With the thriving of YouTube and other social network sites, several original series are coming out of the woodwork. Among the oldest and most popular is "The Guild," a short-episode series that started in 2007 and focuses on six online game fanatics who join together as a team, or guild, "The Knights of Good." But the online game action is nothing compared to the personal drama when they decide to meet in the real world.
It's been growing in popularity with every season, and last year's fifth go-around was the biggest and best yet, not only introducing familiar characters to new experiences, but also featuring TV-star cameos including Kevin Sorbo ("Hercules"), Erin Grey ("Buck Rogers") and Nathan Fillion ("Firefly," "Castle").
In case you're not familiar with the show, we'll fill you in. The cast comprises the ever-anxious Codex (Felicia Day, the show's creator and writer), jumpy Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh), stingy, middle-aged Vork (accomplished actor/comedian Jeff Lewis), "trying-to-be-studly-but-failing" Bladezz (Vincent Caso), absent-minded mother Clara (Robin Thorsen) and spoiled diva Tinkerballa (Amy Okuda). If you haven't guessed yet, these are the names of their game characters, and how they address each other most of the time.
The first season had them meeting in person for the first time after long knowing each other only as gaming avatars. Every season brings a series of misadventures, including failed romantic connections, and dustups with a rival guild (headed by actor Wil Wheaton from " Star Trek : The Next Generation"). In the last season, they went to a gaming convention where Codex got a job with the company that created their beloved video game, only ever referred to as "The Game."
That's where Season 6 kicks off, premiering yesterday (Oct. 2) on Day and Wheaton's YouTube channel Geek & Sundry. Codex, still bewildered by her newfound employment, is met with hostility by certain co-workers. Vork is actually trying to pursue a relationship with Erin Grey's character, an actress named Madeleine, who he unexpectedly romanced at the end of Season 5. Meanwhile Zaboo, Bladezz, Tinkerballa and Clara deal with their own problems.
Despite a flashy revamped intro for Season Six, featuring better animation and a more rock-oriented theme, "The Guild" stays true to its hilarious origins. Credit Day, who continues to write and appear in each episode, for not straying from the path. She remains humble and self-effacing, despite her role as a geek heartthrob and her connection with " Avengers " director Joss Whedon. He cast her in both "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and his underground hit, "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," which, Whedon admits, was inspired by "The Guild."
The cast also cuts loose with a variety of fun video segments, whether they're holiday specials, bloopers or original songs. In fact, two of their most popular videos involve dressing up as their game characters: "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar" and "I'm the One That's Cool" (an ode to nerds who grow from being shy kids to popular icons).
If you somehow missed out on "The Guild" the first time around, no problem. The first five seasons are now available for streaming on Netflix, and you can find them on YouTube as well. (Various extras are also available through Geek & Sundry's channel.) They're also available on DVD, with a number of extra features, including full cast commentaries and behind-the-scenes extras.
And catching up is easy. Most episodes are well under 10 minutes long.
It's never too late to be a "Guildie."
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