On Cinema (also called On Cinema at the Cinema for the video series) is an American comedy web series and podcast starring Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington. The duo appear, using their own names, as a pair of hapless movie reviewers to promote new film releases. The show started as an independently released podcast from 2011 to 2013, before being picked up as a professionally produced web video series by Thing X in 2012–13 for its first two seasons, then moving to Adult Swim.com in 2013.
|Genre||Comedy, film, satire|
|Directed by||Eric Notarnicola|
|Opening theme||"Enjoy The Show" by Joseph M. Saba and Stewart J. Winter|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||11 web seasons|
1 podcast season
1 limited event (video series)
|No. of episodes||47 & 14 specials (podcast)|
110 & 17 specials (video series)
|Production company(s)||Abso Lutely Productions|
|Original network||Podcast: Independent
Video series:Adult Swim.com (Thing X from '12–'13) & YouTube
|Original release||2011–2013 (podcast) |
2012–present (video series)
On Cinema at the Cinema has a 'fictional universe' centered on it, including the podcast, as well as 11 seasons of the video series, a spinoff limited series entitled "The Trial", a spinoff series, Decker, a movie review app, an On Cinema Live! tour, and a film entitled Mister America.
On Cinema also features a myriad of guest actors, some of whom play fictionalized versions of themselves, including Joe Estevez and Mark Proksch. The show and fictional universe have a dedicated cult following of fans who play along with the storylines via social media, often taking sides as "GreggHeads" or "TimHeads". Heidecker and Turkington also started Decker-Con, where they appear in character and interact with fans.
Early podcast episodes of On Cinema were usually no longer than one or two minutes. Heidecker and Turkington would "review" films without actually providing any meaningful information or critical insight. Nearly every film that has been discussed or mentioned on On Cinema has received a perfect "5 bags of popcorn" rating, regardless of the film's real reception.
With the series' growth into an online video series, episodes grew to an average length of ten minutes. Although reviewing films remains the central conceit, the focus of the series quickly shifted from a mockery of amateur podcasting and YouTube criticism to an extended, improvisational character study of the two podcasters. Heidecker, in character on On Cinema, frequently uses his time on camera to discuss anything on his character's mind except film, such as his bizarre ailments, personal crises, and right-wing political views, or to simply berate and belittle Turkington. Turkington's character fancies himself a "film expert," his only qualification being an enormous collection of forgettable mainstream films from the 1980s and 1990s on VHS. The series continues to provide reviews that purposely offer no real critical insight. Later seasons have seen Tim lose interest in reviewing movies, instead creating a TV show, Decker, and starting a rock band, Dekkar.
Guest appearances have included Jordan Hoffman, Jimmy McNichol, Joe Estevez, Lawrence Turman, Sally Kellerman, Candy Clark, Mark Proksch, John Aprea, Peyton Reed, Keith Gordon and Nicholas Meyer, some of whom also appear in the Decker series.
Tim Newman (né Heidecker)Edit
Tim is the creator and host of On Cinema and the CEO of 'HEI Inc.' Despite his role, he appears to know very little about the films he is discussing, often showing complete disdain for film in general. Tim regularly uses the show as a public platform to bully Gregg, voice his far-right conservative views, or promote his other creative projects (despite his mastery of none of them). These include alternative medicine, his action web series Decker, his book Hog Shots, and his band Dekkar. Tim is an aggressive, egomaniacal drug addict and alcoholic. He is extremely open about his personal life, devoting large portions of the show to his various health problems, addictions, and family troubles, much to the chagrin of Gregg.
Tim has been married at least three times. His first marriage ended in divorce between Seasons 2 and 3 after receiving brain surgery, which his wife morally objected to. Tim later reveals he has an estranged teenage son from a previous marriage. Tim met his second wife, Ayaka, while she was staying with his family as a foreign exchange student. Ayaka and Tim's child, Tom Cruise Jr. Heidecker., died shortly after his birth following Tim's stubborn refusal to have him vaccinated. Their marriage rapidly fell apart following Tom Cruise Jr.'s death. Tim's various addictions spiralled out of control, becoming cold and abusive. He engaged in numerous affairs and his eventual forced Ayaka to abort their second child. After their divorce, Tim dated Juliana, the sister of fellow Dekkar band member Axiom.
