Friday, February 25, 2011

Exfanding Review: The Guild Seasons 1 & 2

Flashback just about a year ago, and your intrepid blogger had no idea what The Guild was, as evidenced by these two posts.

But Dark Horse was just about to release a mini-series, written by Guild creator and lead actress, Felicia Day, and the book sounded interesting. So I bought the series, enjoyed it thoroughly, and since its completion, I've gone on to order the various one-shots that have followed.

Even so, a year after first hearing about The Guild, and after following its quirky cast of characters in the comics (alliteration, much?), I still had not watched the (insanely popular) Web series on which the comics are based.

That is, until this past week, when I finally realized that I could pick the DVDs up on Amazon. What can I say? Sometimes it takes me a little while to get places.

As I've mentioned in past reviews, I really enjoyed the comic series despite the fact that I'm not a gamer. Sure, I've play (and still play, sometimes) video games, and I've even played a game of Dungeons and Dragons, but I haven't ventured off into the world of multi-player online gaming.

And I probably won't anytime soon, mostly because of how horrible I am at pretty much every video I play. Ask Nathaniel and his soon-to-be bride. In just over an hour's time, I manged to break every record ever at being killed in GoldenEye. And only sometimes was I killed by something/someone other than my own grenade launcher.


So, back to The Guild.

This show rocks. It's just...good. Well-written, witty, funny, and realistic. It's a slice-of-life show focusing on people we kind of know. Or we kind of are. And it doesn't make fun of us--sure, it pokes fun--but the show laughs with us, and not at us.

Like every great show or movie or comic or novel about geek culture, The Guild focuses on the geeks, and keeps the culture constantly playing, softly, in the background. The attention here is on the characters, and their lives. Sure, they do a lot of gaming, but the show is really about relationships and life.

Felicia Day's main character, Cyd Sherman (who goes by the online moniker Codex), is at a bit of a low point in her life. She's just been dumped by her boyfriend, and her therapist has decided to drop her as a patient. To counter all of this unhappy, Cyd throws herself into online gaming, where she's part of a guild filled with...interesting...characters.

There's Vork, the anal-retentive, socially inept combat leader, and Clara, the mage who might just be the worst mom on TV. Tinkerballa and Bladezz are the youngest members of the guild crew, and Zaboo is hopelessly in love with Cyd.

Real names and online aliases are interchangeable on the show, as season one revolves around the guild meeting--in person!--for the first time after playing together online.

While there are a couple of bumpy moments in the earliest episodes, the acting and the writing really finds its stride in season two.

Clocking in at 130 minutes over 22 episodes, each show in this two-season collection is fast-paced and tight, and the seasons flew by. I'm officially emotionally invested in these characters, and I'll be picking up seasons three and four (season four was just released on DVD this week).

You can get started on the series by checking out the official website, which has all of season four loaded up and waiting for you.

I'm very glad I found my way to this series, though that way was a bit longer than it could have been. I'd originally posted about the comic series as a way to introduce some of our gamer readers to the funny books, and the book ended up having the reverse effect on me.

Pretty cool.

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