Geeks don’t just watch TV; they make it—on the internet. In Standard Action, writer Joanna Gaskell out of Vancouver, British Columbia has created a real gem. Her web series follows the exploits of a misfit adventuring party as they fight hobgoblins, solve the mystery of Pig mountain, and defeat an evil mime. Two seasons are currently live on their site, and their third season has just over funded on Kickstarter.
Standard Action is by far one of the best web series I have seen, competing strongly with shows like Space Janitors at Geek and Sundry. The writing is smart. The characters are self-aware and understand the rules of RPGs. They regularly talk about leveling up and their current health status. In one of my favorite jokes, one member of a party of thieves shows off the gaping belly wound he received the night before from a member of the adventuring party, all the while he appears healthy and is ready to fight them again.
The adventuring party is fantastic, made up of the vain sorceress, Wendy, the faithful halfling bard, Fernando, a moody Cleric, Martin—who won’t heal anyone, and an elven barbarian, Edda—who flunked out of mage school. The acting talent is above average for these shows, and I appreciate how they all inhabit their roles. One of my favorite scenes comes right at the beginning of season two in which Martin spends a lot of time wondering why they should try to level up and asking what is the point of killing monsters anyway? “It just all seems so pointless,” he moans. I laughed so hard because, at some point, any gamer worth their salt has asked the same question while in the midst of a marathon campaign. The existential angst coming from the mouth of an adventurer was fantastic.
At the top of the page you can find the first episode of season 1. There are two seasons available on their website, and their third season has just over funded on Kickstarter. If you are interested in helping them out, they have some great guest stars for their stretch goals. I am eagerly anticipating seeing much more of Eta, Fernando, Wendy, and Martin. (I hope we get to see more of “office” Edda in action. She wields a mean golf club.)