Time flies, for better or worse. This time it’s for better. We got to watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt grow up.
I don’t remember the Cocoa Puffs, Pop Tart or shoe commercials when he was barely post-tot, but I did watch “Dark Shadows” and I do remember a small Collins child running around Collinwood. Not till I did a little research did I realize who that little kid was.
The next memorable sighting was “3rd Rock From the Sun,” almost 20 years ago. “3rd Rock” did pretty well. It ran five seasons, so doing the math those would have been years 15-20 for young Joseph. He made an impression, acting with the likes of John Lithgow, High Commander of an extra terrestrial expedition stranded just outside Cleveland. Lithgow’s boss, Big Giant Head, as played by William Shatner was wonderful. Gordon-Levitt held his own with the rest of a memorable cast, no small feat for such a young man.
Fast-forward to movies and Joseph Gordon-Levitt continued to impress. The opposite of type cast, Levitt adapted from comedy to drama to romance to action without effort. He was poignant and charming and occasionally hilarious in “500 Days of Summer.” He was creepy and villainous in “G.I.Joe.” Gordon-Levitt was a lifesaver in the sea of gorgeous chaos that was the movie, “Inception.” I remember thinking that his gravitas was the glue that held that movie together … barely.
Recently he played John Blake, a somewhat tortured and earnest detective in Christopher Nolan’s masterful, “The Dark Knight Rises,” and it’s no spoiler that in the end Gordon-Levitt morphed into an embryonic Robin, The Boy Wonder in the final scene of the movie. I’m pretty sure there was a collective, silent, “Oh Goody” when that twist was revealed.
We can only imagine the tights.
The new gig
But what was hard to imagine was where this guy was going next? At age 32 he’d done an awful lot of acting in an awful lot of ways and not one single gig and no matter the venue, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was never, ever anything close to awful. Quite the opposite: he’s the consistent cohesion, the memorable mortar and foundation that props up just about every effort.
But then came news. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to stick his toe in the TV pool with “Hitrecord on TV.”
I can’t wait.
According to a news release, “Hitrecord on TV,” Gorden-Levitt’s re-imagination of the variety show, was chosen by the prestigious Sundance Film Festival to be included as an official selection of the New Frontier program.
“Joe and his team have pioneered a show like nothing else on TV with a collaborative production that embraces and celebrates the works of thousands of artists from every corner of the globe,” said Belisa Balaban, SVP, Alternative Programming, Pivot. “‘Hitrecord on TV’ is further proof of Joe’s incredible talent both in front of and behind the camera and we can’t wait to unveil it to Pivot’s audience and Sundance Film Festival attendees.”
“Hitrecord on TV” was created and directed by Gordon-Levitt and produced by Jared Geller and Brian Graden. It has already been "greenlighted" for a second season on Pivot TV.
If the previews stand up and the format delivers, something long overdue will happen. The “reality” based formula driven television model that’s survived far too long by the antics of faux celebs may at long last, bite it. Here, we have the real thing, a true agent of talent who, irony of ironies, is basing part of the premise of “Hitrecord on TV” on, of all things, reality!
The show involves artists from the global online community and will feature short films, music, performances, animation and interviews. Basically, any and everyone with an Internet connection are encouraged to join and contribute.
This may be the first television series based on the model of social media. Much like “America’s funniest” this or that drew from Youtube inspiration, “Hitrecord on TV” may be a long anticipated fruition of a model based on the WWW.
Facebook and other Social Media sites always showed huge potential but never really evolved. Too many pictures of meals of interest only to the diner. The masses united with guidance may be the true reincarnation of The Big Giant Head in “3rd Rock.” Thus, destiny fulfilled.
The Big Giant Head is us.
The Millennials - ages 18 to 34 -- may have found a powerful voice and venue in what could be a revolutionary new format of entertainment. Fingers crossed: Let’s wish the Joseph Gordon-Levitt experiment all the best. A breath of fresh air is long overdue. Breath cautiously but breath deep: this may be it.
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“Hitrecord on TV” launches Saturday, Jan. 18 at 10 ET/PT on Pivot.
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Kurt Niece writes about visual arts for SDGLN. He is a freelance journalist from Lakewood, Ohio. He is the author of "The Breath of Rapture" and an artist who sells his work on his website.