TV Review: The Guild - The First Three Seasons.

Technically, this isn't really a TV Review, per se, because it isn't for a TV show. It's for a web-series. I just recently got into this show. I'd heard of it before, mostly due to the commentary tracks on the Dr. Horrible DVD where they mention it (as Felicia Day stars in both). But I'd never gotten around to watching episodes. That is, until I saw them available through Instant Streaming. I watched the first season, thought it was alright--not what I was expecting, but fun. Then I watched the second season and was hooked. I went straight into the third and loved it. Let me explain briefly, though, how I went through these so quickly: each season is very short. The first season is only 40-something minutes; the second is a little over an hour; the third season is a bit longer than the second. So, essentially, watching a season is nothing more than watching a mini-movie.

So now I'm going to discuss the first three seasons in a bit of detail. But first, let me explain who everybody is and what the main point of the show is. The main character of the show is Cyd Sherman, also known as Codex (Felicia Day). She's obsessed with a World of Warcraft-type computer game (based on Felicia Day's actual past obsession with WoW) and plays a Cleric. She has an group of online friends that play together in a "guild," where they meet up at certain times of the day and quest together in game. Her guild-mates are the other main characters of the show.

First we have Sujan AKA Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh), a hyperactive, super-creepy stalker with an obsession with Codex. He plays a Warlock in game. Then there's Herman AKA Vork (Jeff Lewis), the Guild Leader, who is a middle-aged, balding man who believes in structure and rules. He plays a Fighter. Next in line is Simon AKA Bladezz (Vincent Caso), the only teenager in the group, and he often says perverted and/or rude things. He plays a Rogue. Then there's Clara... real name Clara (Robin Thorsen). She's a housewife with three kids, and she's horribly neglectful of them for the sake of the game. She plays a Mage. And, finally, there's Tinkerballa AKA Tink (Amy Okuda)... her real name is never stated. She's very distant and cold and often bitchy. She plays a Ranger.

Now that that is out of the way, let's get into each season.

Season One

Every episode opens with Codex talking to her webcam, usually talking about something that just happened (in the previous episode) and leading into the current one. She knows she has problems, but she can't get over them to the point where even her psychiatrist wants nothing else to do with her. The story kicks off when the guild realizes that Zaboo hasn't been online for about a day and a half--and then he shows up at Codex's front door. Having confused their online chats as flirting, Zaboo enters stalker mode and becomes obsessive with her, but Codex is too timid to kick him out or do much else about it.

Meanwhile, in their game, Bladezz gets himself banned for cussing. Codex, realizing that this is a great excuse to get everybody together face-to-face, schedules a real-life meeting with her guild (as they've never met outside the game). Of course, she has ulterior motives: first, she really wants to have her guild help her figure out how to get Zaboo out of her house; second, she wants to please her psychiatrist, who figures she should socialize outside of the internet.

Unfortunately, Vork announces that he had transferred all the guild funds to Bladezz's account, and they can't kick him out without losing everything they have. Bladezz, upset once he finds out about the attempted coup, begins to slander all of them. And things are only made worse when Zaboo's crazy mother shows up.

The interesting thing about the show is that every character is flawed--and I mean flawed. These aren't people (except maybe Cyd/Codex) that you'd be friends with on normal circumstances. Codex doesn't really have social skills (and I probably connected with her character the most because of this). Zaboo is a total creepo. Vork is overbearing, anti-social, and lives in a shed. Bladezz is just your typical a-hole teenager. Tink is bitchy for almost no reason (though she has some "good" moments). And, probably worst of the lot, is Clara--incredibly negligent of her young children, and in normal cases would probably be stripped of her family. However, despite these characters having these serious flaws, they're hilarious. The flaws are essentially the forefront of the show, as these characters have to learn how to start living life and being more sociable... and, of course, dealing with each other.

This is very obviously a first season. It's lower budget, and it takes a while to get the feel of the show (for both you and them). But the overall story is a good way to get to know the characters. And, by the end, pretty much all the stories are tied up. It's a decent season, but out of the first three seasons, it's definitely the weakest.

Season Two

Picking up not too long after the first season, Codex is now in a new apartment, as Zaboo's mother's antics caused her to lose her house. Zaboo, of course, follows her to her new place. But now he has some competition in the form of a good looking, martial-artist, stunt double named Wade (Fernando Chien). Codex, finally getting fed up with Zaboo, tricks him into leaving by saying he needs to "level up" before they can be at the same place be together.

So during this time, Vork volunteers to house Zaboo... of course, being bribed by in-game gold. And while he's gone, Codex can start trying to get Wade to take interest, but eventually finds out he has a "stupid hot tall girl" for a roommate, and while they aren't dating, they are friends with benefits.

In-game, the guild finds a special orb and Vork puts it up for bid. Clara and Tink fight for it, but when Clara's kids ambush her and distract her, Tink wins it. Vork refuses to re-auction it, and Clara vows revenge on Vork by bringing in a second character he doesn't know about and continually killing his character.

