Geek & Sundry

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Geek & Sundry, Inc.
TypeSubsidiary
GenreWeb series production
Founded2011
(channel launched April 2, 2012; 9 years ago (2012-04-02))
FounderFelicia Day, Kim Evey, Sheri Bryant
Headquarters,
United States
RevenueUndisclosed[1]
ParentLegendary Digital Networks
Websitegeekandsundry.com

Geek & Sundry is a commercial YouTube and Twitch channel and multimedia production company.[1][2] It was launched on April 2, 2012 by actress Felicia Day[3] with Kim Evey and Sheri Bryant[4] as part of YouTube's 100 million dollar original channel initiative. In June 2012, Forbes suggested that "if successful, it could help blaze a trail for the future of network television."[5] In 2014, Geek & Sundry was acquired by Legendary Entertainment.[6] The company is primarily known for their launch of the D&D show Critical Role, which aired on their channels from 2015–19.

Geek & Sundry produced many shows exclusively for Legendary's streaming service, Alpha, from its launch in 2017. In early 2019, Critical Role Productions separated from Legendary, as well as Geek & Sundry, to distribute their content independently. In the wake of their departure, Alpha was shut down and Geek & Sundry went into decline.[7] The company "hasn't exactly been operational" since late 2019.[8]

History[edit]

Origins (2012–14)[edit]

The channel was originally based around three unscripted programs produced by Day: The Flog (hosted by Day), Sword & Laser (hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt) and Tabletop (hosted by actor Wil Wheaton).[1] Before the channel launch, YouTube gave an advance payment "against future advertising revenue to jumpstart production."[1] The channel's founders and show hosts attended a number of fan conventions over the following years including ComicCon,[9] Dragon*Con,[10] VidCon,[11] and WonderCon.[12] In March 2013, the channel announced three new series: Felicia's Ark (featuring Felicia Day), Fetch Quest (created by Jordan Allen-Dutton) and The Player One[s]. Two programs, Tabletop and Space Janitors, were renewed for season 2 of the channel starting April 1, 2013.[13]

in August 2014, Geek & Sundry was acquired by Legendary Entertainment for an undisclosed sum.[6] In December 2014, Geek & Sundry was listed on New Media Rockstars Top 100 Channels, ranked at #68.[14]

Twitch, Alpha and peak (2015–18)[edit]

Marisha Ray, creative director during the network's Twitch subscription peak in early 2018.

In March 2015, Geek & Sundry launched their Twitch channel with a 48-hour stream in support of The Lupus Foundation.[15] After Day heard about a private Dungeons & Dragons home game from Ashley Johnson, she approached the group about playing it in a live-streamed format for Geek & Sundry;[16][17][18] Critical Role began airing on March 12, 2015,[19] however, the show remained creator-owned.[20]

On January 11, 2016, Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group announced that it concluded an agreement with shareholders to acquire Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion.[21] In April 2016, "Geek & Sundry's website had 290,000 uniques [...], per comScore. On YouTube, where it got its start, it has 1.4 million subscribers".[22] In June 2016, Legendary Digital Networks (LDN) announced a new subscription streaming service, Alpha, which would include programming from both Nerdist and Geek & Sundry.[22] In 2016, Critical Role's spinoff show Talks Machina premiered on Geek & Sundry's Twitch channel; in January 2017, Talks Machina: After Dark premiered on Alpha and included 15–20 minutes of extra cast questions pulled from Alpha viewers.[23][24][25]

In 2016, Felica Day left Geek & Sundry after growing "fatigued in a less creative, more managerial role in the company".[26] Day said "I gave it my heart and my soul. When I realized I had given as much as I could, I needed to move on".[26] In January 2017, it was announced that Thomas Tull, Legendary's founder, had exited as Legendary Entertainment CEO[27] and that Eric Campbell, a writer on Geek & Sundry shows such as The Flog, Felicia’s Ark and Signal Boost!, would become the Director of Development for Geek & Sundry.[28][29] In July, Marisha Ray became the Creative Director.[30]

From 2017 onwards, the network increasingly focused on tabletop gaming shows. This included actual play shows such as Sagas of Sundry, miniature painting with Painter's Guild and game master chat shows such as Roundtable. Season 4 of Wheaton's Tabletop was exclusive to Alpha in 2016 before premiering on YouTube in 2017.[31][32][33][34] The Twitch channel reached its peak subscriber count at 55,349 in February 2018.[35]

Critical Role split (2018–19)[edit]

Legendary started to scale back their digital division after "Joshua Grode took over as the company’s CEO in 2018".[36] In June, Critical Role Productions started to self-produce new shows and content which did not air on Geek & Sundry's channels.[37][38][39] Ray stepped down from her position at Geek & Sundry to become the Creative Director for Critical Role Productions;[40] Matt Key replaced her as Creative Director, and would remain until the post was eliminated the following year.[41][42]

