What’s that you say? A new webseries staring and written by Felicia Day? The whole Internet isn’t there yet? Well, it should be!
Sort of. There’s no question that Felicia Day is the best thing in this, but the series as a whole suffers from the limitations of its format.
For context, and because I know what it’s like to be the only person who hasn’t heard of X thing All Geeks Supposedly Know And Like: Felicia Day is the lead actor, writer, and creative force behind The Guild, a pioneering webseries about a group of online gamers, one of whom (Codex/Felicia Day) has a video blog, clips from which punctuate and frame the short (5-10min) episodes. It’s witty, gripping, and unashamedly geek. The Guild is now in its fifth series, sponsored by XBox, and an international success, having started from donations and good-will. It also, reputedly (although Day modestly denies this), inspired the hit musical webseries by Joss Whedon, Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, in which she starred and shot to fame as Penny, Dr Horrible’s love interest. Nowadays she continues to produce The Guild whilst also getting cameos in various geek-loved shows (such as Dollhouse and Lie to Me*) as well as a recurring role in sci-fi series Eureka. Not to mention her voice-artist work for several computer RPGs, and a couple of Guild related music videos: Do You Wanna Date my Avatar and Game on.
So, yeah, when Felicia Day is starring in and writing for a new webseries, you pay attention. She practically invented the genre, or at least demonstrated how to make it a viable and entertaining commercial enterprise.
I just wish Dragon Age: Redemption lived up to that promise. Which is not to say that it’s entirely without merit, it’s just that it’s showing its computer RPG roots a bit too strongly. Day is wonderful as Tallis, the hard-as-nails elf who has fallen out of favour and needs to win back her freedom and respect. This is particularly refreshing as the roles that made her famous are those of meek, waif-like beauties. Not that she isn’t beautiful in Dragon Age: Redemption – far from it. Rather, despite the fact that she is miming meat she’s fairly clearly not actually cutting up, we are left with little doubt that Tallis (Day) is strong and skilled and could cut you up from the get-go. What’s more, the naturally slender Felicia has also clearly been working out. I spy your biceps, m’lady! It’s nice to see a real-life hero I identify with playing a role I aspire to.
That being said, it’s also utterly clear that, despite her crisp, clean, choreographed movements, there’s no chance in hell Tallis could actually floor (and keep floored) the men she apparently takes down. Not in the manner she takes them down, anyway. But what the hey, it’s a webseries, right? Some leeway is allowed. Similarly for the make-up, which, again, is great on Day herself, but leaves a bit to be desired on some of the other characters. None of this really matters, though. The overall difficulty is that it’s fighting against the framework of enacting a game. I love RPGs, but this plays like the slightly awkward opening sequence where your character needs to be presented with the plot and given some spurious reason to get in on the action. That’s pretty much to be expected from a Dragon Age spin-off, but it doesn’t mean it’s entertaining.
It may be that once the series gets going things will improve. I see the odd note in this of the Felicia Day humour; perhaps, when not stifled with the usual RPG set-up, this will flower into something more fun and engaging. At the end of the day it’s short and free and available online. I have no qualms about tuning in next time to see how it’s doing.
“…there’s no chance in hell Tallis could actually floor (and keep floored) the men she apparently takes down.”
Ha! That always annoys me. TV Tropes calls it “Waif Fu,” but at our place we call it the River Tam Paradox. Because that sounds cooler?
… Yeah, but River Tam actually could floor people, because she fights in a style that doesn’t require mass. For me, watching Tallis was like… I can see the difference between this and a Summer Glau fight scene. But then, I guess they don’t really have the budget and allowances must be made.
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