Last week, John announced matter-of-factly that The Talk Show would no longer air on the 5by5 network, and would be joining the lineup at the fledgling Mule Radio Syndicate. Dan does a great job at 5by5 of emphasizing that the star of each show is who makes the show what it is. Nonetheless, Dan’s personality is unavoidably material to the mood and progression of these shows, so it’s safe to say that The Talk Show’s departure from 5by5 marks the end of an era.
– Daniel Jalkut, The Talk Show with John Gruber
When I first mentioned Gruber leaving the 5by5 network in my Sunday Readings series, the Internet was abuzz with reaction and second-guessing the motivations behind him switching networks. Nearly a week later, we have been able to listen to two full episodes of the new show (Ep 1, Ep 2), and also have heard Dan Benjamin give his thoughts about the move in a 5by5 Special. People are starting to create some conclusions on what the new show is about, while the rest are still hating on Gruber for making the switch.
Daniel Jalkut is the developer behind MarsEdit and also sponsored the latest episode of the Talk Show. In contrast to what a lot of commenters are saying (on his post, Twitter, podcast reviews on iTunes), Jalkut seems to be in favour of the move because it gets the real content away from Benjamin who was blocking the progress of the shows.
I think this does a bit of a disservice to the role Benjamin plays on these shows (including Build and Analyze, Back to Work, Hypercritical, etc). In shows like Hypercritical, Dan plays the role of the comma while John Siracusa takes a pause to gather his breath before the next paragraph. In Build & Analyze, I think he helps Marco Arment delve a little deeper into the subject, or helps clarify things for the non-developer listeners. Dan is present, without making himself seem present.
I am waiting to pass judgment on the new Talk Show for now. It has only been two episodes, and they have been in contrasting styles, in my opinion. The first episode is a bit rambling and all over the place. The second is a bit more controlled, because the guest Adam Lisanger played the role of Dan Benjamin, probing Gruber for more, getting him back on track with his thoughts, and so forth. It’s also a bit disappointing for a show that was recorded on Wednesday to be released on Friday, and include a music interlude while Gruber watched a trailer.
I do hope the Talk Show improves its production value in the future. I also hope that it doesn’t necessarily re-capture the spirit of the old show, but it discovers an identity that is better than what has been on display the first two episodes.