the day after

I took two chickens out of the smoker and carried them into the kitchen, where Anne was mixing up some potato salad and heating a couple cans of baked beans. Ryan and his girlfriend walked into the house, with Nolan shortly after them.

“Are you excited?” Anne asked me.

“I … guess? Not really.” I began to carve the chickens for our dinner.

“Why not?”

“The excited part is when I’m on the stage in front of the audience, everything else is various levels of anxiety while I wait.” My incredibly sharp knife slipped in my hand and cut my finger. “Ow! Shit!”

My finger began to bleed, and I wrapped a towel around it.

“Okay, so … this is going to take a few more minutes before it’s ready,” I said.

A few minutes later, we all sat down to eat dinner, while we waited for the first episode of The Wil Wheaton Project to come on.

As Heroes of Cosplay ended and little versions of me popped up on the screen reminding people to stay tuned for my stupid face, I turned to Anne. “Okay, I just got excited.”

I did a little dance when the show started, and enjoyed myself through the entire thing. My kids thought it was really funny, and my son’s girlfriend, who had never seen any of it at all, told me that she loved it. “It would have been very awkward if I hadn’t,” she told me.

We celebrated with some ice cream cones, the kids left, and Anne and I celebrated with some champagne.

Before I went to bed, I looked at Twitter, prepared for people to hate it, and me, but most everyone seemed to like the show, which made me feel good.

When I woke up this morning, I looked at the news for reviews, and found that most places liked it (we got a B from the AV Club, which is like an A+ anywhere else), some really didn’t, and some were sort of “meh” on the whole thing. It’s about what I expected, but I wasn’t expecting the reviewers who didn’t like it to complain that I wasn’t mean or snarky enough. It’s disheartening that people would tune into a show expecting and hoping for someone to be mean, but if that’s what they want, this isn’t the show for them.

Some of the feedback was really useful, and lined up with my own thoughts: My energy at the beginning of the show was way too high (I wanted to keep it lower and more like myself, but I was directed to be BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER, so I’m trusting my instincts and being more myself next week), and the audio was weird in places. Some people complained about a laugh track that doesn’t exist (we shoot in a small stage with a full audience that’s very loud, which is good), but overall, the feedback was generally positive.

The biggest disappointment for me is our ratings numbers. They were not as good as I’d hoped, and I don’t know why. Though we did better than anything that’s been in our time slot before, we lost about half the audience that was watching Heroes of Cosplay, which surprised me. People who understand that stuff better than I do told me not to worry, because shows like ours usually start out with a small audience that grows, as word of mouth spreads. I hope they’re right. There’s also something called “Live +3″ which is the total ratings number that includes people who watch the show on their DVR in the three days after the show first airs, and we expect those numbers to grow.

This whole ratings thing seems outdated and irrelevant to me, because it doesn’t take into account cord-cutters, who I know are a significant part of the audience, and I guess the fact that two different topics associated with our show were trending on Twitter doesn’t count for anything, either. What this says to me is that the industry needs to rethink how it scores things, and networks especially need to find ways to get their programming to people the way those people want to see it, whether that’s on demand, on a site like Hulu +, on Apple TV, Google Play, or whatever else the damn kids today are into. There’s a very real chance that I won’t get to do more than 12 episodes of this show because so many people who want to watch it don’t subscribe to cable, and that makes me really sad.

Overall, though, the things that I had a hand in, and the things I could control from a creative point of view, seemed to land on the majority of the audience in a good way. People expecting me to be a dick.0 didn’t like it, and that’s totally fine with me. Now that I’ve had my brief moment of excitement (and it was genuinely awesome to watch the show with my family, and find out from thousands of people on Twitter that they liked it), I’m back to the focus and varying levels of anxiety that come with getting ready for the next one.


255 thoughts on “the day after”

  1. Really wishing I could watch it up here in the Great White North, but unfortunately unblock-us which I have for Netflix doesn’t support syfy :(. Best wishes and congrats, and I hope I can find a way to watch!

  2. Wil you are Kick Ass! And your family’s gluten free oats are the best out there! They grow them down the road from my home! Awesome family and keep up the good work! From a fellow nerd!

  3. There’s a problem recording your show.
    In the Portland area with Frontier Fios as the provider and using TiVo to record, your show is set as New for every single airing. It airs several times a day here on three different channels. As it’s set as new it records every airing of the same episode. My friend cancelled his season pass to your show as he was getting so many copies of the same episode.
    I’m guessing you can forward this because if other people cancel their seasons’ passes you won’t get the ratings.

    1. This is due to SyFy not supplying complete info, Wil, if you want some DVR numbers get your ‘network’ to fix this as many folks, myself included won’t set a season pass until this is resolved!

  4. Not a vegetarian? Wil, somehow I had gotten the impression you were vegetarian. Have you become a ‘flexitarian?’ Not that it matters to me, but I was curious.

  5. Wil – You struck a nice balance, especially for a first show. Your instinct to be yourself is a good one, but keep the energy up. I’ll keep watching and wishing you continued success.

  6. its corny, its camp, its goofy, its entertaining! its likable and its all on content we (Will Wheaton fans and fans of SciFi – er, SyFy…) actually are interested in! Very funny show and worth seeing!

  7. I can’t afford cable and I want to watch it all and I want it to succeed. Can we possibly do anything to ensure it’s longevity after the 12 episodes? Kickstarter? Netflix Original Series? I would imagine the network wants to keep it all for themselves but you’re right, something has to change and I want to see that change. I would patreon or subbable the hell out of a wil wheaton talk show, just get it going and I will. Networks are outdated and dumb, but you, sir, are awesome.

