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A short-lived hour long action show about a video game coming to life that aired on fledgling network UPN in 1995. Most notable for the involvment of Leonard Nimoy as an executive producer and Christopher Lloyd as main villain Jackal.
Recently-divorced physicist Gus Lloyd decides to take his mind off things by creating a video game in his spare time. In it, he is the hero "The Cold-Steel Kid". Along with Love Interest "The Girl" (based off his ex-wife Lauren), he fights the forces of the evil Jackal, who are all based off people from Gus's life who have upset him.
Somehow, Gus's latest experiment causes the characters from the game to come to life, and they're planning on carrying out the schemes from the game. Now Gus, along with his best friend Peter and the reluctant Lauren (since "her" charcter is important to the game), have to find and stop his characters before they can carry out their missions.
This show contained examples of:
- Attack Its Weak Point: The villans are basically impervious to everything except a few, sometimes very specific, items.
- Big Bad: Jackal
- Butt Monkey: Gus, apparently, based off the sheer number of people Gus feels have wronged him in his life. Shots of his game notes reveal there were several dozen villans in his game that never got episodes because the show got cancelled.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Subverted. Jackal wears all white. Lampshaded when Gus mentions he was subverting the black-clad bad guy trope when designing Jackal.
- Distressed Damsel: Lauren's video game alter-ego "The Girl". Not Lauren herself, though.
- Enemy Mine: Gus and Jackal work together to defeat the villain Gus's practical joker friend Danny created.
- Evil Is Stylish: Jackal
- The Game Come to Life
- Her Codename Was Mary Sue: This show would be a perfect example of this trope if it wasn't so obscure. The whole concept of the show is the main character created a video game where he's the hero, his ex-wife is the love interest, and the villains are all people he knows and who he thinks wronged him. Harsher in Hindsight this side of Chris-chan.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Several appeared in the show, usually, but not always, as the episode's villain.
- Inspector Javert: A P.I. hired by Lauren's fiance after she disappears spends a few episodes following Gus around thinking he's up to something.
- Monster of the Week
- Ms. Fanservice: Kathy Ireland's character, both in Gus's game and on the show.
- New Media Are Evil: It was a TV show about a video game that came to life and killed people.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Gus, who has a PhD, in one episode has to point this out.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: The reason Jackal gives for saving Gus from a villain that isn't one of his.
- Opening Narration
- Pac-Man Fever: All the "game footage" shown is actually regular live action footage. By comparison, what video games actually looked like in the mid '90s.
- Arguably subverted. There were plenty of games around the time the show was made that made used of digitized actors. Games such as Lethal Enforcers, Terminator 2 Arcade, Revolution X, Night Trap, Seventh Guest, Mortal Kombat, and and WrestleMania Arcade. The games seem to be limited to Rail Shooter, Point and Click Adventure, and Fighting games, although it wasn't made that clear what type of game the guy was making, it could easily been the former two.
- Practical Joke: One of villains of the week has this as his theme, complete with a killer joy buzzer.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Every episode, Gus explains the incident with the person that week's villain is based off of. More than once, Lauren and/or Peter tell him it's a really silly thing to still be this upset over.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Lauren's new fiance.
- Save the Girl Screw The World: When Lauren is accidentally dragged into the game, Gus recreates the accident that brought the characters to life. He rescues Lauren, but this also means bringing Jackal back to life.
- Save the Princess: Part of the game viewers see includes "The Girl" in a dungeon wondering where the hero is.
- Shiny New Australia: Jackal offers Lauren a chance to rule New York when he takes over if she'll stop helping Gus. Charcaters wondering whether he meant the city or the state becomes a Running Gag in the episode.
- The Trope Kid
- Weaksauce Weakness: Some of the villans have weaknesses like water, sugar, and soap.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Jackal spends an awful lot of time talking to Gus and not killing him, especially since he's the only one who knows about Jackal's unusual nature and how to stop him and his minions. Maybe he's just not programmed that way.
- Write Who You Know