Bookmans Recommends: Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk's Conman
By C’loni Bailey, Assistant Manager at Bookmans Mesa
Earlier this year, Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion of Firefly/Serenity fame, launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the first few episodes of their comedy web series, Conman. They initially asked for $425,000 to fund three 10-minute episodes, but the campaign exploded thanks to their devout fan base who have longed to see the two friends in another production together. They raised over $1 million in 24 hours, setting a record for crowd funding a web series, and closing the campaign with a total of $3,124,214. Thanks to the massive outpouring of support, they produced a full season of 13 episodes and rewarded their supporters with posters, T-shirts and the opportunity to have lunch with Tudyk and Fillian (a $10,000 tier that sold all 4 slots!).
Written by Tudyk, Conman is about down and out actor Wray Nerely (played by Tudyk), who is famous for playing a spaceship captain on a canceled sci-fi series called Spectrum. Fillian plays his best friend who was the captain on Spectrum and who has gone on to Hollywood fame. Inspired by the strange and wonderful people they have come into contact with at various conventions, Conman is a parody of Tudyk’s and Fillian’s real life experiences with the cancellation of Firefly and the rabid fans who continued to support the show for over a decade afterwards. The series cast features a host of sci-fi/fantasy favorites including Gina Torres (Firefly/Hannibal), Seth Green (Robot Chicken), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings), Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Felicia Day (The Guild), Nolan North (Uncharted) and Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers). Van Dien appears as a bartender at every bar the characters visit in the show but has no lines.
In Conman, Nerely struggles with his frustration rising from his pigeon-holed career while touring sci-fi conventions and repeatedly floundering at connecting with his fans. He gets friendly advice from Astin (playing himself) about being “who they expect you to be” and fails horribly at it. Instead he reveals himself to be self-absorbed, petty and even a pen thief when he accidentally steals a fan’s lucky pen and refuses to give it back.
The series is a hilarious look at what it’s like to be a genre actor at a fan convention, as well as fun look at the eccentricities of sci-fi/fantasy fans and con goers. Anyone who is a sci-fi/fantasy fan and who has ever been to a convention will enjoy the myriad of cameos and references in this show. The first few episodes are available for streaming via Vimeo on Demand, with three new episodes to be released each week during October.