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Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles Demo Reel Review

January 26, 2015 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
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Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles Demo Reel Review  


Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles, starring the Harry Knowles, is set to air the first episode of its first broadcast TV season on February 7th, 2015 on Austin, Texas’ PBS station KLRU. The show, a quasi-sequel to the version of the show that ran on the Nerdist Youtube channel back in 2013, will once again feature Knowles in his magical basement talking about and exploring the wide world of cinema along with his father Jay, various guests, and Boiler the talking boiler. I recently saw several segments from the seven episode series (a 40+ minute demo reel) and I’m happy to say that the show looks great, looks like a hell of a lot of fun, and is very, very real.

Real? What does that mean?

The show has been in development for a little over a year and has been the subject of a relentless online attack campaign. The attackers, at various times, claimed that the show was never going to happen, that it wasn’t real, and that Knowles had stolen the money raised from a Kickstarter campaign for its creation. In the end, it was all baseless conjecture at best as the footage I recently saw proves that the show is real and it has been produced and made. It may have taken longer than expected, but it did happen and it’s going to be unleashed on the world in a few weeks.

The footage I saw was a mix of interview segments relevant to various episodes of the show (each episode will feature a particular cinematic theme which Knowles will talk about and explore). Burt Reynolds will be a part of the show, as will directors Wes Craven and Danny Boyle, House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, and noted movie critic Leonard Maltin. The Reynolds segment starts off a little slow (Reynolds appears via a magic crystal ball) but it gets better as Reynolds and Knowles talk about the great Hal Needham, of Smokey & the Bandit fame. I personally loved his response to Knowles’ question regarding Mega Force.

Boyle’s segment is full of enthusiasm from both Boyle and Knowles (I think Boyle out enthusiasms Knowles by just a hair, which is amazing since Knowles is enthusiasm personified on the show), and the Craven segment is fascinating as it features Craven discussing Swamp Thing, something you just don’t hear Craven talk about all that much. And the Willimon interview is the most serious interview segment of the ones I saw, but even then it’s not that serious. It’s still kind of fun (I’ve never seen an episode of House of Cards but I’ve never seen or heard anyone affiliated with the show give an interview that you could characterize as fun. Not even Kevin Spacey).

And then there’s the Leonard Maltin segment, which apparently is all about animation. Watching Maltin arrive in the magical basement via an animator’s hand is a stroke of genius and a fine example of the show’s clear whimsical edge. And you’ll become an advocate for a full modern American release of Disney’s Song of the South after hearing Maltin and Knowles briefly discuss the movie’s troubled history and offensive subject matter (the movie may be racially insensitive but it deserves a chance to be seen).

As for Knowles, he’s clearly having fun in his basement, and I think, by extension, interested viewers will have just as much fun when the show begins its run on February 7th. I, personally, can’t wait to see a full episode of the show. I know it will be a blast. As for Harry’s magical basement, while it physically looks the same as it did on Youtube, it now has a different feel to it, a warm glow that makes you want to keep watching. It’s also a fine visual example of the magic the show wants to share with everyone.

So be sure to check out the show when it starts on KLRU in Austin on February 7th and on be on the lookout for the show on your local PBS station is “cool” enough to get the show. If the show is a hit (and I can’t see why it won’t be) more of the country will get to see it. And that’s a good thing.

And be on the lookout for an interview with the show’s director, the brilliant Brett A. Hart, which will be on 411 sooner than you think. And go here and here for details on a “special presentation” of the first episode at the Alamo S. Lamar on February 11th.

Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles! Yeah!

The final score: review Virtually Perfect
The 411
It was only a 40 minute demo reel, yes, but what I saw from it looks great. Outstanding, even. Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles is something we should all be on the lookout for. Good job, everyone! It’s happening!