THE GUILD: SEASON 6: airs on Tuesdays at Geek & Sundry on YouTube
BOTTOM LINE: The sixth season of "The Guild" delivers several positive changes and will surely please long-time fans. (based on ep. 1-5)
The Guild Season 6: Web Series Synopsis
Felicia Day's The Guild isn't just a web series, it's a symbol. What started as a crowd-funded season 1 became a Microsoft sponsored hit and eventually the flagship program on the YouTube funded Geek & Sundry channel. The Guild is online video royalty and Felicia Day is the queen.
For those new to The Guild, the show chronicles the real world lives of the Knights of Good, a team of Warcraft-esque gamers led by Codex (Felicia Day). These social misfits have become family over the past 5 seasons surviving overbearing mothers and husbands, rival guilds, and celebrity cameos.
Season 6 picks up on the heels of the gaming convention featured in season 5. Codex begins her dream job as the assistant to The Game's director, only to discover he's terribly cruel, insecure and withholding an epic underwater expansion pack . The rest of the Knights of Good are buddying up: Bladezz, the airhead hunk, moves in with the stay-at-home-mom Clara. Love interest Zaboo tries to crash in Vork's garage. And Tink continues manipulating men to maintain her lifestyle.
The Guild has always been about multiplayer teamwork but Season 6 begins with a differnet direction and explores Codex's single-player journey to a day job. Additional changes include new director Christopher Preksta (SyFy's The Mercury Men) and a shnazzy new opening titles sequence (hardcore fans will miss the cheap indie animations). All these changes are largely positive and prove The Guild can evolve, introduce new elements and still remain true to its geeky heart.
Watching Codex experience both the wonder and disappointment of what really goes on behind the curtain at The Game offices are especially delightful and comedic. The Game's Director (Ted Michaels) and Producer (Alexandra Hoover) are both superb and standout in episode 2's underwater expansion pack meeting. These office scenes are so well constructed, the subplots can't help but feel weaker even though they're largely engaging. Clara and Blades provide a few laughs with self-aware jokes like getting rich from cat and baby videos. But Zaboo/Vork and Tink's story lines are notably underwhelming.
While these early story lines are wholly engaging, they didn't feel quite cohesive or part of a bigger picture. Previous seasons benefited from devices that kept the team centralized like waiting in line for at Gamestop or bunking together at Megagame-o-ramacon. Preksta and Day understand where the story is strongest and wisely bring the characters together again in The Game's office early in the season. Some episodes have odd structure and pacing (feeling like 2-3 scenes from a 30-minute TV episode) but on the whole Day's writing and acting continue to carry the show in charming ways.
Like Season 5, it's clear The Guild has benefited from it's home at the YouTube funded, Felicia Day co-founded Geek & Sundry. The production value is certainly on the higher end of web series but the show intentionally keeps an indie flavor. The art direction in The Game office is knockout and it's clear the producers were keen to make this feel legitimate. Acting, writing and direction are all exceptional and on par for what you'd expect from The Guild at this point. It's a gold standard in web programming.
Video Box Office (Marketing & Promotion)
As with any show in its senior seasons, attracting new audiences is no longer part of the main strategy. Satisfying your fan base is. Kudos to The Guild team for striving to deliver quality content when they could easily get comfortable (see: lazy). The Guild should expect moderate view numbers and high engagement from the core audience it's built over five seasons. Don't expect too much marketing and advertising toward audience development. Additional licensing windows and brand friendly content should provide long-term monetization opportunities.
Web Series Grade = A-
Webseries Review Key Points:
+ Funny, endearing and lovable even in it's sixth season
+ Production value and performances are stellar
+ Felicia Day's story is efficient and well structured
- Slow start and sometimes oddly paced
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