Truly good TV shows are hard to come by. Truly good web series are even harder to come by. Simply put the series online are usually lacking in production value or truly good talent to be taken seriously. Or when they are well-produced, the concept is mildly interesting but not enough to be something you truly go out of your way to watch. Recently, however, original content produced by online groups and communities has taken an upswing and a large reason for that is due to The Guild. A series created, produced, and starring Felicia Day (most notably of Joss Whedon universe fame), The Guild centers on a group of MMORPG players who have their own local guild. A bit of a niche concept, but the internet is all about dialing in on ideas and concepts that are often focused towards one group anyway.
With over 50 million worldwide views, THE GUILD is one of the most popular episodic comedies on the World Wide Web—and now it’s back! Season 3 finds our favorite Guild falling apart after the disastrous party that ended Season 2. Waiting outside a gaming store for their game’s latest expansion pack, they encounter the Axis of Anarchy, a rival Guild led by Fawkes (Wil Wheaton, Star Trek: The Next Generation). Vork resigns in shame, leaving Codex (Felicia Day) in charge of keeping the Guild together in the face of Axis of Anarchy’s efforts to destroy them. Will the Guild members overcome their differences to survive? This DVD includes all 12 episodes from Season 3, along with an epic amount of exclusive bonus material not seen on the Internet.
After reviewing the first two seasons on the first DVD release, I immediately began following the web series once its third season began. It was a bit difficult to keep up considering the exclusivity agreement they made with Microsoft, but once I picked up a Zune HD (yes I bought a Zune) it became much easier to get the latest episodes when they first came out. It really was something I looked forward to as well, considering this season they brought in the nerd-tastic Wil Wheaton as the main adversary this season. It was a season-long arc too and it was definitely something that helped further propel the series already meaty viewership into something even grander.
There was plenty of character expansion this season as well—and that goes for everyone involved, really. Well, except maybe Tink (Amy Okuda) who actually sat out quite a few episodes and really just remained alienated from the group for the vast majority of the season (it served its plot point, but I can’t say I actually missed her…nothing against the character, she just always was the weakest link in the group I thought). Still, we got plenty of good exposition on everyone from Vork to Zaboo, as they all pushed along leisurely throughout the twelve episodes of the season (which somehow added up to over an hour and a half worth of material…crazy).
For those unfamiliar with the show it does admittedly slant to the female gender more so than the male (and yes, this is a show based around people who play a World of Warcraft like game for…well, for a living for some of them). So while there’s a healthy dosage of muscular male swooning and fawning, there’s still a trio of men who attempt to infuse testosterone in the series…although considering none of them exactly scream alpha male, that’s kind of a difficult thing to do. Regardless, it doesn’t matter—the series is truly entertaining no matter your gender, although you’re really going to have to have some knowledge about the world of MMORPG’s and general internet lingo to really get into the series.
There is also a definite “nerd” factor to the series to adjust to as well, but it’s all so easy to do for one simple reason: this show is really, really well done. Every one of the actors involved seem have to a terrific sense of humor and can ad-lib lines with the best of them (the extras on the set definitely show this off as well). On top of that the writing (what isn’t ad-libbed) is always sharp and witty, especially the opening segments with Day in front her webcam giving diary entries of sorts. While some of it comes off as overly cheesy on occasion, it’s rare as this series has the same wit and writing style of something like Big Bang Theory…just without the forced laugh track. And hey they both have Wil Wheaton as a adversary on both now, so double linkage!
Overall this third season took what was great about the previous two and only continued to amplify it further. A Highly Recommended series.
Like the last DVD set, this one was available previously on Amazon so the vast majority of its audience has likely already purchased it. Still, for those who didn’t, New Video pushes it out on a single disc DVD release that comes packed inside of a standard amaray DVD case. The menu system for the DVD is much nicer than the last release, but the extras count is still the same. Video this time around is significantly sharper and prettier than the last season, although the majority of it is pretty soft in appearance. Still, it looks pretty good nonetheless.
Extras are once again not only abundant but also very worthwhile to watch. Included:
Tips for Making a Web Video (14:41)
“Do You Want to Date My Avatar” Music Video (3:44)
The Making of “Do You Want to Date My Avatar” (6:12)
Halloween Video (3:47)
Guild Applicant Rejects (9:19)
How to Build Vork’s Sword; Audio Commentary with the Cast (8:26)
Audio Commentary with the Creator, Director, and Producer
Interviews with the Axis of Anarchy (13:47)
Gag Reels (12:07)
Script PDF File
There’s plenty to check out here for those who are fans of the series and the commentaries alone are worth the price of the set (a mere $15). Plus you get to show your support for a show that is made available free anyway, so…bonus!
Overall a solid set and one that comes Highly Recommended. There’s a couple hours worth of material here, all of it guaranteed to make you laugh (as long as you aren’t over 40 or completely oblivious to the computer age).
The Guild: Season 3 is now available on DVD.