This ‘n’ That – The Guild, Starship Troopers Invasion, Archer

The Guild (all six seasons), Archer (four seasons), and Starship Troopers Invasion are currently available on instant Netflix.

The Guild

The Guild (2007-13) – Not rated

Fantasy and reality collide in this engaging Internet series that follows a quirky group of gamers, including Codex (Felicia Day) and Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh), as they struggle to balance real-world relationships with their commitments to playing an addictive online video game. Bound in a tight-knit guild dubbed the Knights of Good, these hopeless geeks confront stiff challenges from controlling mothers, rival factions and, at times, each other.

True story – my wife and I met playing Dungeons & Dragons in college. Admittedly I was the one playing while Jenny was visiting her father but later she joined the group. Many years later, the three of us used to play World of Warcraft far too much. I think that’s the only way people play that game.

Felicia Day started her own web series to lampoon her addiction to World of Warcraft. The Guild was funny and insightful. Jenny and I really enjoyed the first five seasons but we think the series may be played out now as the sixth season was very ho-hum.

Don’t be turned off by the time commitment – a season is only 45-90 minutes.

Archer

Archer (2009-13) – Rated TV-MA

Sophisticated spy Archer may have the coolest gadgets, but he still has issues when it comes to dealing with his boss — who also is his mother.”

I have previously reviewed Archer but now the fourth season is available. It has yet to wear out its welcome and the fourth season is still quite enjoyable.

Starship Troopers Invasion

Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012) – Rated R

A starship crew on a secret mission goes missing in a nebula, and troopers must embark on a rescue mission while also combating invading alien bugs.”

I’m not sure who the audience is for this film. Special effects aficionados will be disappointed that it is animated. While there are nods to Robert Heinlein’s original work, there is little of his work here.

Fans of Verhoeven’s snarky 1997 original will find that this continues the story of a few of the characters. Unfortunately they are voiced by completely different actors and all of the humor and satire have been stripped from the film.

I do have a few good things to say about Invasion. It is far better than the abominable, live action, direct-to-DVD Starship Troopers 3: Marauder. Invasion is competently made and animation allows them to show scenes that would have been prohibitively expensive in live action CGI. There just doesn’t seem to be much life in the movie.

 

Tons of New Movies on Netflix!

The 15th is not as good as the 1st of each month for movies but Netflix sure released a bunch of them.

Coach (1989-96)

This one was released and then yanked before but all nine seasons are back for those of you who are Craig T. Nelson fans.

Lots more Imax for those who want something to chill out to (or something to watch with kids that isn’t animated):

The Greatest Places (1999)

Search for the Great Sharks (1999)

Tropical Rainforest (1992)

Ring of Fire (1991)

If you finished with the first three wonderful Jesse Stone movies I recommended at the beginning of the month then try the fourth:

Jesse Stone: Sea Change (2007)

“Tom Selleck reprises his role as Jesse Stone, chief of police in sleepy Paradise, Mass. In this installment, Stone’s investigation into an old rape case is stonewalled as the town tries to keep the incident quiet to minimize the effect on tourism.”

For fans of The Guild, the fifth season is available. For those who don’t know, this is a very funny webisode series based on World of Warcraft. Each ‘season’ lasts about 45 minutes.

Grimm’s Snow White (2012) – Not rated

“Unrelated to the big screen versions of the classic story, this low budget tale of an evil queen determined to dispose of her beautiful stepdaughter, Snow White, introduces reptilian creatures and other twists.”

Yay! I finally learned my lesson. After a minute of opening narration that appears to be lifted from a Lord of the Rings ripoff, the credits begin to roll with “The Asylum Presents” – click went the remote. No need to invest another hour and a half of my time in this movie clearly designed to cash in on “Mirror, Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman” and perhaps the TV series “Once Upon a Time” as well.

Hint: Short of a Troma film, an Asylum film is about as bad as you can get.

The Guild – Videogames are bad for you week

This is Videogames are bad for you week. So far they have been horrid for me, I’ve been 0 for 4. Worst. Idea. For. A. Week. Ever. The Guild: Seasons 1 & 2 is currently available on instant Netflix.

The Guild

WATCH: The Guild: Seasons 1 & 2 – NR – Not rated.

“Actress and former “World of Warcraft” addict Felicia Day created and stars in this Web series about a quirky group of gamers who take part in all sorts of heroics online but are far less skilled at navigating real life. Day plays Cyd Sherman, a young woman whose virtual-world obsession has led both her boyfriend and her therapist to dump her — at the same time that her cyber-friend circle, or “guild,” has begun to acquire a life beyond the Net.”

“Don’t corpse camp that idea. It’ll never rez.”

“No screenshot but trust me it happened.”

“I guess my princess is in another castle.”

Okay thankfully we’re done with movie adaptations of videogames. Our last three items this week will be shows about videogames. Hopefully this new approach will yield better results.

While not a one-woman show, The Guild is written, produced and stars Felicia Day. She is absolutely wonderful – she has beautiful comedic timing and is charming as well. She was delightful in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog which is coming soon to streaming.

Being a former World of Warcraft addict, this is obviously a very personal project for Felicia Day. Our family plays World of Warcraft quite a bit so much of the humor and drama in the series resonates with me.

The seasons 1 & 2  moniker may throw you. These were individual shorts about 4 minutes long. The first season amounts to 45 minutes and the second runs an hour and 15 minutes. All in all, you have essentially a 2-hour movie.

Felicia does takes some license with the game for comedic value but most of it is pretty darn accurate. The different personalities are quite well modeled and are often right on the mark. Clara in particular is someone we knew in a former guild. The only thing really changed for dramatic license is that everyone lives in the same area.

The ensemble cast is wonderful. This is important since the majority of the show consists just of talking heads. Jeff Lewis is quite retentive as the guild leader Vork. Sandeep Parikh is nicely annoying as Cyd’s wannabe love interest. Robin Thorsen, Amy Okuda, and Vincent Caso round out the guild as Clara, Tinkerballa, and Bladezz.

There are countless wonderful World of Warcraft analogies that probably make this more of a recommendation to other players. This earns a hearty recommendation for any current or former roleplayers. Also it earns a thumbs up for those of you who enjoy nerd culture.

To those not into online gaming or geekspeak, give it a try anyway – this is clearly a labor of love.

People Watch: Bladezz’ (Vincent Caso) little sister Dena is played by his little sister, Tara Caso. Apparently in the third season, ubergeek Wil Wheaton guest stars but that is not available on Netflix.