The Guild is a part of online geek legend, and I have long been a fan of the series. The fun examination of gaming culture, laced awesome dry humor galore, driven by the wonderful creative mind of Felicia Day resulting in an amusing and innovative representation of early 21st century internet and geek culture.
Beginning as a webisode series, The Guild follows main character Cyd Sherman, otherwise known as Codex, who is grappling with her obsession (addiction) with online gaming. Participating in a MMORPG (resembling World of Warcraft, but referred to only as "The Game" in the show), Codex is teamed with a guild known as the Knights Of Good.
The detachment of hiding away from other online personas from behind a monitor and keyboard becomes a shattered reality, as young and insecure (and overly obsessive) Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh), another member of the Guild, precipitously appears on Codex’s front door step. The forced nature of the crossed paths in reality prompts members of the Guild to break away from the safety of online anonymity and meet in real life. The face-to-face encounters force Codex to deal with aspects of real life in conjunction with the dramas of online life.
The portrayal of each Guild member, and the special guests (such as Wil Wheaton) that come in along the way, is highly individualized and amusing. While the characterization is stereotypical at times, it does work very well for the show with each person being steeply different from each other. Clara, played by Robin Thorsen, is highly entertaining as the “bad mom addicted to gaming”, and as it reflects a poor aspect of the obsessive nature of tech addiction, it functions incredibly well for the darker humor in the series. Thorsen delivers this role incredibly.
The quick editing of Codex’s “video blogs” in the series is also worth noting. While the main scenes are traditionally filmed, with the exception of the split-screen video chat style sequences; the singular video diaries by Felicia Day established the quick and static editing style later ripped off by countless YouTubers since the release.
What The Guild fruitfully accomplishes is capturing the essence of Early 21st Century Geek Culture. The premise of the show may focus centrally into online gaming, but the platform acts as a synonym for other online and tech addictions. Simultaneously, the series brings other popular aspects and memes from both internet and pop culture that many viewers can totally identify with.
The foundation for the series is truly Felicia Day as the driving force behind the story. Behind the scenes, her innovative approach to creating the show served as inspiration for countless other web shows that have since materialized online â€“ including one involving Doctor Horrible directed by someone called Joss Whedon. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Because of her determination, Felicia Day serves to not only be a true inspiration to her followers across the world, but she delivers solid writing with fantastic and comedic parodies of geek culture, coupled with her own outstanding performances on-screen. Bravo to you, Felicia, and we want more.
The lone criticism I hold about The Guild is that in the Netflix Streaming format, the mini-episodes are strung together as one whole film/season. While you might think this is a huge advantage, the end-result feels like static as one mini-episode transitions to the next. While the editing within each episode is superb, the transitions between mini-episodes are not very seamless in the longform presentation.
Notwithstanding this minor issue, The Guild is a highly enjoyable viewing experience. The cast and crew clearly enjoy working together, and the ongoing internet memes, geek culture, and popular references help carry the show, in addition to fortifying its comedic base. The Guild is definitely a worth addition to your queue.