Tim has committed numerous crimes throughout the series, including property damage (mainly the destruction of Gregg's film collection), arson and manslaughter of 20 people, leading to his brief ejection from On Cinema and the events of The Trial. Following this, Tim ran an unsuccessful campaign for District Attorney of San Bernardino against his own prosecutor, DA Vincent Rosetti, depicted in the film Mister America. Tim was aided by Toni Newman, the one juror to find him innocent of the charges levelled against him. Toni and Tim later married (once at the end of season 11, and again during the 7th Oscar Special, where Tim took the surname 'Newman'). Following his failed political career, Tim eventually reacquired the On Cinema brand.
In the brief instances when Tim does appear to show interest in film, he has suggested that his favorite actor is Tom Cruise (or Tom Hanks and Kiefer Sutherland on some occasions) and that his favorite film is Jack Reacher. He is an avid fan of Tom Clancy, regarding him as a great author and political commentator. Clancy's works, and the television series 24, in particular the character of Jack Bauer, are clear influences on Decker. In the 2016 presidential race, Tim endorsed Donald Trump, describing his opponent Hillary Clinton as a criminal and calling for her to be sentenced and executed.
Gregg is a regular guest of on On Cinema, sometimes acting as host (though Tim vehemently denies this) when Tim is unwell or incarcerated. Gregg is a film buff and self-titled 'movie expert', looking upon actual "experts and film scholars" with disdain and uncertainty (likely stemming from a confrontation with Lawrence Turman, who derided his abilities as a reviewer). Despite his clear antipathy towards Tim, not to mention the near-constant abuse he suffers under him, Gregg repeatedly returns to On Cinema in the hopes that he will be made co-host. Gregg displays no empathy or interest for Tim's life. Almost nothing is known about Gregg's personal life. He is mainly quiet and withdrawn, actively avoiding confrontation, redirecting almost every conversation into a movie reference and regarding real-world events and documentary films as pointless distractions. He has an extensive collection of VHS cassettes which he refers to as 'The Victorville Film Archives', boasting that it's the largest film archive in America. The exact size of his collection remains unknown as Gregg has not yet opened it to the public. It has also, on multiple occasions, been destroyed by Tim.
Gregg believes that On Cinema should be devoted exclusively to film criticism, despite his obvious lack of critical insight. Though not as openly hostile as Tim, Gregg is often stubborn and passive-aggressive, insisting on his incorrect knowledge when challenged and quietly criticizing Tim when he steals the limelight. He produces a number of segments for the show, such as Popcorn Classics, where he will briefly discuss a film from his library, and On Cinema On Location, where he will go to various streets in Los Angeles where unnotable films were shot. He plays a secondary character on Decker, the "Master of Codes" Special Agent Jonathan Kington. The character of Kington has proved to be a source of controversy within On Cinema, with Gregg boycotting the Kingsman and Star Wars franchises, believing them to be plagiarisms of his character. Gregg wrote and directed the third season of Decker, Gregg Turkington's Decker vs. Dracula, a lengthy and ambitious project that would see the Taliban joining forces with Decker to defeat Dracula. Of the series' projected 20 episodes (including a 2-hour finale), only four were released. The series was cancelled by Tim, citing Gregg's "lack of professionalism" as the main factor in his decision, even though it was the highest rated season. During Tim's tour with Dekkar, Gregg hosted his own show Our Cinema with Mark Proksch: a micro-budget production frequently interrupted by Tim's abusive phone calls.
As the series has progressed, Gregg has shown himself to be as sociopathic as Tim. Between the 5th and 6th Oscar Special, Gregg stored a comatose Mark Proksch in his apartment, denying him access to medical treatment and eventually using a still-unconscious, intubated Mark as a prop for a "Living Oscar" segment (dressing him in a gold leotard and face paint, propped up on a sack truck). Following Mark's eventual revival, Gregg continued to manipulate him, setting him up as a street vendor for bootleg VHS cassettes (which Gregg mistakenly believed were public domain), leading to Mark's arrest and possible death. During the 7th Oscar Special, Gregg left his 'Mobile V.F.A.' (a car filled with VHS cassettes) running in the studio, causing a toxic buildup of carbon monoxide, rendering the entire studio of presenters and guests unconscious and resulting in the deaths of a production assistant and a caterer.
