CheckPoint is one of two successor shows to the Escapist News Network, the other one being Feed Dump. The show debuted on Penny Arcade Television on May 9, 2011 and is LoadingReadyRun's first series to premier on the network. CheckPoint features the same team that wrote and produced ENN (Graham, Kathleen, Jer and Paul) and is for all intents and purposes its direct spiritual successor.
Checkpoint is, for the most part, a "return to form" of the dry, satirical humor of ENN prior to attempts to retool the show to appeal to a wider demographic of The Escapist audience. A typical episode tends to follow the same fixed format.
- The episode opens with the CheckPoint logo before a brief "Today" intro plays that includes a voiceover and videoclip relating to that episode's feature story before moving directly into the opening credits.
- After the credits the camera cuts directly to both Graham and Kathleen at the news desk where the duo introduce themselves.
- Approximately the first half of the show consists of between four and seven news stories, reported alternately be Graham and Kathleen. The first sentence or part is almost always true; this is followed by 'merciless joking' for the rest of the story. In addition, each story features a corner image and one or more lower third jokes, and may include an extra video segment.
- Most of the rest of the video is taken up by the Feature Story. Whichever anchor's turn it is will introduce the story, then pass it to a field reporter (usually Jer) or pre-recorded video segment. Feature Stories are always at least mostly false, and usually completely so, even if they are loosely based in fact.
- Finally, the anchors will end the episode with their parting line or lines. The credits will roll, and then a short "Coming Up" segment will play, highlighting another news story that allegedly will be discussed in the next episode.
Differences from ENN
Although CheckPoint is a spiritual successor to ENN, it is not a direct "copy and paste" of the series from The Escapist onto PATV. There are a few key differences between both shows.
The largest departure of CheckPoint from it's predecessor is it's visual style, and for good reason. ENN was branded as being The Escapist's own news show, so in line with that it carried The Escapist's brand name and trademark "E" logo as well as the site's blue-and-white color scheme. Because so much of ENN's design aesthetic was based off of the partnership with The Escapist a complete "facelift" was necessary.
CheckPoint uses a strong contrasting color palette of bright shades of red and yellow in hand with a more neutral gray and white. This color scheme, which is used to color in solid shapes (usually in layers) without any type of outline, creates a visual style that some forum members have described as being reminiscent of Persona 3 and 4.
While ENN had a "grander" opening relying heavily on pre-rendered computer graphics to emulate and parody professional news outlets, CheckPoint's opening is much simpler. Each episode starts by quickly displaying the CheckPoint logo before shifting into the "Today" segment, which acts as a cold open for the episode. This quick blurb briefly highlights what the episode's feature story is before a quick opening sequence plays, which consists only of the show's title card and silhouettes of the CheckPoint team (Kathleen, Graham, Jer and Paul in that order).
The ending credits are an even bigger departure. Unlike ENN, which was known for having conversations between Graham and Kathleen during the credits after the studio lights have dimmed, CheckPoint transitions directly a brief credit sequence that quickly lists off all appearances, writing credits, and so on before moving onto the "Coming Up" segment, which is functionally the same as the "Today" segment except that it's narrated by the opposite anchor and acts as a stinger.
ENN's theme was originally created in house by The Escapist's Ian Dorsch to fit with the "major network parody" theme, but like everything else designed to go along with the ENN license it couldn't be carried over. Instead, the theme for CheckPoint was made by long-time friend of LRR Bradley Rains. The theme is much more upbeat to match the show's brightly colored and minimalistic art style.
Thus far, the only recurring character from ENN to appear in CheckPoint is Rex Carnegie. It is unknown if more elementary characters like Ryan Quickbender or ChadX will reappear, or if segments like "Headshot" or "Quick's Picks" will be used in the new series.
- The silhouette of Jer in the opening appears to be the same picture used previously in the second ENN intro.