TV Review: Con Man
Updated: May 27, 2019
Con Man is an comedy web series created, written, directed by, and starring Alan Tudyk. Tudyk starred in the 2002 sci-fi TV show Firefly and he based Con Man loosely upon his own experiences. Co-produced by PJ Haarsma and Nathan Fillion, who also co-starred in it. The series was crowdfunded through Indiegogo and set records for crowdfunding a web series by raising more than $1 million in 24 hours and more than $3.1 million overall (which I believe was since beaten by the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Kickstarter). The series premiered on September 30, 2015, on Vimeo and released all 13 episodes over the course of 3 weeks.
Tudyk had been working on Con Man for the last 2 ½ years and had pitched it to a production company. One was interested in producing the series but as the contracts were being written up they backed out at the last minute. Tudyk continued to meet with other producers for a year after that. When he was asked to find an audience outside of ‘weird convention nerds’ he refused, believing that it compromised the idea and concept of the Con Man series.
The cast is a myriad of stars that managed to come together to help out Tudyk pull this together. Sean Astin, Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton, Casper Van Dien, and Tricia Helfer to name just a few. Some are in for literally a couple of seconds such as Wil Wheaton playing a douchebag Federal Air Marshall, while others have recurring roles such as Casper Van Dien as the bartender at every location in the series. They had announced a lot of the guest stars and cast during the crowdfunding in order to draw more donations. They even thought they would have to pull in ‘favors’ to get the casting filled but it drew so much attention they ran out of parts for the people that showed interest in the project.
The story revolves around Wray Nerely (Tudyk) a struggling actor who starred as a spaceship pilot on Spectrum, a canceled sci-fi series that went on to become a cult classic. (Because we all know that is a real stretch right?) Wray's good friend Jack Moore (Fillion), who starred as the ship's captain (Again another real stretch!), has become an A-list movie star. Wray is frustrated by Jack's success and his lack thereof and travels the science fiction convention circuit, making appearances at comic book stores, and pop culture events. Of course there are a bunch of incidents that happen during a lot of these appearances and hilarity ensues. Tudyk stated it isn’t autobiographical but it is based on a number of his experiences with convention goers. I think one of my favorite scenes/episodes is #8 when Tudyk is doing voice-over work with Nolan North and Milo Ventimiglia. Just wait until you hear Rigamarole.
The series consisted of a total of 13 episodes varying usually between 10 and 15 minutes. It is available on iTunes for $15 for the full series and frankly I really enjoyed it. I sat down and blew through the entire series in a sitting. I never even thought of invoking my three episode rule in the slightest. Each individual episode was almost perfectly timed to cover the block of events and move on to the next before it dragged on too much. If you are a sci-fi fan and you have watched Firefly then I highly recommend it. If you are a sci-fi fan or even a convention goer/attendee then grab it you will find some laughs. If you are a fan of Tudyk or Fillion for anything else they have done then I would grab it also. You know what everyone should just grab it and watch it. I am sure everyone will get some laughs out of it unless you’re an ol’ stick in the mud and well then suck it up buttercup laugh anyways.
4.5 out of 5 Beards