Gregg's favorite film is The Hobbit, describing himself as a "Hobbit Head" and campaigning, every year, for the Academy Awards to recognize Peter Jackson and give the Best Picture award to The Hobbit trilogy, believing that the Academy has "a write-in section".
Dr. Luther SanchezEdit
Played by Zac Holtzman. Luther Sanchez, commonly referred to as "Dr. San", was a practitioner of alternative medicine, serving first as Tim's acupuncturist and later as his family physician with the birth of Tom Cruise Jr., responsible for convincing Tim not to vaccinate his child. He was for all intents and purposes a con-man, tricking Tim out of large sums of money for sub-standard acupuncture treatment with dirty needles and providing him with toxic vape pens, which would later cause the deaths of 20 people at Tim's 'Electric Sun' music festival. Though he frequently attempted to escape prosecution, he was eventually caught by police and taken into custody, committing suicide by hanging himself in his cell.
Ayaka Heidecker (née Ohwaki)Edit
Ayaka Ohwaki, originally staying with Tim's family as a foreign exchange student, became Tim's second wife and mother of Tom Cruise Jr. They dated briefly before Ayaka moved back to Japan, only to reunite after a heartfelt plea by Tim during an episode of On Cinema. Tim was by all accounts a cold and sometimes abusive husband, made worse by the death of Tom Cruise Jr. During Tim's trial for the manslaughter of 20 people at the Electric Sun Festival, Ayaka revealed that Tim forced her to abort their second child, thereby terminating their relationship. Since the Trial, it is assumed she has moved back to Japan to live with her family.
Much like Tim and Gregg, Joe Estevez, an American actor and the younger brother of actor Martin Sheen, portrays a fictionalized version of himself. He is a close friend of Tim and Gregg, becoming the second most regular guest on On Cinema. He is friendly and forbearing despite Tim's uncertain temperament and numerous drunken tirades. He was one of the first actors to join the cast of Decker, supporting Tim in his efforts to make a feature film before the project became a web series. He plays a recurring role as President Davidson and his son, President Davidson Jr.
Tom Cruise Jr. HeideckerEdit
Tom Cruise Jr. was Tim and Ayaka's son, named after Tim's favorite actor Tom Cruise. He died of an undisclosed illness after his father, under the supervision of Dr. San, refused to vaccinate him. Tim hotly contests this, claiming that Tom Cruise Jr.'s death was caused by a fatal buildup of black mold at Gregg's beach house, still believing vaccines to be dangerous and unethical. In the On Cinema Fourth Annual Oscars Special, Tim has 'resurrected' Tom Cruise Jr. as a fully-grown CGI mannequin for the benefit of himself and Ayaka, and later at his wedding to Toni Newman. 'Tom Cruise Jr.' encourages his parents not to mourn, announcing that he has become happy and successful before fading away warning others not to vaccinate their children.
The character Mark Proksch, played by actor Mark Proksch, is an aspiring comedian and one-time On Cinema and Our Cinema host. Mark was originally hired by Tim and Gregg to perform impersonations of famous actors (such as Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, and the Three Stooges) for the Oscar Specials, to play various characters in the series Decker, or to perform other menial tasks like concession store cashier or waiter, despite his lack of acting skills and general clumsiness. He regularly experiences verbal and physical abuse at the hands of Tim. During the Fifth Oscar Special, he fell into a coma after being locked up in a scuba suit with no oxygen and is revived by accident during the New On Cinema Oscar Special. Gregg kept a comatose Mark in his apartment and during the New Oscar Special he is used by Gregg as a prop Oscar Statue despite Gregg having full knowledge of the severity of his condition. He was accidentally resuscitated by Tim during the Oscar Special, apparently sustaining some form of brain damage, leaving him extremely quiet and docile. He was arrested at the end of season 11 for selling pirated VHS cassettes at the behest of Gregg, and was assaulted by drug addicts while in custody, causing him to fall into another coma. It was announced by Tim and Gregg over Twitter that Mark died shortly after this incident. However, later tweets reveal that Mark is not dead, but roaming the streets of LA.
