“Table Top” – A YouTube program review.

So the YouTube channel Geek and Sundry has finally launched. This, for those of you who don’t know and if you don’t what sort of geek are you…honestly *scoffs*, is the closest thing to a real television channel for geeks that I’ve ever come across online. It covers everything from motion comics by Dark Horse, through to video blogs, and reviews of various types.

It includes well-known faces like Felicia “Aha, I’d date your avatar” Day, and Wil “No one liked Wesley Crusher” Wheaton, along with a large number of people who I’ve either only vaguely or have never heard of. So, as it turns out when it comes down to knowing a lot about American geek culture I’m not that much of a geek, but hey what’re you gonna do? I do after all have some kind of a life off of the internet.

Anyway I am not going to bother reviewing “The Flog” which is Felicia Day’s video blog on the channel. The reason? She’s a Marmite goddess (Marmite – Either you love it, or loathe it), anything she does is awesome, and therefore…in truth she’s one of my favourite geek actresses (yes, you did see her in “A Town Called Eureka”), and I want a few more episodes to build up before I get down to reviewing it.

Instead I want to do a short review of Wil Wheatons show “Table Top”. This is a short, “first impression after one episode” review so don’t jump down my throat.

What is “Table Top”? Well it’s comprised of four people sitting at a table, playing board games. It’s actually that simple. One of those people is the host/presenter Wheaton, the other three are players, and between them they sort of review the games by playing them. It’s nicely shot, well-lit, and obviously either completely, or almost completely unscripted. And that’s it really.

So what were my first impressions?

First impressions – the good.

– It’s fun, and funny.

– It’s well shot, and edited.

– Fast flowing, I never had a chance to get bored. Confused as hell, and a little less entertained than I’d hoped for (more of that below), but never bored.

– Wil Wheaton is actually kind of cool, let me repeat that, Wheaton is kind of cool! But he’s still the worst thing to have happened to Trek, and I include the explanation of the smooth headed Klingons in ST: Enterprise in that.

– He managed to have some good guests, two of whom I’d actually heard of. Grant of Mythbusters fame, and Jenna Busch. The other guy…if you can tell me who he is don’t bother, he just annoyed me.

– The format of reviewing a game by playing it through, is a wonderful idea, allowing the viewer to really get a feeling for whether it’s a game they would actually enjoy owning or not.

First impressions – the bad.
– I know it’s a show about reviewing table top games by playing them, but it felt like it was lacking in the near constant giddiness/BS/piss-taking that seems to be an essential part of table top gaming to me. A little of it creeps in over time but it left it feeling a little sterile for my  tastes.

– The first game they chose made absolutely no sense to me. I know that this could simply be because I was dropped head first onto a fireplace (not really) when I was 3 days old.  But the game they played just confused me, and with not a lot of off-game banter going on it took from the entertainment value for me.

In conclusion I will keep watching, at least for now. It was amusing, and fun to watch. After all watching geeks, geek-out is always fun (I know people who derive immense enjoyment from watching me do it). But I’ll be holding out hope that they’ll tweak the format slightly to make it more entertaining, and have more free roaming conversation. The latter more than anything would make this a weekly must watch for me.

So agree with me? Disagree? Oh you haven’t seen? Well then watch the first episode yourself below and make up your own mind. (Please note that the following video, like the other in this review, is not mine, I had nothing to do with making it, and am only linking because things which are generally this awesome must be shared.)

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