Wray Nerely desperately wants to be more than “that guy” from “that sci-fi show that was cancelled too soon.” It’s too bad his best friend is begging him to do a movie based on “that show”, but will try to help Wray get out of sci-fi.
That’s the current premise of Con Man, starring co-creators Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk. The second season started this week with two episodes, including the first that was first shown at the Entertainment Weekly website.
When last we left Wray (Alan Tudyk), he was resigned to being part of the movie version of “Spectrum”, but he’s trying to escape sci-fi. He doesn’t think for one minute Jack Moore’s (Nathan Fillion) career would hit a big bump.
However, when Jack meets with his agents at Mirage Talent Agency (which is a big hint right there), he’s told he’s lost his movie franchise to one of the Hemsworth brothers because Australians make better Americans. The explanation alone is both bizarre and funny. He is offered a TV show, but he’d rather bring back Spectrum. It’s really great to see Fillion as the guy who got famous from a TV show suddenly see his star power fade out for the oddest reasons. It’s like seeing Captain Hammer lose to Dr. Horrible at, well, something.
Jack is also worried his assistant Faith (Alison Haislip) is sleeping with Wray… which they are. It also looks like Wray has Dale, the aging stunt man who doubled for actresses, as his landlord.
While Wray tries to tell Jack he doesn’t want to do the movie (or rather “cwon’t”), Jack says he can help Wray get in the TV show he was offered (called Doctor Cop Lawyer, about a guy who is all three). Wray agrees, and is told to assert himself to his agents at Middle Talent Agency (another hint).
What follows is one of the sharpest comments about show business, especially the “business” part. Wray has three different agents in three minutes because “these are volatile times”. He’s trying to show that he’s an actor who is genuine, has integrity and would never sell out. After all, he says, he doesn’t have a “business model”, he dates models. He’s offered a cereal commercial, and refuses because real actors don’t do commercials. Anyone who has seen recent Mercury and Heineken ads may disagree.
The best part is when Stephen Root as Wray’s third agent goes full Arthur Jensen from the movie Network with a speech similar to “the world is a business” speech. Wray, the agent says, is nothing more than “a generic brand on a forgotten shelf marked ‘sci-fi actor’, half-price” When he gets a text from Jack saying he’s got a job for Wray, he leaves, but the agent-for-now says Wray can’t go anywhere because he’s one of the “branded people, bumbling around, buying their identities on credit.”
It’s a bizarre scene with incredible lines, and you can thank Tudyk for co-writing and directing these episodes.
After all that, Wray will be doing that commercial after all that may get him that TV show, and will have to ask his booker Bobbie (Mindy Sterling) to help out. The new season will feature some familiar faces like Eliza Dushku. Lou Ferrigno, Casper Van Dien (most likely as the bartender), Felicia Day and Stan Lee.
Con Man will have episodes every week at Comic-Con HQ, a streaming video service that also offers movies and original programming, as well as panels from San Diego Comic-Con itself. It’s offering a one-week free trial then it’s five dollars a month or 50 dollars a year.