Played by Alessandro Serradimigni. A guitar player Tim met at Guitar Center. The second member of Dekkar, and part of the touring On Cinema Live show. At one point, Tim became romantically involved with Axiom's sister, Juliana. During The Trial, it is revealed that Axiom donated his hand to Tim via a hand transplant. He was appointed as one of the first board members of 'HEI INC.', along with Joe Estevez and Manuel. In between the 11th Season and the 7th Oscar Special, Axiom cut ties with Tim and Manuel following the dissolution of Dekkar. He eventually returned for Tim's wedding, saving the unconscious guests from the excess carbon monoxide fumes produced by Gregg's 'Mobile VFA'.
Played by Manuel Giusti. The third member of Dekkar, and part of the touring On Cinema Live show. Much like Axiom, Manuel is overwhelmingly loyal to Tim, embarking on numerous doomed creative ventures with him, including a guest appearance as Special Agent Jonathan Kington on the film-within-a film In Service to Our Flag shown in the fourth season of Decker. He was the best man at Tim and Toni's second wedding.
Rafael Torres (nicknamed "Daffy Raffy", or "Pretty Boy Torres" by Tim) is the new host of On Cinema. Following Tim's dismissal from the series, after the show is bought out by 'Delgado Media Holdings'—an organisation headed by the father of one of Tim and San's victims—Torres is announced as the host for the 'New On Cinema Oscar Special'. Unlike Tim and Gregg, Torres actually displays a degree of professionalism and composure, easily brushing off Gregg's numerous jabs and contradictions during his introduction. Following this, however, Tim and his friend Mike crash the recoding armed with pepper spray and a spurious court order, hijacking the special and forcing Torres out of the building. Towards the end of the evening, Torres returns with several police officers. In Season 11, he files a lawsuit against the Delgados (and by extent Hei Inc.) for an assault he claims Tim inflicted on him during the Oscar Special.
Played by Terri Parks, Toni first appeared on the movie Mister America and continued on the main show. Toni was originally a juror in Tim's trial for murder who voted not guilty because she believed in his innocence. She was subsequently hired as the campaign manager for Tim's district attorney campaign, then as the CFO for Tim's new company. They married at the end of season 11 and again during the 7th Oscar Special. While Toni is more competent than Tim in some areas, she is often equally disorganised and doesn't hesitate to employ illegal tactics to achieve her ends.
Michael "LaRue" MatthewsEdit
Played by Michael Matthews, LaRue was originally a bit actor from the TV show Decker, and was subsequently hired by Tim as his bodyguard and private detective. Michael is a right-wing militant who believes in various conspiracies theories typically found on the Internet and is regularly sent by Tim on errands to obtain dox/personal information on his supposed enemies. He's also a gun enthusiast, which starts the On Defense series, host of Xposed, and an amateur rapper that performed with Tim's new band DEK4R.
|First aired||Last aired|
|Podcast||47 (& 14 specials)||September 20, 2011||April 22, 2013|
|1||10 (& 1 special)||December 2, 2012||January 17, 2013|
|2||10 (& 4 specials)||February 7, 2013||April 25, 2013|
|3||10 (& 1 special)||July 7, 2013||December 18, 2013|
|4||10 (& 1 special)||January 8, 2014||March 12, 2014|
|5||10||July 2, 2014||September 3, 2014|
|6||10 (& 1 special)||February 4, 2015||April 8, 2015|
|7||10 (& 1 special)||September 9, 2015||November 11, 2015|
|8||10 (& 1 special)||March 2, 2016||November 11, 2016|
|9||10 (& 1 special)||February 26, 2017||May 15, 2017|
|The Trial||6||November 15, 2017||November 28, 2017|
|10||10 (& 2 specials)||January 16, 2018||May 25, 2018|
|11||10 (& 2 specials)||January 25, 2019||November 27, 2019|
|12||2 specials||December 19, 2019||TBA|
The On Cinema podcast was produced independently by Tim and Gregg. The podcast consists of Tim, along with Gregg as a "special guest" for every episode, covering movies poorly and with little insight, and often engaging in arguments. Gregg later developed a more pretentious "film buff" persona, and Tim took a turn to being obnoxiously political, sometimes devoting entire episodes to conspiracy theories, much to the chagrin of Gregg.
A running joke that was carried over to the video series is Gregg's confusion between Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, stubbornly insisting that Tim is the one with the movies reversed, rejecting any evidence to the contrary.
