Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Geek and Sundry: Gateway to a New Kind of Cool

By Julian

Leave it to geeks to try something new, weird, and pretty awesome.  The folks over at Geek and Sundry have put together an amazing “channel” of web shows that cover games, books, comics, and geek culture in a way that is more entertaining that I would have thought possible.  The shows are somehow charmingly low budget and fantastically well produced.  Founded by the producers of The Guild and spearheaded by famous geeks like Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, the shows are clearly a labor of love.  Drawing on their friendships with fellow actors and connections in the world of entertainment, Geek and Sundry manages to pull in an amazing amount of talent to create unique shows unlike any you would see on television.  And the best part?  They are absolutely free. Here are some of the highlights.


Okay, check it out.  It’s a 30 minute show where the host explains how to play a board game, and then you watch people play.  How does that sound?  Does it sound awesome? Because to me, as a premise, it sounds like I’ll really enjoy that 30 minute nap I’m about to take.  Which is why TableTop is, in my opinion, the crowning achievement of Geek and Sundry.  Wil Wheaton and the crew of TableTop manage to make watching others play a board game some of the most entertaining television I have ever seen.  I was shocked at how fun this show was to watch. I feel like they cracked some kind of code that has been too well encrypted to decipher until these brilliant geeks got a hold of it.  Wil Wheaton manages to cover the rules quickly and in a way that is easy to understand.   The players (many of whom are actors you will recognize) have entertaining personalities that are fun to watch on screen.  The show borrows from game show and reality TV sensibilities by giving the players plenty of “aside” moments to talk about how the game is going and who they most need to worry about defeating.  While they are obviously hamming it up and having a good time, it never gets too ridiculous.   They don’t manufacture drama or do anything overt to give a false impression of the game.  It’s an honest and entertaining look that is simply delightful to watch. 

The Flog

This is Felicia Day’s highly amusing video blog.  If you like Felicia Day (which you should) and think she’s adorable (which she is) then you will love these snappy 5-10 minute episodes of her trying out all kinds of new and interesting pursuits.  The format is pretty simple.  It opens up with Felicia running down her top 3 things she’s noticed across the internet in the last week.  It’s a recommended viewing list of stuff Felicia Day thinks is worth checking out.  Then the Flog really gets crackin’ into the main segment where Felicia learns or tries something new.  You get to watch her learning to forge, cooking a new recipe, doing a steampunk photo shoot or going into full on, foul-mouthed nerd rage as she plays old Sega games with her brother.  The show closes with a cute little shtick where she formally answers a fan question by typing a humorous response, sealing it with wax, and mailing it back to them.  Of course, a voiceover tells you, the viewer, exactly what she is typing.  The Flog just brings a smile to my face with every episode.  It has a lot of charm.  Felicia Day and her friends are a joy to watch and the show explores an impressive variety of fun activities.      

Written by a Kid

Have you ever had a 6 year old tell you a story?  It’s usually a bit meandering, but highly imaginative.  It’s weird, it’s quirky, and it doesn’t follow traditional logic or story structure.  Now imagine a movie producer heard that story and decided it would be box office gold!  He gets together a production crew, computer animators, and professional actors to make that 6 year old’s story a 4 minute major motion picture.  That seems to be the premise behind Written by a Kid.  Each episode opens up with the producers talking to a 5-10 year old child as they relate some fantasy or science fiction story from their own imagination.  Then they get a director, cast the roles, build sets and costumes, film it against a green screen and add tons of special effects.  For almost every episode, they also have a “making of” video as well.  It was astonishing to see just what lengths professionals in the entertainment industry went to bring a child’s story to life.  One of the episodes, called Fire City, stars Aaron Douglas who played “the Chief” on the much beloved sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica.  In Fire City, he plays a fire chief named Tychseria who lives in a strange country of the far flung future where fire trucks can travel at speed 1 million! The inside of his firehouse looks like a spaceport from Star Wars and it’s built into an elaborate city entirely made of firehouses.  By the end of it, Tychseria has become immortal and lives to see the end of the earth as it explodes in flames.  Each episode has a new fun story presented with an unbelievable level of prowess and production value.    This show will make you want to pay close attention the next time your kid starts telling that meandering, quirky little story.  If you don’t, you just might be missing something spectacular.

The Sundry

Geek and Sundry has a gaggle of other great shows.  It hosts The Guild, Felicia Day’s famous comedy web series about a group of MMO RPG players.  Dark Horse has a whole heap of animated comics for Hellboy, Conan, Usagi Yojimbo, and other stories I had never heard of before.  Sword and Laser is a sci-fi and fantasy book club hosted by Veronica Belmont and TomMerritt.  Their most recent episode had a great interview with LeVar Burton about his time on Star Trek and the return of Reading Rainbow as an iPhone App.  Coming up later in the year is the release of Learning Town, a musical comedy show about reviving educational shows of our youth.

Geek and Sundry is a fantastic new venue for geek entertainment.  It’s also in that beautiful and exciting early stage of existence where it’s still exploring the possibilities of what it can do and reaching out to fans for support.  I love its focus on community focus.  Geek and Sundry is currently trying to reach 500,000 subscribers.  I’ve only been checking out Geek and Sundry for a couple weeks now, but I’m already convinced that it deserves as much attention as it can get for the innovative entertainment it provides.  I encourage you to take a look and consider subscribing if you like what you see.

If you have checked out Geek and Sundry, please leave a comment and let us know what you think.  

All images for this blog post come from the Geek and Sundry press kits or the front page of Geek and Sundry.


  1. Right on. Geek & Sundry > DISH Network

  2. I've been enjoying most of it, but I sort of wish they'd break these things out so I didn't have to follow all parts of it. This isn't limited to Geek and Sundry of course, I've been seeing it with other YouTube channels as well.

  3. I LOVE the channel!!! Not only do the shows provide great entertainment they also link you to things you might not have found otherwise.
    The Flog has Trio Mio to bring you to cute things around the web.
    Sword and Laser will hook you up with books and authors.
    Table Top has been responsible for several games coming into my family's life and I have found "Team Unicorn", "Garunkel and Oates", Leverage and many others.
    Geek and Sundry is simply an amazing collection of talent. Don't miss it!!!