TV Review: HitRecord on TV

TV Review: HitRecord on TV

A-Lister Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosts a most original show

By Mark HadleyWednesday 25 Jun 2014TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

It’s official. HitRecord is my new favourite show. Ladies and Gentlemen this is original television. And from a medium that has devoted itself to remakes, recreations and re-dos that’s certainly saying something. 

Mark Hadley reviews 'HitRecord'.
One does not simply watch HitRecord though, in the same way that one does not simply walk into Mordor. It’s a program that to be truly enjoyed has to be first understood. This series emerges from the HitRecord website spawned by Hollywood A-list actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) and his brother Dan. They initially uploaded short videos of their own and asked people to critique them, but before long decided to open the site to the artists everywhere. What followed was an online, open collaboration that has been embraced by creatives across the globe. It has jointly produced books, CDs, short films…and now a television series. As host and director ‘RegularJoe’ Gordon-Levitt describes it,

“Everything you’re going to see on this show is made collaboratively by a community of hundreds of thousands of artists from all over the world, and each episode is going to be revolving around a different theme.”

Episode one is appropriately about the number one. What follows is a collection of beautifully themed videos, animations, songs, facts, quotes, interviews and insights that are creatively merged into a single half hour. The potentially bitzy outcome is avoided thanks to suave links provided by the host and a lively pace produced by sheer inventive energy. The result is less a television show and more a celebration.

As a person who makes their living from thinking creatively online, I’ve yet to see a program that puts the boundless resources of the Internet to better use. And HitRecord isn’t just harvesting mimes like so many morning and midday shows. The most amazing element is the credit that comes up before every element briefly noting the hundreds of people that had a hand in its creation. The second most amazing is the background fact that HitRecord pays the artists who have a hand in what finally go to air. These productions are often funny, regularly moving and occasionally thoughtful. Take Gordon-Levitt’s collaborative piece on two of the world’s largest organisms, the 40,000 tree ‘Pando forest’ in Utah and the voracious Honey Mushroom in Oregon. What begins as a curious nature segment ends with the host asking us to pause for reflection because human beings are also 99.9% identical at the genetic level:

“So if we are kind of like one single living organism, I guess the question is what kind are we? Life-sucking mushroom kind? Or the harmonious forest kind? I don’t have the answer – I don’t know. I’m just asking.”

Creativity is one of the things that makes us human, and it’s also one of those that marks us out as children of God. As Paul told the big thinkers at Athens,

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“For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” 

He is, after all, the original Creator. Our sparks of imagination are only embers that float off His creative flame. And like all of His good gifts, our creativity can be used to make us think about our duty to serve others – like the Levitt’s mushroom / forest analogy – or it can be utilized to serve only us. Jesus warns His listeners that we will all one day give an account for ‘every careless word’ we utter. That includes the creative ones too. Anyone who passes off some bright and shiny invention or idea without acknowledging God as our ultimate source is in breech of spiritual copyright. But anyone who acknowledges the life-blood of his creativity will be drawing on the one well that never runs dry.

Rating: M
Distributor: ABC2
Release Date: Thursdays, 10:10 PM