Starting this season, the show is now in video format via Thing X.com, as well as having its name changed to On Cinema at the Cinema. The series is similar to the podcast, taking place on a set meant to look like a movie theater. Gregg is still never acknowledged as more than a guest, and begins his weekly segments "Popcorn Classics" and "On Cinema On Location" where he brings in forgotten VHS movies to showcase, and travels to filming locations of obscure movies, respectively. Tim begins using "60 second soap box" to talk about current political issues with a conservative narrative, much to the continued annoyance of Gregg. With the start of the web series, Tim uses a rating scale of "bags of popcorn" ranging from 0–5. While Gregg respects the limit of five, Tim often goes overboard giving "6 bags" or dozens more, creating tension and confusion throughout the show. Almost every film gets a score of "5 bags" - known as a 'five-bagger' - or higher from both reviewers.
Tim reveals he has blood clotting in his brain but rejects surgery because of "side effects, the whole medical industry, and Obamacare", while Gregg pushes for him to get surgery. In episode 208, Tim introduces the first special guest, Ayaka, a foreign exchange student from Japan staying with Tim's family.
The first Live On Cinema Oscar Special airs, where Tim and Gregg livestream the Oscars and drink champagne. Tim gets very drunk and vomits on some of Gregg's VHS tapes which causes Gregg to walk off the set.
Season 3 moved the series from Thing X to Adultswim.com. The season begins with Tim in a head bandage and clearly in pain, as he went through with the brain surgery, although his wife divorced him for this choice. Gregg begins his goal of watching "500 movies in 500 days", hoping to make the Guinness Book of World Records. Tim kicks Gregg off the show after Gregg drives all the way to San Francisco for an "On Location" segment, to rebuke Tim & (incorrectly) insist that San Francisco was the location of Star Trek II.
John Aprea and Ayaka are guests on the next episode, where Tim reveals he is dating Ayaka. In the season finale, Gregg returns to the show as Ayaka was deported back to Japan.
Tim begins season four with many health problems and introduces his personal doctor, Dr. San (Zac Holtzman), an alternative medical doctor treating Tim with acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and other "natural" remedies. Dr. San begins coming onto the set with Tim, despite Gregg's objections. However, Tim's face becomes infected from the acupuncture and he denounces Dr. San.
Ayaka sends a letter to Tim on the show, announcing she is pregnant with Tim's child.
The second Live Oscar Special, Tim and Gregg drink champagne (with Tim, again, getting belligerently drunk). Mark Proksch is introduced for the first time, doing impersonations of W.C. Fields and Charlie Chaplin.
Tim moves to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and buys a motorcycle to commute back and forth to Hollywood for the On Cinema taping. He becomes a proponent of 'simple living' and state rights, embracing his Republican values.
Tim announces that Ayaka has had an abortion, despite remaining pro-life on the topic, saying "when you are in that situation, choices have to be on the table." However, Gregg interviews Ayaka via Skype from Japan, revealing she gave birth and named the boy Tom Cruise Heidecker Junior, after the actor Tom Cruise. Ayaka moves back to America with Tom Cruise Junior, and into Gregg's apartment, after Tim denies paternity. This upsets Tim and he moves permanently to Jackson Hole. In the season finale, he makes Gregg host of the show and hands off all responsibilities to him.
Gregg begins his first season as host, but after he is unable to find a guest, he interviews himself on a pre-recorded VHS tape.
Tim returns as host in episode 602 after he realized his new friends in Jackson Hole were white supremacists. He rekindles his relationship with Ayaka, and moves into Gregg's apartment with her and Tom Cruise Junior. In the season finale, Tim proposes to Ayaka and she accepts.
The third Live Oscar Special airs. Tim tries to avoid getting drunk with "Organic Champagne", not realizing it's still alcoholic. Peyton Reed comes on the Special to promote his new film Ant-Man and announces that Gregg has been cast as a minor character in the movie, which upsets Tim. Mark Proksch impersonates the Three Stooges, one at a time. In the finale segment, Gregg introduces James Dean, the former actor who was believed to be dead since 1955. After reading on a message board about how Dean faked his own death and wrote a memoir called "I'm Alive: How I Faked my own Death" he brings Dean on set as his return to the public. Tim does not believe this is the real James Dean, leading to him verbally and physically threatening Dean before trashing the set.