  8. Just finished watching on the DVR. I too wanted to complain about the laugh track (that… apparently doesn’t exist? Are you sure?). Other than that, there were parts where I laughed out loud and parts where I rolled my eyes, and I came out firmly in the “meh” camp, genuinely hoping it gets better. I’m glad to hear that you were directed to be “BIGGER”, and more glad to hear you’re going to go with your instincts next time, because BIGGER Wheaton comes across as somebody who’s trying too hard. I find Wil Wheaton much more enjoyable to listen to than BIGGER Wheaton.

  9. I think for a first episode it was great. We watched it online, I believe on SyFy’s site the day after because we’re one of the families who doesn’t have cable. I was really excited to see you not being dick.0. You also make some very valid points about how the industry goes about determining what is successful.

    Keep up the good work, Mr. Wheaton! I look forward to more of the show and seeing you settle in to it.

  10. Wil, I wanted to tell you that…even if I watch the show and I HATE it, I am still going to watch every goddamn episode, because you deserve to be on television. More people like it than don’t, and you DESERVE to be on my television. It just sucks that it IS on Hulu, but web-only and I leech off my roommate’s Hulu, and feel bad asking for her password, but OH WELL. I don’t care. I’d rather feel a little guilty and support you than keep to myself and watch The Wil Wheaton Project fail ONLY because of ratings. I dunno. You just…should know that. You deserve this.

  11. I was on a trip, and I happened to be in a hotel with cable that night, and I stayed up to watch it despite really wanting to crash…and I loved it. I am going to hope it shows up somewhere where I can legally watch it, because it was so much fun.

    Also, I like the fact you weren’t nasty snarky. I don’t need snark. Light hearted poking fun, that’s awesome. Nasty for the sake of nasty…not so much.

  12. We missed the original airing because my son was hosting a D7D game that he *gasp* invited his parents to play in, so we played a game instead. BUT, watched the show with me daughter the next day and LOVED it. It was funny, silly, nerdy and playful. Can’t wait for Ep 2.

  13. Wow, they aired your show so many times last week I stopped counting! I’m talking ALL hours of the day according to my DVR. SyFy must really love you. Now I can’t tell which episode is a new one. LOL! Grats again. :)

  14. I think if you trust your instincts like you said you’ll be rewarded big time. I love watching you and will continue to do so even if its from my DVR :)

  15. Dude, you’re so right about cable cutters! My wife and I just cut our cable a month ago. We’ve got an Apple TV and a Roku and use Netflix, Hulu, and Aereo as our primary services. Bugs the crap out of me that SyFy can’t get their act together and do something for us cable cutters. Really, really want to watch your show but, if it’s not on Hulu or some other viable source for cable cutters, I might not be able to watch it without resorting to downloading it via a torrent. :(

  16. For some reason and I realize you probably get this a lot-and I’m going to attribute it to your craft-but whenever I see you on a show acting, I honestly believe you must be a jerk in real life…This show is finally helping me get better acquainted with the notion that my previously held thoughts couldn’t be more wrong. I actually really love this show & your sense of humor along with your thoughts on current film and tv shows are right on target. I hope this show stays on for a long time. Also I am loving all the 80s/90s movie references and I love Creature from the Black Lagoon! Anytime I see that come up in mainstream, makes me go back to the old vhs tapes I have from my childhood! You should crack on godzilla and king kong next! Oh and those Malkovich snippets are hilarious! Keep up the great work & kudos!

  17. To wil wheaton. It is not this blog that makes me a fan, or your stint as Wesley Crusher, nor “Stand by me” or even your appearances on “Big Bang Theory” It is your love of your family, and standing up for people who like things that are “geek” that makes me a fan. I think there are a lot of people that think this way.

  18. Wil, I’m a lawyer from Upstate NY, my husband is a D&D Gamemaster and Pathfinder writer. I know, I know, such a typical pairing. I’ve learned a lot about SciFy, games, etc through him and I’ve always been a fan of yours so we sat down and watched your shows together. We both LOVE it. For me, you brought to “life” what he is always talking about, and it was amazing to see how similar your humor is to my husband’s and all of his friends. All of us wives loved it, and while we may not be your target audience, we’re cheering you on and are SO PROUD of Gordie!!!! 😉 And by the way, we LOVED your palpable enthusiasm in the first episode, you SHOULD be that excited, this is HUGE for you and we’re all watching and rooting for you!

  19. Love the show man!!!! It’s so great to feel that I don’t need to hide being a nerd anymore. You make it cool and the show is one of the funniest and most entertaining things I have ever seen. I’ll definitely be tuning in for every episode. Keep it going!!!

  20. I for one always hated this show format, but after watching your show I found out it’s not the format what I hated, but the content. All of them are about stupid celebrity worship and/or bashing, and that’s just not funny to me. Now put this format on a show about sci-fi and all things related, hosted by a guy I know will make me laugh and cheer up my day, and the show got itself a new fan 😀

  21. Meh. It’s Tosh.0 meets the SyFy channel. And yes, the laughter sounds canned. Show the audience every so often like they do on Tosh.0 and maybe it’ll be more convincing. We know Daniel’s standing in front of a green screen and they don’t try to hide it.

    Any show like this will have a rocky start. TBS tried it with Deion Cole’s Black Box–didn’t work because of a combo of bad writing and not-so-funny delivery.

    Daniel’s not so great at acting, which he’s admitted, but he knows how to deliver a punch line, which is important on a show like this. His writers are also brilliant–most of the time. 😉 Delivery, timing and writing.

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