During this, Bladezz shows his interest in Tink, and Tink--despite being disgusted by Bladezz--decides to flirt back. She has him buy a ton of stuff for her, inevitably having him max out his mother's credit cards... and then gives him nothing in return.

Everything culminates when their server declares that it's going down for 4 hours due to maintenance, and the girls decide to have a party where truth comes out and revenge is both sweet and devastating.

This season was very good. Pretty much everybody has a side-story going on, and they all come together very nicely at the party at the end. It's actually kind of funny that the orb that Clara and Tink fought over has to do with side quests, and, really, this season is just a mix of "side quests." There really isn't one primary story, yet they're all equally important. And unlike the first season, this one doesn't have a happy ending. You might think Clara gets away unhurt in all of it, but her regrets come full-force in season 3... same with Zaboo, technically.

This season also had a more obvious bigger budget. On the cast commentary, they declare they went into HD, so that's one thing. They also gain an animated intro and theme. But you can also tell just from the locations. You get to see Vork's entire house, for instance. Oh, and the stuff between Vork and Zaboo is downright hilarious.

Season 3

This season picks up a couple days after the last one, as everybody is waiting in line for the release of the new expansion for their game. Vork has been camping out in front of the store for days (despite not needing to). Unfortunately, another guild--the Axis of Anarchy--cuts in front of them and starts trouble. The Axis of Anarchy includes the leader, Fawkes (Wil Wheaton), who often quotes philosophers, authors, etc.; Venom (Teal Sherer), the only girl in the group, who happens to be in a wheelchair and uses it to their advantage; Bruiser (J. Teddy Garces), a police officer who is the most visibly ferocious of the bunch; Kwan (Alexander Yi), a Korean man who has a woman named Nik with him to translate; and Valkyrie (Mike Rose), a wannabe jokester and closet homosexual.

The tension between the two guilds builds throughout the season as the Axis of Anarchy begins to take their trouble-making outside the game and targets Bladezz, getting him into some serious trouble. And on top of Bladezz getting tortured by the Axis, he's constantly annoyed by his younger sister.

Meanwhile, Vork decides to step down as Guild Leader due to Clara's antics in the previous season, making him go on a journey of self-discovery. When the guild chooses Codex to become their new leader, Tink gets upset and decides to quit and join the Axis of Anarchy instead. Zaboo has also become preoccupied as he attempts to balance gaming with his incredibly domineering new girlfriend, Riley (the stupid tall hot girl, played by Michele Boyd).

On top of all this, Clara's husband finds a picture of her making out with Wade at the party. He almost leaves her, but she begs him not to (mostly so there can be somebody to take care of the kids while she plays the game). He stays, but only under the promise that they do more things together. Inevitably, Clara talks him into starting to play the game and eventually the guild, though he's terrible at it.

Everything continues to get worse, and the guild continues to fall apart. Codex struggles to find a way to keep the guild together, bring Vork back as the leader, break up Riley and Zaboo, get Tink to come back, and stop the Axis from destroying Bladezz's life.

This is definitely the best season. It has a solid story and some really good character development. Clara actually shows that her family is at least somewhat important to her (kinda), and Brett Sheridan, who plays her husband, is funny. Codex shows that there might be some kind of feelings for Zaboo after all (or at the very least, he's growing on her and she cares for his well-being). Zaboo begins to understand that he has to think about himself sometimes and look after his own well-being... not to mention there are some people that are crazier than he is. Tink and Bladezz both see that sometimes you can go too far (building on their actions from the previous season). And Vork realizes that, while everybody might dislike him, that's what makes him a strong leader (it makes sense in the show).

There's also some good suspense in this season. You feel really bad for Bladezz and hope he gets through things alright. And then the finale is great with a big battle royale between the two guilds. This season also really amped up the language. There is a large amount of cussing this season, which took a while to get used to, but it isn't really all that distracting.

Overall, this is an excellent season, and it made me really excited for the fourth season.


I watched the first three seasons through Instant Streaming, but I immediately went out and bought the first two seasons on DVD (they do sell them separately, but they also came out with a release that has them together). The only reason I haven't bought season three is because it's not available in any nearby stores right now, and I'll have to order it online. There are some excellent extra features on the DVDs. There are tons of bloopers, a table reading, audition footage, multiple commentaries, and much more (even some hidden things).

I suggest checking out the show free either online (YouTube or their website) or via Instant Streaming. If you enjoy it, definitely buy the DVDs, as there are some good special features. I'd say it'd be your kind of show if you like gaming or Felicia Day, but the former isn't really a necessity (I mean, if you hate Felicia Day--though I can't see how--you probably aren't bouncing in anticipation for this show). The show is more about the character interactions than the actual gaming (you never even actually see game footage or anything). I mean, it'll probably be funnier if you're a gamer, but I can see people enjoying this show and not being one. So yeah, check it out. And finally... this picture... mostly because Tink looks hot in it (though, unfortunately, you never really see anything like this within the show):

(P.S. Season 4 is currently being released online on a, I believe, weekly basis.)

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