Gregg moves to Victorville, California and opens the Victorville Film Archives in a storage locker, where he also lives.
Tim gives Ant-Man a rare one-bag of popcorn which upsets Gregg, leading to him accusing Tim of paying $15,000 to have a minor role in the new Fantastic Four movie, which Tim denies.
After meeting a man at Guitar Center named Axiom, Tim starts a rock band named "Dekkar" with him. Their debut single Empty Bottle is released on the show, which upsets Gregg as it is not movie related and was played instead of his Popcorn Classic segment.
Gregg tells Tim that Dr. San, who Tim has been looking for since he infected Tim's face with dirty needles in acupuncture in season four, is Ayaka's boss at her job. Tim walks off the set angry that he had not realized this. However, the next episode is "The Doctor San Forgiveness Special" where both Tim and Dr. San forgive each other. Dr. San takes over as Tom Cruise Junior's new pediatric doctor.
By the season seven finale, Tim announces that Tom Cruise Junior has died. He plays a musical tribute to his son with Axiom and Dr. San.
The fourth Live Oscar Special is the biggest one yet, with periodic musical performances by Dekkar (much to the annoyance of Gregg), the "Oscar Olympics" featuring three games, officiated by Joe Estevez, and a DNA test by Dr. San of James Dean, which proves that he is in fact, James Dean. Tim hides the fact he has been drinking alcohol during the Special while no one else is, and he becomes angered by the DNA results. He proceeds to kick Dr. San off the set. An animated rendering of Tom Cruise Junior as a young adult comes on stage, in which Tim and the animated Tom Cruise Junior come out against vaccination.
Season eight moves the show to Victorville, where Tim has now moved into the storage unit with Gregg. Together, they buy an abandoned movie theater and open it as the "Victorville Film Center" where instead of playing new releases, a nightly showing from Gregg's VHS collection of Popcorn Classics is played. Attendance is minimal because of the obscurity of the films. Mark Proksch is hired as a concessions cashier.
Dr. San prescribes Tim a "nutritional vape system" in which Tim replaces all meals and food with an electronic cigarette full of supposed nutrients. However, Tim's physical condition worsens as the season progresses, as he comes to the set sweating, bruised, hallucinating, and unfocused. Despite this, he continues to use his nutritional vape system. After he cannot take the physical pain and symptoms of the vape system, Tim goes to an actual doctor who informs him the vape and his blood are full of LSD, cocaine, and multiple other drugs – both legal and illegal. Tim quits the vape system and swears off Dr. San once again. Tim announces that Ayaka is pregnant with their second child. After Tim tries to get Ayaka to get an abortion, she leaves him and moves back to Japan. Tim begins a romantic relationship with Axiom's sister, Juliana.
A fire is started in the storage unit after Tim's vape pen overheats one night, burning the entire facility down including the Victorville Film Archive. Tim suffers third degree burns on all of his body, including his face and hands. After insurance will not cover the cost of the fire, he returns to the show in bandages so he can keep working to pay for the damages and lawsuits, which exceed $1,000,000 according to Gregg.
However, in Tim's return to On Cinema, he is surprised by an intervention by Gregg, Joe Estevez, John Aprea, Mark Proksch, Ayaka, Ayaka's father, and Axiom. They encourage Tim to live a healthier life, which upsets Tim. He yells and kicks everyone but Axiom out, and announces plans to start an electronic music version of Dekkar, now called "DKR".
The season finale ends with a remixed, electronic version of Empty Bottle and Tim announcing that Juliana is now pregnant with his child while Ayaka will go through with her pregnancy too.
Season nine begins with Gregg informing the audience that the Victorville Film Center has burned down while he speculates Tim may have done it to collect insurance money.
After Gregg and Tim move back to Hollywood, Tim opens up "Six Bag Cinemas", a new movie theater concept with recliner chairs and a waiter (who is Mark) that brings food to customers during the movie. Gregg constantly criticizes the theater and food.
After Tim stops using the facial cream for the burns on his face, his skin dies and he needs a skin transplant. After a selection process in which Tim volunteers most of the potential donors himself, Manuel from DKR is chosen and donates skin off of his lower back and buttocks to Tim.
