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Red vs. Blue

June 27, 2008

Today I’ll be taking a look at one of the good things that came out of the Halo Trilogy craze. 

Red vs. Blue, a machinima web series made by a group of guys from Austin, Texas. 

If you haven’t heard of Machinima before that’s because it is a relatively new medium that only recently became popularized by such programs as Red vs. Blue. Machinima is roughly, cinema where video games are recorded scenes from video games are edited to fit with pre-recorded audio and dialogue. 

The roots of Red vs. Blue has expanded into a full production company called Rooster Teeth Productions. However, their fame comes from the five seasons that they did of Red vs. Blue. It originally started in 2003 and only just ended in June 2007. 

The guys behind RvB used Halo and Halo 2 to make the videos which average around five minutes in length. Now, I haven’t actually been in a Gamestop in a couple years so I’m not sure if this is true or not but, at one point customers could buy the season DVDs of Red vs. Blue from Gamestop. The DVDs are available in the Rooster Teeth store but I am not sure if they’re still sold retail. 

The success of RvB allowed Rooster Teeth to expand their repetoire and they have created several other series on different games. They created a hilarious miniseries called the PANICS using the PC game F.E.A.R. However, their other rather popular series The Strangerhood, I hate it. 

Unlike RvB’s humor which relates to everyone with its focus on military and bureaucracy humor, The Strangerhood just feels crass and overworked. Of all the series that they’ve released, I highly advise that you go into The Strangerhood with some trepidation. What they’ve been able to do with The Strangerhood as far as animation is pretty cool since they use The Sims 2 for that series but it doesn’t make their plots good. They, also, have a newer series up called 1-800-Magic using the game Shadowrun. I’ve only seen the first two episodes of 1-800-Magic but so far it feels like a little bit of a step down from PANICS and RvB. 

We aren’t here to talk about their offshoots though. Perhaps, in the future I’ll have a more in depth look at the other series but today is about the main series, Red vs. Blue.

As I mentioned earlier, RvB is five seasons long, each season has between 20 and 25 episodes. There are also two mini series related to the main series: the Blood Gulch Chronicles. The first, Out of Mind, occurred between seasons 4 and 5. Recovery One was made after the final season. They’ve also started a sequel to Recovery One called Reconstruction. It has 4 episodes out. 

The basic plot involves two completely inept units from different human armies stationed in Blood Gulch, one of the maps from the first Halo game on the X-box. The red team features Simmons, Grif, Sarge and their new rookie Donut (who it is insinuated throughout the series is gay). The blue team across the way features Church, Tucker and their rookie Caboose. The first season mostly follows both outposts’ inability to defeat the other army due to their mutual stupidity. 

When Halo 2 came out, the plot delved into time travel and introduced a villain named O’Malley. Halo 2’s better graphics and new maps allowed Rooster Teeth to act as though the new maps were the future that a bomb had sent the cast too. This set up comprised most of season three.

Seasons four and five the cast was sent back to Blood Gulch where one of the characters experiences male pregnancy because of an alien invader. Eventually, the group fights and kills O’Malley which leads to the conclusion of the series. 

My Recommendation: The series gets pretty ridiculous at some points and I would argue that seasons 1 and 2 are the best of the series but, as a whole it is still worth watching. Unlike the Strangerhood the comedy and dialogue flow together well and there seems to be more of a dynamic between the characters and the actors than in their other series. 

To give you a hint of the dialogue I’ll post one of my favorite PSAs that they did as joke. 

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ 


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