In the hubbub of Game of Thrones‘ second season premiere, Mad Men’s fifth, and the sea of April Fools-related links, I wanted to make sure this didn’t slip through the cracks: Felicia Day and the producers of The Guild’s new Youtube channel, Geek and Sundry, is live and kickin’. There are only a few episodes up so far (as it premiered, like, yesterday) but I’m already hooked. Here’s why:
When I think of “a good television channel,” my brain leaps over all of the fantastic shows put out by movie channels in the past ten years, past my addiction to the Daily Show, past Syfy, the good idea that was never fully realized, and goes back to my childhood. Back to when channels like Nickelodeon and MTV produced interesting, sometimes experimental content that didn’t pander to their audiences. When producers had a lock on their demographic and sought variety within that demographic, instead of trying to appeal to as broad or generic a base as they can.
This, I think, is the strength of Geek and Sundry. It’s made by geeks, for geeks. There’s diversity within that niche, just as you’d find diversity at, say, a convention, but it doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. And for some people – self included – it just fits and instantly feels comfortable. Comfortable in a way I haven’t really experienced since I was young and couldn’t wait for the Saturday night SNICK lineup.
So, what can you expect to see on Geek and Sundry? Not all shows have premiered, and I’m sure more will be added in the future, but right now you can see:
Yes, you can find The Guild lots of places now, but it would be ridiculous if this show weren’t included in the lineup (you can really probably consider it the “first” G&S show). In addition to seasons past and present, there’s currently a music video up for a new single by The Guild crew. “I’m the One That’s Cool” is clever and catchy, and it’s not a stretch to call it a geek anthem. I expect it’ll get quite a lot of play in high schools everywhere, not to mention conventions, high school reunion parties, road trips… you get the idea.
It’s Felicia Day’s personal vlog, a format that feels quite familiar to viewers of The Guild. She answers viewer questions (in a weirdly literal sense), discusses her favorite things of the week, and takes us viewers on geek-related field trips. It’s like catching up with one of your friends.
Think Celebrity Poker Showdown meets tabletop gaming. Wil Wheaton gathers friends, introduces a game, and everyone settles down to play. This is possibly one of the most ambitious new shows, because making tabletop gaming fun to watch simply hasn’t been done. This show is clearly already striving to do the right things in terms of pacing, clear explanations, a fun group of people, etc, but I think it will settle in and get even better with time.
I’ll be interested to see if they try different approaches – for example, is it better to have a “newbie” or a table of old hands out for blood? Do they want to introduce lesser-known games to the audience, or go with one everyone knows, like Settlers, so we can focus on the funny and less on trying to follow along? It’s got a lot of potential, and I’m interested to see where it goes.
Dark Horse Motion Comics
If I’m being honest, it might have been this show that first got me thinking about the golden days of Nick and MTV – days where they were willing to be experimental, to try shows that were unusual. I don’t know that I would have normally sat down to watch this, because, well, I prefer sunshine and rainbows in my head like those Friskies cat food commercials. But I’m glad I did, and I can’t wait for Wednesday and the next installment.
Anyone who thinks you can’t get drawn in to a graphic novel should watch this. There’s some animation, but essentially you’re “watching” a graphic novel – a dark, creepy one. And the serialized nature of the show is also a perfect complement to the experience of reading comics. I may be watching between fingers splayed over my eyes, but I’ll be watching just the same.
What about you? Have you tried Geek and Sundry? Share your thoughts and opinions below!