Tim and Dr. San are arrested and jailed on murder and manslaughter charges. At Tim's "Electric Sun Desert Music Festival" in Apple Valley, California, Dr. San allegedly gave out free samples of his nutritional vape system, the same one Tim uses, resulting in 20 deaths. Gregg takes over as host with Mark as his co-host, and the two spend an entire episode blaming Tim instead of reviewing movies.
Tim returns on bail, and finishes the last three episodes of the season with Turkington. Together with his lawyer, Doug Lyman, Tim has decided to pin the 20 deaths on Dr. San and the Apple Valley authorities who did not respond in time. In the season finale, it is revealed that Dr. San has committed suicide in jail, and that the relatives of the 20 who died are now primarily blaming Tim for the deaths. At the end of the final episode, Tim reveals to Gregg that he will never forget what Gregg said about him on the show, no matter what happens to him.
A special event, titled "The Trial", began on November 15, 2017, streaming on Adult Swim's website with the trial of Tim Heidecker for the death of the "Electric Sun 20". Tim, frustrated with his attorney Mark Dwyer, decides to represent himself and proceeds to threaten the prosecution led by Vincent Rosetti and its witnesses, falsifies evidence, and is issued multiple contempt citations. Ultimately, though, Tim is found not guilty of the death of one of the 20, as that victim died of a heroin overdose. A mistrial is called for the remaining 19, due to a hung jury with 11 guilty and 1 not guilty verdicts. Gregg accuses Tim of bribing the juror who voted not guilty.
Director and writer Nicholas Meyer appears as one of the witnesses in an ongoing joke alluding to a long-standing disagreement between Tim and Gregg as to whether or not San Francisco is the setting for the film "Star Trek II." 
During the Fifth Oscar Special, Mark got locked tight into a standard diving dress while doing an impression of Richard Dreyfuss character in the Jaws movie and had to be hospitalized for asphyxiation.
Tim returns from the trial free from prison but facing a civil suit from one of the families of the Electric Sun 19. His assets, including On Cinema and Decker, are being seized and he claims he might soon be facing bankruptcy. After threatening to commit suicide and with help from his attorney Mark Dwyer, Tim manages to convince the Delgado family to let him try to earn money for them with his various assets. The Delgados and Tim's Attorney like the show after Episode 7, and hire Gregg as the managing editor of the newly incorporated Delgado Media Holding company, effectively giving him creative control of On Cinema.
The intro and production set have been upgraded, and the show now has a sponsor by the name of Rio Jenesis, a protein shake company that creates a "germ shield" which Tim is now consuming. Gregg begins writing letters to Tim Burton, questioning why he didn't work with Johnny Depp in Sherlock Gnomes. He also announces that he has resurrected his film archives, which appears to be several bins full of VHS tapes (later revealed to be stocked in Mark Proksch's hospital room) and is now collecting and wearing movie promotional hats to Tim's vocal displeasure. Episodes 4 through 6 were filmed in 360-degree video.
As of Episode 7, the show has returned to form with a stronger focus on movies than it had previously had in the last several seasons. However, this is in the context of Tim needing to turn the show around, with him openly discussing the possibility of suicide if it doesn't become more successful. The next three episodes, 8–10, saw Gregg's role on the show increasingly become that of the host, while Tim's role was diminished, allowing for more of Gregg's segments, including Popcorn Classics, to become larger segments in each episode. These changes coincided with Gregg's new role as the managing editor in On Cinema's parent company. In episode 10, the season finale, Tim threw a fit of rage and insulted the Delgados while announcing his wish to campaign for the post of district attorney of the San Bernardino County against the incumbent Vincent Rosetti as an act of revenge for his prosecution in the murder trial.
In July 2019, it was announced that Magnolia Pictures was going to release a feature film called Mister America, based on the On Cinema universe. The movie focuses on the storyline about Tim's failed campaign to become District Attorney for San Bernardino County between seasons 10 and 11. The film was directed by Eric Notarnicola and debuted on October 4, 2019 at Beyondfest, held at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre.
In between seasons, Tim has lost the DA election and is removed from On Cinema.
The Sixth Oscar Special is produced by Delgado Media Holdings, hosted by new arrival Rafael Torres but with Gregg otherwise in charge of the show. However, Tim eventually invades the broadcasting studio to take back control of the special and to promote conspiracy theories from QAnon. He also manages to erase Gregg's video tape collection with the help of a magnetic vest he wore for magnetic therapy purpose. Mark, having been comatose since the previous year's special and now used by Gregg as a "living Oscar", is resuscitated by accident.
