Next New Networks today launched Hungry Nation, a move that will see it take on another niche audience, albeit one slightly less niche than those of Indy Mogul or Fast Lane Daily. After all, everyone’s gotta eat. And the series comprising the new online channel — Working Class Foodies and recent acquisition Vendr TV, with Lush Life co-production 12 Second Cocktails to come in October — are out to provide a down-to-earth take on the culinary experience.
As repackaged for Hungry Nation, Vendr TV has gotten an upgrade in its overall production, but otherwise remains largely the same as its previous independent incarnation, a fun and educational look at the world of street eateries. One big difference, though, is that host Daniel Delaney has finally gotten closer to fulfilling his promise of world travel; the first few episodes are derived from his recent West Coast tour, featuring food vendors from Seattle to Los Angeles. And there are also some pretty exciting cameos from the web video world, including Veronica Belmont and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Working Class Foodies has a strong premise: A brother and sister team up to create cheap, delicious-tasting meals using local ingredients. Overall, the documentary-style cinematography is fantastic, and hosts Max and Rebecca manage to perfect the balance between casual and engaging — the looser and funnier they are with each other, the better. Most importantly, the food they prepare looks flat-out delicious and attainable by us mere mortals, fitting perfectly with Hungry Nation’s tagline of “real people, real food.”
But it’s not perfect. For one thing, since when are an NYU-educated screenwriter and her unemployed poet brother considered to be working class? There also ought to be a direct link between the pages of individual episodes and the official blog, where entries include recipes for the featured dishes.
And don’t look too carefully at the background of the scenes in which Max and Rebecca sit “outside” and chat about the food they made, because it’s pretty clear they were actually shot inside against a greenscreen (complete with a poorly inserted “picnic table” foreground), making for an unfortunate blend of inauthentic and poorly produced. Given the show’s otherwise verité nature, those segments are jarring and really need to go.
But aside from these issues, it’s a promising launch with some interesting new talent and some incredibly yummy-looking eats. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have GOT to go get some lunch.