It’s not easy to find a good Web series among the clutter of video blogs and sheer nonsense on YouTube but I’ve come across a good one. The Guildrecently took home a Greenlight Award at South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual music and media festival. The show also won the Series category for the 2007 YouTube Awards with 39.9% of the votes. Felicia Day, who created and stars in The Guild, is no acting novice. She had an appearance on Monk and a recurring role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The series is described by Day as a sitcom about a group of online gamers who interact both online and offline. In the premier episode, Day’s character, Codex, is let go by her therapist because of her unwillingness to work on her online gaming addiction. By episode two, the group of gamers begin meeting weekly at a local restaurant since they live near one another but as you can probably imagine, the motley group have a hard time interacting in person.
The series premiered in July of 2007 and new episodes have since appeared once a month. Episode 1 has over 1.5 million YouTube views to date. Funding for the episodes comes solely from donations but you’d never know it judging by the relatively high production value. On Monday, it was announced that the PayPal button was taken down due to the large number of donations in reaction to the recent awards and increased press coverage.
According to NewTeeVee’s list of Top 5 Web Series Clichés, The Guild embodies two: loveable nerds and the use of Webcams. Day’s character, Codex, is an attractive, video-blogging nerd with a sense of self-deprecating humor reminiscent of 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon (played by Tina Fey). Not surprisingly, the actress has a cult-like following of admirers on The Guild’s online forum.