Season 11 finally starts when the Delgados sell back Tim intellectual properties to him, having found nothing to do with those brands. Tim finances both the purchase and the production of the new season with the help of a suspicious online banking website called MoneyZap. As the season goes on, Tim is hit with debt from the Delgados' company, which Tim has renamed HEI Inc., a lawsuit from Rafael Torres, and substantial cash owed to MoneyZap, which has interest rates on its loans exceeding 300%. Toni Newman, the lone juror who voted not guilty and Tim's campaign manager from his failed DA campaign, joins HEI Inc. as its chief financial officer along with board members Joe Estevez, Axiom, Manuel, and militant conspiracy theorist Michael "LaRue" Matthews. LaRue joins Dekkar and they release a third version of Empty Bottle, with rap lyrics warning of the deep state. Tim also borrows LaRue's extensive firearm collection and non-fatally shoots himself in the neck while cleaning a rifle. On advice from Toni, Tim disbands Dekkar and fires Joe Estevez from HEI Inc. At the end of the season, Tim announces that he and Toni have married.
Gregg also starts his Mobile VFA, which actually consists of him simply selling his old VHS tapes on the flea market; he later starts up a VFA Classic Movie program, where he sells public domain movies with commentary dubbed over the originals, like The Affairs of Cappy Ricks or A Star Is Born, the latter of which gets Mark put in prison for bootlegging because they included the more recent adaptation in their line of products. Gregg reveals that Mark was beat up by fellow inmates while in custody, landing him in a second coma.
In between seasons, Mark has awakened and gone missing since being discharged from the hospital.
In the Seventh Annual Oscar Special, Tim has his marriage to Toni annulled, in order to stage a more elaborate second wedding with her live on the set of the Oscar Special. They are married again, with Tim taking on Toni's name, Newman (not realizing that it is not her maiden name but was instead taken from a previous husband). Gregg crashes the wedding dressed as the Joker, driving his car housing the Mobile VFA onto the set to celebrate the 39th anniversary of the film Arthur. Gregg leaves his car running throughout the special, causing the entire production crew and wedding party to eventually fall unconscious due to carbon monoxide poisoning and leading to two deaths.
Heidecker has stated that On Cinema was started out of a desire to mock the podcasting community. The first episode was recorded on the set of The Comedy, where Heidecker and Turkington were working together, after Heidecker proposed the idea between takes. In April 2017, On Cinema initiated a Patreon page for funding, most of it going to the Oscar specials, with some of the higher options including receiving producer credits, walk-on roles for the Oscar specials, or live custom Skype reviews from Gregg Turkington.
The show has a dedicated cult following of fans who interact with the storylines via social media, often taking sides as "GreggHeads" or "TimHeads" in the frequent personal conflicts between the hosts which are often only tangentially, if at all, related to films or cinema. During the annual live Oscar special, Tim and Gregg both frequently provide interactive elements via online polls for fans to vote on. This cult following is especially found on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, the latter through Gregg and Tim's respective profiles, of which Gregg has completely devoted to the persona of his alter-ego. Heidecker and Turkington have also appeared in character on the podcasts Kreative Kontrol and The Best Show in 2015 and 2017.
Heidecker and Turkington also started Decker-Con, where new episodes of Decker are shown to fans and the cast appears as their "On Cinema" characters to field questions.
In 2013 the On Cinema Film Guide app was released, featuring the voices of Turkington and Heidecker reviewing over 17,000 films.
For "The Trial", Heidecker and Turkington upended the traditional review aspect of the series, and staged an elaborate mock event where Tim's character was "on trial for murder" that lasted over a week. It received acclaim from observers, some of whom called it "brilliant" and "ambitious."
In 2018 and 2019, Heidecker and Turkington initiated a nationwide On Cinema Live! tour with special guests from the On Cinema/Decker universe such as Joe Estevez, the band Dekkar and special content created only for the tour, such as live reviewing various major release films, including Superfly, Mission Impossible: Fallout, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Ant Man & The Wasp.
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- Jim Vorel (8 November 2017). "Tim Heidecker Is On Trial For Murder in Adult Swim's Latest Web Stunt". Paste Magazine.
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