Web comedy series set in a fictionalized version of Zeus Comics in Dallas, TX.
The Variants is the brain child of Richard Neal, Joe Cucinotti and Ken Lowery. In early 2009, Richard, owner of Zeus Comics, thought all the crazy stuff he saw in his store would make excellent fodder for a comedy series. Seeing the success of Web comedies like The Guild, Richard approached Joe and Ken longtime friends, writers and regulars at the store to help him develop the series.
The trio discussed and discarded several ideas, including making a faux-documentary-style comedy like The Office before settling on an absurd sitcom in the vein of 30 Rock or Arrested Development. They recruited Keli Wolfe and Barry Fuhrman (actual employees at Zeus) to play Flanderized versions of themselves.
This series provides examples of the following tropes:
- The Cameo: R. K. Milholland has his hopes and iPad crushed in episode 5, "Reboot" of the 2nd season.
- Continuity Reboot: Lampooned heavily in above episode.
- Cosmetic Award: The weekly Dallas Observer awarded The Variants its "Best Clerks Ripoff/Market Promotion" in its Best of Dallas awards in 2009.
- Magic Realism: zombies demanding movie passes swarm the store and infect one of the regular customers, in the season one finale a man flies away on an umbrella Mary-Poppins-style, and Vlad's plushies seem to be alive.
- Serious Business: Obsessive Comics Fandom is the basis of the show.
- Tabletop Games: Dramatized as live action in Season 2, Episode 4 Roll for Initiative .
- Zombie Apocalypse: Season 1, Episode 4 Passholes