In July 2018, the Star Trek role-playing game (RPG) show Shield of Tomorrow ended and was replaced by the superhero RPG show Callisto 6; the cast, with Campbell as the game master, were carried over to the new show.[43][44] L.A. by Night (based on Vampire: The Masquerade) premiered in September as a weekly show; Jason Carl, Brand Marketing Manager for World of Darkness, acted as the Storyteller.[45][46]

In February 2019, Critical Role's split from Geek & Sundry and LDN was completed, with their flagship show having been recorded at a new studio since July 2018.[47] Critical Role and Talks Machina aired exclusively on Critical Role's channels from this point onwards, and were no longer distributed via the Alpha streaming service.[48][7] Prior to the split, Critical Role and Talks Machina had been Geek & Sundry’s most popular shows by far.[7] The move also suspended the Alpha exclusive show Talks Machina: After Dark, which would never be reinstated on the new channels. The Alpha service was shut down in March – only weeks after Critical Role left the network –[49] with Geek & Sundry content migrating to their YouTube and Twitch channels.[50] A short-lived D&D show Relics and Rarities premiered on Alpha shortly before the closure of the service; Deborah Ann Woll was the show's DM and the campaign had a celebrity guest each episode. It ran for only six episodes, each presented in two parts.[51][52][53][54] Older episodes of Critical Role and Talks Machina were later deleted and re-uploaded to the new Critical Role channels.[55]: 0:45 

Further splits and decline (2019–present)[edit]

In April 2019, Wheaton announced that he was suing Geek & Sundry for breach of contract over distribution deals for Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana which he was not consulted on.[56] Campbell left Geek & Sundry in the same month,[57] and Relics and Rarities was not picked up for a second season.[58] Some further tabletop shows did however run during 2019, including Jason Bulmahn's Pathfinder: Knights of Everflame and Woll's Lost Odyssey: The Book of Knowledge.[59][60] The latter was followed by a short series of cast interview videos.[61][62]

In late 2019, Paradox Interactive's World of Darkness team took over production of L.A. By Night; seasons 1-3 remain archived on the Geek & Sundry YouTube channel while season 4 premiered exclusively on the World of Darkness Twitch channel in 2020.[46] In January 2020, Campbell and the cast of Shield of Tomorrow/Callisto 6 launched a new Star Trek show, Clear Skies, on the Queue Times Twitch channel.[63][64] Campbell stated that Clear Skies is not a sequel and that "Shield of Tomorrow is Geek & Sundry‘s (and rightfully so). I had hoped to come back to Shield again, but honestly? We wrapped that story up so well, I love that it will exist forever as a completed campaign."[63] Twitch subscription numbers for the channel declined rapidly from a 50,000 high in January 2018 to 300 in January 2020. Game the Game ceased broadcast in April, and the Geek & Sundry website stopped updating in June with a final episode of How to Play.[65]

In July 2020, Legendary laid off 30% of the LDN staff.[36][66] Variety reported that "there was a sense that the operations were a money drain on the company’s profitable film and television operations. Those cuts were accelerated by the onset of COVID-19, which has resulted in layoffs and furloughs across the entertainment industry".[36] The Hollywood Reporter reported that "the digital brands have become less important to the strategic direction of Legendary in recent years as the online content business has shifted away from the networks that grew big during the early heyday of YouTube stardom. Legendary Digital is not a moneymaker for the business the way its core film and TV divisions are".[66] Twitch Tracker stopped logging subscriptions in October 2020 for the channel, at which point there were 52 remaining.[35] Nerdist shows such as Save Point and CelebriD&D continued to simultaneously stream on the G&S channels sporadically.[67][68][69]

After an eight month hiatus, additional episodes of Becca Scott's How to Play began to release on YouTube in February 2021, the first original content on the channel since the layoffs the previous summer. The show is very similar to Scott's How to Game which has been running on the Good Time Society YouTube channel since early 2020.[70][71] In April 2021, CBR reported that "Geek & Sundry as an original content producer hasn't exactly been operational for a couple of years".[8] Beginning in August, the YouTube channel would also re-release older LDN content that had originally been exclusive to Alpha, and therefore unavailable since the shut down in 2019. This began with older episodes of CelebriD&D.[72]

Legacy[edit]

Founder Felicia Day, who left the company in 2016, spoke positively of the influence of the company and its inclusion of geek voices. "I’m just happy I got to give people opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise and take a leap."[73] Critical Role in particular has been credited with the renaissance of Dungeons & Dragons in the late 2010s, along with similar shows such as The Adventure Zone.[74]

A number of former Geek & Sundry shows continued airing in other formats after leaving the network, some continuing beyond when G&S had largely ceased operating in the late 2010s. These include Critical Role, which by 2021 was the highest earning channel on Twitch, and is ongoing.[75] Talks Machina continued airing on the Critical Role channels until 2021, while Vampire the Masquerade: LA by Night was moved to the World of Darkness channel and received a fourth and fifth season before its conclusion in October 2021. LA by Night is also considered canon to the broader ongoing Vampire metaplot.[76]

