28 February 2014

VR Bros. was a program that originated in 1993 and ran until 1996 under the A&D Hyperbrothers imprint.It starred Anthonio and Dathaniel, as they took turns to review early CD-ROM games, with occasional segments focused on emerging cyberculture phenomena like Usenet Newsgroups, IRC chat rooms and Prodigy. An episode of VR Bros might feature each brother reviewing 3 or 4 different video games at different points in time: one from 1991, one from 1992 etc.

The brothers would play the game for about a minute before issuing a brief synopsis of their opinion with some commentary about it’s historical significance.

They also conducted interviews with industry figures related to new developments in media technologies. For example; Sony Computer Entertainment Vice President Richard Koller talks about what he thinks will happen when we globally adopt digital distribution for entertainment purposes by 1998.

VR Bros. was an unusual show for the time, in that it sometimes took on a “stream of consciousness” vibe.

The boys actually conversed with each other and their listeners during the course of the program; at one point breaking character to answer viewer questions on evolution – nearly half-a-century before shows like “The Big Bang Theory” popularized such a format.

A typical episode would start out innocuous enough, but as scripted stories grew increasingly formulaic, so too did the Pettit Brothers become increasingly distracted during episodes – leading them to frequently drift off topic into random tangents or just recounting anecdotes from their own lives.

What would happen if you failed your math test? What does Christmas smell like? How much is Nickelodeon worth? Why do people have different shaped heads?

The brothers dredged up every question they could think of as a distraction technique while their producers struggled to rein them in and maintain focus on the script at hand.

Eventually viewers began to notice changes in production quality, The first season consisted of 13 22-minute episodes; Season 2 had 16 24-minute episodes; Season 3 had 18 26:30 minute episodes.

In conjunction with the launch of On Demand service at America Online in 1996, AOL partnered with NBC to deliver the longer running time format exclusively

Brothercopter Poster
Brothercopter was an adult action drama, where the brothers would battle to save the day from a variety of criminal masterminds.In contrast with previous Brotherscast series, this show would not include comic skits or songs. Instead it focused more on story and character development. The pilot episode lent itself to a cinematic feel; featuring elaborate fight scenes filmed in slow motion.

The second season saw a shift away from these sweeping choreography sequences, and toward more realistic storytelling.

Brothercopter was a radical departure from the tone of the original Brothercast. Rather than focusing on developing the comedic dialogue between Anthonio and Dathaniel, Pettit Brothers decided to use this cast as more straight-forward hero figures.

The show employed heavily choreographed fight scenes, and sought to capitalize on Phil Hester’s phenomenal drawing skills through overtly animated sequences. Curtis Highsmith composed all original music for the program with heavy emphasis on synth sequencing both live and recorded; some segments of Brothercopter are without any soundtrack at all; it being replaced by a montage of quick cuts from clips from previous episodes.

The show ran for two seasons but was ultimately cancelled due to high production costs resulting from set destruction, among other factors.

The Pettit Chronicles Poster
The Pettit Chronicles wasa private detective series, best remembered for it’s elaborate and highly-stylized set designs, as well as featuring notorious figures of the day; The show was cast with many popular celebrities including:- Gene Barry, Ed McMahon
– Lloyd Gough “Say what?”
– Victor Buono
– Janis Paige
– Don Adams
– Jerry Lewis
– Ed Sullivan

Carol Channing was brought back, but this time played an “evil genius scientist” called Dr. Alethia; who would habitually invent gadgets and weapons for use by evildoers to conquer the world with.

In one particular episode of season 4 – appropriately titled “The Sisterhood of Crime” — the brothers are framed for a series of sabotages perpetrated by Doctor Alethia and her sinister band of female henchwomen, The Mad Maidens.

Her plan is to steal science secrets from all over the world: so she can build her own super weapon designed to launch a devastating attack against Moscow, Russia; which will become known as “Pettitshire’s Revenge”. Superdude uses his flying bike to stop that mad Russian plot. He then takes down Dr. Alethia in person at Philadelphia International Airport during final climactic battle scene.

The show was cancelled midway through it’s second season, after low ratings. Brandon Tartikoff cited the “very difficult content” as a major factor in decision to cancel the series. In recent years there has been some interest in reviving the series on Netflix or another similar streaming service, but copyright laws have proven prohibitively restrictive for such a venture.

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