The PBS Renaissance, Mario Bros. and Surrealist Art

It would be easy to think that when I say PBS is having a renaissance that I mean the recent success of tv shows like Downton Abbey and Sherlock. Yes, Downton Abbey had better ratings than many cable darlings, including Mad Men and the truly clever modernization of Sherlock Holmes has led to CBS launching their own version of the Holmes stories, with Lucy Lui cast in the role of Watson for a twist. 

But the renaissance I am talking about is how PBS has embraced the internet. For more than a year has been the home to some fantastically produced online-only programming that enhances the vision and mission of the tv channel exploring relevant cultural and technological themes and ideas in ways that would not necessarily make sense on the tv channel. 

Until the end of the month they are hosting the PBS Online Film Festival. They have already produced a season of Off Book, an original series that expands on the definition of art, and have released the first episode of the second season. Recently they launched the Idea Channel, a new show that examines the connections between pop culture, technology and art. Watch the premiere episode below: 

We all know who the Mario Brothers are but have you ever stepped back and tried looking at those games from a fresh perspective? Like you’ve never seen or heard of them before? Pause for a second and don’t think about the gameplay you remember fondly. Think about it. There are armored turtles who stand on their hind legs and steal princesses. There are bullets with faces. Mario Bros is not just a game or nostalgic memories of playing with friends, Mario Bros is surreal art at its best. Surreal art you can play. 

Hosted by Mike Rugnetta
Made by Kornhaber Brown 

(Thank you Lisa Romagnoli for the introduction to the series.)

Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit

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