Ever wish you could just click on Ctrl + Z to rewind your life? A “do-over”, ya know? Maybe you said something you wish you hadn’t or instead of eating that donut for breakfast, you wish you had opted for the bowl of cereal? Then click on over to NBC’s new web series, Ctrl starring funny-man, Tony Hale (Arrested Development).
Ctrl is an outlandish comedy that should have viewers spilling a lot of Nestea after understanding the concept. (The so-called, “Liquid Awesomeness” just so happens to be the sponsor of the new show.) NBC Universal Digital Studio has developed a unique vehicle for their original online programming slate with Hale at the helm of the mighty brand awareness campaign.
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Stuart Grundy (Hale) has been working at the same office for too many years, sitting in his cubicle taking crap from his boss, never acting on his feelings for his boss’s assistant, and basically working like a horse without any recognition. But that all changes one day when Stuart knocks over a bottle of Nestea on to his keyboard. In a panic to undo a blunder on his computer, Grundy quickly clicks on Ctrl+ Z, but not only does he recover his document, he now has the power to back peddle through his life and rectify mistakes.
Having the ability to manipulate reality via his computer, Stuart then begins to experiment with the various control keys that changes his mundane world with unexpected results. Ctrl is a series of web-vignettes putting its star in unpredictable situations while he realizes through each episode what the keys can do for him.
The series is based on the short film, Ctrl Z, written and directed by Rob Kirbyson, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, starring Hale. (Although no beverages played a role in the original story.) NBC and Kirbyson turned the short film into the new .com series sponsored by Nestea for ten episodes.
The performances are fantastic and the limitless opportunities for the concept will keep you watching. Each of the webisodes runs about five minutes and focuses on what could happen in real life by pressing the corresponding control key. Episode 2 “Ctrl B” (bold) and episode 3, “Ctrl Z” (undo) provide a enjoyable way to introduce the cast of characters and by Ctrl‘s episode 4, “F1” the plot thickens as Grundy bumbles his way through the function keys and is forced to deal with his trial and error complications.
With a solid vision for time travel and comedy, Robert Kirbyson has hit whatever keys correspond to comedy. The show can actually go anywhere from Ctrl Z to possibly Ctrl F, which might help Grundy find some old high school pals without having to log on to Facebook.
The lead characters work well with each other, but don’t forget to watch the extras in the background. Kirbyson directed all of the actors with great attention to the smallest comical detail. Hale defines the slightly awkward, office-geek without the over acting that could easily devolve into a series of nerd clichés. His co-stars include Steve Howey (Reba) as the arrogant, unqualified boss of “daddy’s” company, Ben Piller, Emy Coligado (Crossing Jordan) as Piller’s assistant and Grundy’s love interest, Elizabeth.
Set up with cliffhangers on every click, NBC is hoping to drive tea sales by offering a creative brand insight to its viewers, breaking new ground with sponsors blended with entertainment content. Check it out NBC.com/Ctrl.
NBC distributes Ctrl on NBC.com, Hulu.com, USANetwork.com, VOD platforms and mobile and gaming devices. The official site is www.nbc.com/Ctrl.