Felicia Day as "Codex"/Sid
Sandeep Parikh as "Zaboo"
Jeff Lewis as "Vork"
Amy Okuda as "Tinkerballa"
Robin Thorsen as "Clara"
Vincent Caso as "Bladezz"
When I previously reviewed the first season of The Guild I was somewhat torn, I enjoyed the show, completely approved of the web-release method and found the dialog hilarious. On the other hand I also found some parts of the show a little inaccessible as it was heavily orientated towards people who play Massively Multiplayer Online Games, I had to Google many of the acronyms and terms used for quite some time and I found the character 'Zaboo' annoying beyond belief, far more annoying than he was intended to be (yes, he is meant to be an annoying character, but you don't want a character so annoying that the viewer wants to switch off instead of hearing what he has to say.
So I had good and bad things to say about the show, but on the whole the good outweighed the bad by a fair margin.
What about the second season? Well, I feel that it's important for the second season of any show to work on it's weak points while still delivering the good stuff in spades. I'm not so bothered about 'raising the stakes' as such, but I do like to see an improvement across the board combined with an interesting story.
The second season of The Guild continues the story between Codex, Zaboo and the other members of the Guild, but has it managed to improve on the points I felt were weak first time? Yes, easily a thousand times yes. For a start the dialog and terminology was far easier to follow and understand this time, I suspect that's in part because I put the effort into learning some of it, but it also felt that the show had 'met me halfway' by toning down some of the geekiest language. Likewise Zaboo was moved a little further away from Codex and given a chance to properly interact with other members, the combination move in with Vork was a stroke of genius, those two characters play off each other exceptionally well. Indeed many of the funniest scenes involve these two interacting, Vork's obvious discomfort with Zaboo's unintentionally homo-erotic dialog and actions was a joy to see.
Bladezz was a little better used in this season as well, in the first season he was mostly used as the "villain" of the piece, his actions forcing the members of the Guild to come together in the first place. But here he was shown in a more normal light, his chasing after Tinkerballa, her manipulation of his affections and his final act in retaliation was a nice b-plot to contrast with the Codex/Zaboo one. But possibly my favourite moment was when he attempted to hustle Vork and Zaboo in poker only to have Vork's incessantly pedantic nature outplay him due to stats and odds.
While I've not written much about her here Clara was also quite brilliant, she hasn't changed too much from the first season, but when you have something which works well you shouldn't change it too much. She remains a self-absorbed, vindictive individual clearly in the throes of arrested development, her 'griefing' of Vork for his in game decision was exceptionally funny, as was her 'woo-girl' reversion when organising a small girl's night (which she degenerated into a full blown party).
From a technical standpoint as well the show has improved, not just the inclusion of Fernando Chien as Wade (who brought some awesome asskickery to the show) and not just in the technical editing and camera work. But also in the distribution, putting the show onto XBox Live for download was a fantastic move and I applaud it with great gusto.
In short the second season of the Guild improved on everything right across the board, it moved a little away from it's MMO roots and as such it managed to broaden all of it's characters while additionally making the show more accessible and a lot funnier to boot. I always thoroughly approve of web-based shows, I feel they are showing us the future of media and the potential involved in online projects. Felicia Day and the entire crew involved in the show are to be congratulated on an excellent show in new media. I'm confident that the third season will be even better than the second one was.
Watch the Guild: It's not just for gamers.
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