Channel 101 NY‘s “Prime Time” show The Defenders of Stan is gearing up to debut its 19th episode, continuing its streak as the longest running show on the site. The series, which debuted in late August of 2006, has been going strong ever since; at the monthly Channel 101 NY (fka Channel 102) screenings, where the audience chooses which shows are worthy of “Prime Time,” The Defenders of Stan has rarely fallen out of the top 2 positions in the audience vote.
The Defenders of Stan is a superhero story, although not in the traditional sense. Co-creator Austin Bragg, who plays Stan, explained, “The idea of the show originated from the concept of an X-Men universe taken to it’s logical extreme. We always see the beginning of the genetic evolution, where a handful of heroes battle it out in a world filled with humanity…but what happens at the end of that bell curve? At some point down the line, normal people will be the minority…and then eventually just a handful of the population.” The writers soon realized, however, that while they had created a new universe, they needed a story line. Bragg continued, “What began as a look inside the world of one of the last remaining humans really turned the corner after three episodes, when we began to focus more on the brother dynamic — which is itself just a smaller scale version of what’s happening in this universe.” Added writer (and musician) Meredith Bragg, “I think we realized the the show has more to do with the brother dynamic then the fact that there are superheros around. Just having guys in tights isn’t enough.”
The Defenders of Stan is, like most shows on Channel 101, relatively low budget. Compared to the top-notch quality of some web shows we’ve seen recently, this can get in the way at times, because it reminds us that we’re watching people play other characters and makes it tougher to immerse ourselves in the alternate universe. On the other hand, there are some great moments as well, such as the scene where Stan feeds a King Kong-sized version of himself. Overall, the story lines and dialogue more than make up for any production shortcomings. Whether it’s the detailed comic references, or the moments where superheroes and everyday life collide, the show is extremely entertaining, and it’s not hard to see why it’s been online for over two years.
I asked co-creator Hunter Christy (aka Captain Ultra) what he thinks audiences find most appealing about the show. “I think people are torn with the brother dynamic we always sort of base the stories on. On the one hand, they feel for Stan. In a way, Stan represents them. On the other hand, Stan lets Captain Ultra walk all over him. I think that sort of sibling rivalry is something most people can relate to.” He went on to say, “Aside from that, I’m constantly surprised by what the audience finds funny. They pick up on all the tiny little comic references we throw in, and the miniscule details we try to weave into every scene.” Meredith Bragg broke down the audience response for me- “95% positive, 3% hostile and 2% perplexed we titled a superhero show The Defenders of SATAN.”
The next screening of The Defenders of Stan is on November 3rd, and I’m hoping to see many more episodes in the future.