It’s baaaack! The award-winning comedy web series “Shelf Life,” returns for an all-new fourth season beginning today. This hilarious and inventive show follows four tiny action figures on a young boy’s self – until now. For the first time, the gang leaps off the shelf and into the real world offering up a whole new set of issues and antics.
The show stars Travis Willingham as ‘Hero Man’, Bryan Enk and Dee Bradley Baker as ‘Samurai Snake’, Tara Platt as ‘Hero Lass’, and Yuri Lowenthal as ‘Bug Boy’, with returning guest Phil Morris (“Smallville”) as Black Velvet. And, there will be plenty of celebrity guests this season along for the ride, including by Jennifer Hale (“Mass Effect”), Amber Benson (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Grant Imahara (“MythBusters”), Kirsten Vangsness (“Criminal Minds”), Miracle Laurie (“Dollhouse”) and more.
We recently caught up with Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt, who not only star in but also co-create and produce the show, to find out more about the new fourth season of “Shelf Life.”
What can viewers expect during this new 4th season of “Shelf Life”? Any surprises?
TARA: The show will be off the shelf, literally. We take the four characters on the adventure of their plastic lives as they get off the shelf and start exploring the world of the house, investigating places like the bathroom, the upstairs attic suitcase and leftover toy set, the couch as well as a couple other crazy spots.
YURI: In addition to the new locations, there are a slew of new characters they get to interact with in the adventures, which not only expands the world for Hero Man, Hero Lass, Bug Boy and Samurai Snake, but also expands who they are in the world. There will definitely be some surprises, from guest star appearances to longer story-lines. As one of our directors for Season 4, Travis Stevens, says, “Some shows jump the shark, we are the first show the shark jumps the show!”
The series has gained numerous awards and fans during its first three seasons, do you feel any pressure on the show to maintain this stellar reputation or do you just try to create something you’d want to watch?
YURI: Sure, we think it’s hard not to want to please the people who have been supporting the work we’re creating. But at the same time, we have to trust that our creative intention, which has been received positively so far, will continue to do so as it expands.
TARA: But we do think your first order of business is to create something you are passionate about and that you would want to watch yourself, and you can’t try to make your work cater to everyone, as that will just water it down your unique voice, and who wants that? But, that doesn’t mean that you don’t feel you have a responsibility to the work and the show.
What inspired you originally to come up with the idea for “Shelf Life”?
TARA: It’s funny, we joke about how seeing as how Yuri’s the one with all the action figures he really should have come up with it, but I (Tara) did.
YURI: We were actually in prep on a different show and were working one day in our studio and Tara was thinking how she wished we could do a “simple” show and the idea for the four action figures on a shelf just popped into her mind. Now, obviously it isn’t quite the “simple” show we’d originally planned, but the idea was so fun, that once Tara’d said it aloud, we jumped on it, and said “we have to do that!”
Are you planning a 5th season? And, how do you top what you've already done?
TARA: Ha! Yes. That is a really good question. We would love for a wealthy sugar daddy to call us and throw lots of money at us to produce a killer Season 5, or a sponsor to want to sponsor us.
YURI: If that doesn’t happen, then out of respect for the show and its viewers, we will definitely do a fifth season so that we can wrap up the open-ended storylines. It might not be quite as crazy as Season 4, but it won’t lose the wild wonderful characters that the show is known for. We’ve already got the season arc planned out, in fact!
You’re both voice-over stars with tremendous credits under your belt, so be honest, do you like working on-camera or as a voice artist better?
TARA: Well, for me, I think that although they are both acting (much like painting and pottery are both visual arts) they are different to work on. I love getting in costume, being on set and working on a character within the “world” of the character and the imagination. So often with voice-over, you are alone in a booth only using your imagination but not reacting off outside stimuli, and I love that. If I was told I could never work on-camera/on stage again, I would be heart-broken. That said, I love the work that I do when I get to work as a voice actor.
YURI: They both feed me in different ways, so it’s hard to say. Live performance feeds me in a different way than on-camera, which, in turn feeds me in a different way than voice acting, even though they all come essentially from the same place. I’d hate to have to give up one for the other. I have to say, though, voice acting has allowed me the freedom to create characters I’d never get cast as in the “real world.”
Any other projects you’re working on?
TARA: Well, we actually just got to shoot an episode of Hawaii Five-0 together, which will air on March 25th, and I am in the feature film The Call that is coming out March 15th. We both have several voice-over projects that will be out soon, but those are strict NDA’s so we can’t talk about them. In addition to Shelf Life, we are finishing up post on our second feature film Con Artists, which will be screening at conventions late spring.
YURI: I’m finally publishing a novella I wrote with a friend years ago and just had a short film script produced in which I also starred. I’m still working on Ben 10 and a host of other video games including Saints Row 4 and Wildstar among others. And I keep writing.
And, how can fans keep up with you?
TARA: We are very accessible online.
Twitter I’m: @taraplatt and Yuri is: @yurilowenthal.
The show is: ShelfLifeSeries.com
On YouTube: YouTube.com/ShelfLifeTHESeries
FB: Facebook.com/TaraPlattfans or Facebook.com/TheYuriLowenthal
Thanks, Tara & Yuri! We can’t wait to jump off the shelf with you!