There’s a tremendous amount of nerd-oriented programming on the web, and for good reason; the internet is full of nerds. While everyone from the school jock to your mom uses the internet, it’s we nerds who are the powerful online tastemakers.
Look at some of the most popular original web serials: The Guild is about MMORPGers, Doctor Horrible had the power of the Whedonverse behind it, and there would be no Ask A Ninja without the deeply geeky Real Ultimate Power meme.
One of the latest entries into the Nerdy Shows About Nerds genre is GOLD. The series revolves around a gang of gamers playing the RPG that started it all, Dungeons and Dragons. Errr, make that Goblins & Gold, for copyright reasons.
Produced by Brown Corduroy Jacket, AU Productions and Punisher 77 (phew), GOLD follows a group of “Professional Role Players,” which sounds dirty, but isn’t. They are in fact a tight-knit group of man-children in their 30s who play Goblins & Gold for cash and fame in international tournaments. They’re united by intensity and a self-imposed pecking order that falls somewhere between a professional sports team and an army battalion.
Only the first episode is up, and it takes place two years before the bulk of the series. Here we meet the characters, watch a game, and get a sense of trouble brewing in the form of an upcoming wedding. The two protagonists appear to be Jonathan, a down-to-earth guy with a life outside the game, and Richard, a seriously douchey alpha-male geek who resents Jonathan for letting something as lame as a fiancee come between Jonathan and G&G.
The rest of the team are a collection of adults that gave me a scary wake-up call as to what some of my friends might be like in ten years (to say nothing of myself).
According to the website, the meat of the show will focus on a World Championship G&G that leads the now splintered group to reform and whip themselves back into shape. This sounds like it would lend itself to more outlandishly absurd humor than is contained in the first episode, but time will tell if they can pull that off.
The cast is extremely talented and blend perfectly into their characters. There are no pretty boys here, nor are there over-the-top caricatures. If you’ve ever hung out with nerds, you will recognize these guys, and even if you’re not of that bent, chances are you’ve worked with one of these dudes before (and now you know what they do their free time). Sure we might laugh at their self-importance and passion for the game, but with the exception of the sexist and bullying Richard, they’re likable indivuduals.
The series is shot more like a short film than a television show, with a focus on script and performances over plot gimmicks and formula (thank writer/producer/directors David Nett & Andrew Deutsch for that). Allowing the characters time to talk and argue back and forth eliminates the need for exposition and endears you quickly to the cast.
Over all there’s an impressively (dare I say it) Altman-esque atmosphere of casual and fresh conversation. And it works; the first episode has a fairly impressive comments section for a show without stars that just launched, full of approving gamers promising to come back for more.
Nerd demographic powers, activate!