The San Diego Comic Con was full of celebrities last week, but geekdom has its own celebs that most mainstream people know nothing about. Take “The Guild,” for example. It was once a lesser known online sitcom about the lives of MMORPG nerds (online gaming like World of Warcraft), and it has turned into something of a widespread sensation in the geek world. It is now about to go into its third season, and few panels grew so substantially in the past few years as “The Guild.” Two years ago people barely knew what it was; this year, it was placed in a large room at con and was completely full within minutes.
“The Guild” was an idea made by “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” alum Felicia Day, a gamer who is fast becoming an idol for geek girls everywhere. She stars and directs the webisodes herself.
The show is about a guild, a group of online roleplayers who chose to work together in game, and how one day their real life meets their online life. Codex (Day) vlogs about her day and the game until fellow-guilder Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh) shows up at her door trying to court her. He’s mistakenly believed they are in a relationship because of online flirting, and she reaches out to the rest of the guild to get help with the situation. The others include callous Tinkerballa (Amy Okuda), leader Vork (Jeff Lewis), delinquent Bladezz (Vincent Caso) and not-so-motherly Clara (Robin Thorsen). In the first season the guild meets for the first time in real life, fight off Zaboo’s controlling mother, and deal with some inside-problems with Bladezz.
The second season began with a great deal more notice and affection from new fans. It’s won some web awards and was appealing to a wide YouTube audience that fell in love with these quirky and relatable characters. In many ways “The Guild” characters are stereotypical MMO players; they are socially awkward, nerdy, and obsess over their chosen game. However, these are not your typical living-in-mother’s-basement stereotypes; there are three female gamers, each intelligent and forceful in their own way, and all the characters are very human and self-deprecating about their love for geekdom. “The Guild” honors its characters and its fanbase just as much as it playfully (lovingly) mocks it.
When the second season began, Microsoft announced that they created an exclusive deal with Felicia Day. All of the episodes premiered on the Xbox 360 (XBL), Zune, and MSN first before eventually being published on the official website. The episodes were free but had some advertisements. “The Guild” also released two holiday specials, a Christmas one plus a reinterpretation of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” with geek-specific references. With season three coming up very soon, the panel was full of energy and spark with the cast promising four major surprises.
They did not disappoint! The panel at Comic Con began with a special music video co-written by “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” staff member Jed Whedon (brother to Joss Whedon). The music video included the cast dressed up as their characters and Felicia Day showed off her musical pipes by singing it herself. When this comes out officially the internet will probably explode with laughter and delight, because it really was hilarious. The cast appeared at the panel in the same costumes. The next surprise was the first episode of season three as the characters wait for the newest expansion pack to the game. The third surprise was that Wil Wheaton of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” fame will be guest starring as a rival Guild leader. The final promised surprise was that Dark Horse Comics plans to make a comic series of “The Guild.”
This web series basically embodies everything that is great and worthwhile of the geek culture. It is clever, humorous, self-deprecating, and fun. It is not relegated to geeks alone, however; it should speak fairly well to the mainstream audience, if not as well. There are some references that might sail over your head, but the awkwardness and chemistry between actors should be enough to amuse you. “The Guild” is truly the champion of Comic Con, proving that the geek fandom can be powerful and lucrative with the right inspiration and creativity. Look it up online or check out the official website at www.watchtheguild.com. Catch Guild Fever!