I wanted, whenever they could (and whenever it was beneficial for me). At times I may have been spoiled, but I can't say they spoiled me rotten. They were smart enough to prevent that.
They were supportive of me throughout these 5+ years, even enquiring on the state of the blog, and now that I have discussed the possibility of writing a book, they’re supporting me even further. They ask how the night went when I come back from work in the morning. Even as I write these lines about how lucky I am, I don’t think I still quite realize how lucky I am to have such a fantastic family.
Mom, dad, I don’t think I tell you this enough, but thank you. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me.
And to all my readers: May you have a happy 2019. May you receive good news, may you accomplish great things, and may your projects come to fruition. See you tomorrow, next year.
Don't forget to join the Planned All Along Discord server!
Don't forget to join the Planned All Along Discord server!