The Absurd and Radical Movie Show is an American television comedy series created by Joel Hodgson and produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Televisió de Catalunya, HBO Enterprises, Warner Bros. Television and RKO Television Studios. The show premiered on RKO Comedy on August 2, 1992. It still airs new episodes every Sunday night as of March 2014. The show mainly features three puppets in form of the TV3 Catalunya logo that can talk who are imprisoned on a space station by an evil scientist (which is a talking puppet in form of a soda can) and forced to watch a selection of bad movies, as part of a psychological experiment, and frequently preceded by short educational films, newsreels, theatrical cartoon shorts, or serial dramas. To stay sane, the TV3 logo puppets provide a running commentary on each film, making fun of its flaws, and wisecracking their way through each reel in the style of a movie-theater peanut gallery. Each film is presented with a superimposition of the TV3 logo puppets' silhouettes along the bottom of the screen. The film is interspersed with skits tied into the theme of the film being watched or the episode as a whole.
In the "not-too-distant future", the soda can puppet launches the TV3 Catalunya logo puppets into space, trap them inside a satellite, and force them to watch all kinds of movies in order to measure how much bad movie watching it takes to drive a person crazy in order to pinpoint the perfect kind of movie to use as a weapon in the soda can's scheme of world domination. Also make occasional appearances in some episodes is a disembodied female voice whose primary role is to announce the start of the first commercial break in each episode. The three TV3 logo puppets have no control over when the movies start. They must enter the theater when the movie is sent up, because the evil soda can has numerous ways to punish the TV3 logo puppets for non-compliance, including shutting off the oxygen supply to the rest of the ship and electric shocks. As the movie plays, the silhouettes of the TV3 logo puppets are visible at the bottom of the screen, wisecracking and mocking the movie (a practice they often referred to as "riffing") in order to prevent themselves from going mad. Several times during each movie (about every half-hour when shown with commercials), the talking TV3 logo puppets perform skits, songs, or other short sketch pieces (called "host segments") that are usually related to the movie they are watching. Many episodes without movies long enough to fill the show's runtime include screenings of unintentionally humorous short films or "shorts", including educational films and training videos.
Episodes of this series are wrapped with live-action skits performed by the cast, typically opening with a sketch unrelated to the remainder of the episode, followed by an introduction to the movie. In many episodes featuring movies too short to fill the show's 2-hour running time, the movie will be preceded by one or more shorts, educational films, theatrical cartoon shorts, newsreels, or similar material in the public domain. Interstitial skits would be used around commercial breaks, and a final skit ended the show. Skits would often, but not always, be related to the shorts or movies being shown. Many skits would feature "guest characters" (often from or inspired by the movie being featured, or from a past featured movie), often by way of the sattelite's "Hexfield Viewscreen" or external camera named "Rocket Number Nine". While these are generally played by the ABC crew in makeup.
Shows almost always end with the soda can "pushing the button" to terminate the transmission. Almost all shows feature a stinger following the end credits of the show, typically a short humorous clip from the film.
The end of the introductory sketch would end with lights and sirens on the bridge flashing and the crew running around in a panic and announcing that "We've got movie sign!". The scene will transition from the bridge to the theater via a "door sequence", where the camera will pass through six doors before the theater is revealed; similarly, the reverse of this shot is used to transition from the theater back to the bridge. In the theater, the TV3 logo puppets sit in silhouette in a row of theater seats and watch the movie, often using their hands to point and mock the movie in addition to their verbal riffing. The silhouette approach is trademarked as "Shadowrama", and really is just a simple row of rounded shapes cut from black painted foamcore board, with the black-painted versions of the puppets used. This allows for the puppeteers to watch the movie and read from their script while creating the illusion of a theater setting for the show.