Anti-Gravity Room Memories

YTV in the 90s was, for a lot of reasons, a guilty pleasure: Tarzan Dan managed to make music videos more watchable than Much Music did, Squak Box was sketch comedy anarchy, and “Botz Master” also existed. Reboot (’nuff said), and Breaker High came later. While this was going on TV, the comic industry was equally active in the 90s: The speculator boom hit, Superman was dead and X-Men were everywhere.

So YTV teamed up with the American Sci-fi network (which at the time was still called Sci-fi and was mostly just used for MST3k). Together they put together a comic industry news and information program called The Anti-Gravity Room which shaped me into the nerd I am today.

Episode were hosted by the familiar (PJ Fresh) Phil Guerrero and Nick Scoullar. Nick was not especially interesting but at this point in my life I was still amazed by the concept of hair being irregular colours like blue. They would usually host the show in alternating segments walking the streets of Toronto and some American Cities. So the show had both that cool home-grown feeling without the sad local TV vibe every show on Global has. Also occasionally anchoring the show were attractive lady hosts.

Each week they would do all the basic entertainment/news bits like recapping recent events in the industry, reading reader mail, and giving concise opinions on some of the new comics out that week. The “CD-ROM-athon” gave quick reviews of video games. Everything was pretty quick to keep the show fast-paced. Maybe this was because of the audience’s short attention spans, or perhaps this was because a lot of material the show really didn’t warrant more than a couple sentences of description.

The show never really took itself especially seriously though  it knew and embraced that it wasn’t network TV material. If you want in-depth academic analysis of Captain America, that’s what “Prisoners of Gravity” was for. In the Anti-Gravity Room (which wasn’t literally a room), camera angles were crooked and there was a lot of motion in the directing, a LOT of motion. It had the kind of kinetic cinematography that never hurt the entertainment value or information flow but might Clovefield some audiences.

Anchoring the program were regular interviews with people in the comic industry. At the time I didn’t know who any of them actually were because I was still at a point where I would buy comics because of who was in them instead of who made them. Luckily I was able to sit through the interviews because of the cool background tunes they played and good editing. Oh and once they scored an interview with, Bill Gates.

After four seasons the comic boom was wrapping up and Superman was no longer dead or electrical. Also the Internet became a valid tool for getting comic news and information. So the Anti-Gravity Room ended unceremoniously. The format and atmosphere (and Phil) were later recycled for the similar “Gamerz” show but that was never really as important since if you’re interested in video games and sitting in front of TV, it’s easier just to play one. Canadian TV wouldn’t have anything as cool as the Anti-Gravity Room until years later when Teletoon came around and aired The Maxx. Then the 90s ended and we were left wondering why exactly chrome variant covers were important. But at that point I was already indoctrinated with the collector mentality that will one day get me on “Hoarders.”

Now that comics have gone through another boom (80s revival/Infinite Crisis/Civil War) and there’s movies based on comics coming out every month, I think the world needs a new Anti-Gravity Room to give the comic industry the attention it warrants. This is why I regularly try to persuade TdotComics’s Alice Quinn to watch the show on Youtube and make Quintessential Comix into a modern substitute. It’s pretty close, but I don’t think we can’t afford to get an intro by The Chemical Brothers just yet.

If you have any memories of the Anti-Gravity room, please feel free to share them in the comments bellow.

-Michael Ryan, 20/4/12
I give The Anti-Gravity Room a full 5 Tdots out of 5.

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  • Eric Houstoun

    Loved the anti-gravity room! stuff was rad. Also Phil was the shiz, my favourite part of YTV growing up.

  • Tvpappy

    I was a field producer for the Anti-Gravity Room. Part of the original team from the beginning. My first real gig out of university. Still some of the best memories of my career…

  • Tranzor_z

    I liked this show, especially since it was the only show on tv at the time, about my favorite hobbies. I especially liked the show’s “token” female host, Shashi Bhatia. I wonder what she’s up to these days?

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  • the Kenners

    I was growing up during this time and the Antigravity room made it easier as a geeky kid in love with comic books, if it was on tv, it had to be cool…that’s what i thought. As I got older I kept with my comic book hobby, but not as much as I used to, although every year i hit the FanExpo. I also ran into Phil on my birthday…got a picture with him lol. show makes me incredibly nostalgic…

  • Senor Greyhound

    So true, all of it! Breaker High, Squak box..sad local TV shows.. MuchMusic was a lot better back then as well.

    I never thought it at the time, but the 90′s was a great, very chill time for comics. I never knew how much grunge culture leaked out beyond the actual music scene.

    A hidden gem, man, a hidden gem.

  • Ronald Pillay

    I’m a 31 year old nerd all the way from South Africa, The Anti-Gravity Room got me to start reading comic books,to know who were the artists and writers, it was cool with video game reviews and all stuff around 90′s pop culture ind the.

    I also think the world needs a new The Anti-Gravity Room.