International Tabletop Day originated as an event hosted on Geek & Sundry in 2013, and became a recurring annual event globally. While disrupted by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the event is still celebrated worldwide.[77]

Programming[edit]

Year Title Created by Notes Status
2012 Dark Horse Motion Comics Dark Horse Videos based on comics published by Dark Horse Comics[78] Completed
2012 Sword & Laser Veronica Belmont & Tom Merritt A book club/video podcast based around elements of sci-fi and fantasy.[79] Completed
2012 MetaDating Sean Plott Plott and friends drink beer and play online romance simulators.[80] Completed
2012 #Parent Kristen Rutherford & Mike Phirman Rutherford & Phirman discuss topics relevant to the interests of geek parents.[81][82] Completed
2012 Written by a Kid Dane Boedigheimer, Daniel Strange, Rhett & Link In each episode, a child tells a story, which is used as the script in order to produce a short video.[1][83] Completed
2012 LearningTown Paul and Storm A sitcom starring Paul and Storm as fictional versions of themselves taking over a classic children's show.[84] Completed
2012 The Storyboard Pat Rothfuss Rothfuss' Authors’ Roundtable[85][86] Completed
2012–13 The Guild Felicia Day The fifth and sixth season only were broadcast on Geek & Sundry. The show revolves around the lives of a gamers' online guild, The Knights of Good, who play countless hours of a fantasy MMORPG video game entitled The Game.[87] Completed
2012–13 On the Table Warren Johnston A wargames show originally run on Beasts of War before moving to Geek and Sundry.[88][89] Completed
2012–14 Vaginal Fantasy Felicia Day Romance novel book club, starring Felicia Day, Bonnie Burton, Kiala Kazbee, and Veronica Belmont, as they review romance novels and drink alcohol.[90] Moved channel, completed[91]
2012–15 The Flog Felicia Day A vlog by Felicia Day each week.[92] Completed
2012–15 Space Janitors Davin Lengyel and Geoff Lapaire A live-action comedy series about a group of janitors who work for an evil overlord.[93] Completed
2012–17 TableTop Wil Wheaton In each episode, one or more boardgames are explained briefly by Wil Wheaton and then he and his guests play the game.[94] Completed
2013 Felicia’s Ark Felicia Day An interactive comedy that stars Felicia Day deciding which video game animals will make it onto her Ark.[13][95] Completed
2013 Fetch Quest Jordan Allen-Dutton An animated, musical comedy about video-game culture created by Jordan Allen-Dutton of Robot Chicken.[13][96] Completed
2013 The Player One[s] Ben Rock A sketch-comedy show that stars the sketch team of the same name finding humour in video-games.[13][97] Completed
2013 Outlands Adam de la Peña A group explores the deep reaches of space, uncharted planets in order to build intergalactic convenience stores.[98] Completed
2013–14 Co-Optitude Felicia Day In each episode, Felicia Day and her brother Ryon Day play games that were released on older consoles such as the Genesis, Super NES, and Nintendo 64.[99] Completed
2013–15 Talkin’ Comics Weekly Amy Dallen Dallen discusses her favourite comic of the week, going on adventures with guests.[100] Completed
2013–18 Spellslingers Sean Plott Sean "Day9" Plott plays Magic: The Gathering with a different guest per episode.[101] Completed
2014 Caper Amy Berg & Mike Sizemore Four superhero housemates (Penny, Dagr, Alexia, and Luke) turn to crime when the economic realities of herodom hit home.[102] Completed
2014 Unplugged Ashly Burch Burch helps turn video games into real life thrill rides.[103] Completed
2014 Spooked Michael Gene Conti A paranormal comedy featuring the world's cheapest ghost hunters.[104] Completed
2014 Arcade Arms Nika Harper A series in which Harper explores fantasy game weapons, creating and testing replicas.[105] Completed
2014 Morganville Rachel Caine Claire Danvers unknowingly moves to a town run by vampires.[106] Completed
2014–15 LARPs Julian Stamboulieh and Jon Verrall A comedy series about a group of friends who LARP, and their interactions in and out of the game.[107] The series was picked up by Geek & Sundry after the first season had been shown in early 2014: those episodes were removed from the original channel and re-released by G&S in preparation for the second season.[108] Completed
2015 Titansgrave Wil Wheaton Wil Wheaton takes a group of 4 celebrity role players and their characters through a life-threatening adventure in a world far from our own where goblins wield laser rifles, dragons destroy hovercraft, and great war machines plunder the land.[109][110][56] Completed
2015–19 Omnibus Amy Dallen & Hector Navarro A comic book centric interview show. Completed
2015–19 Critical Role Matthew Mercer Mercer acts as the Dungeon Master for a series of Dungeons & Dragons campaigns with fellow voice actors Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Liam O'Brien, Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, and Travis Willingham.[111] Moved channel
2015–20 Game the Game Ivan Van Norman, Becca Scott A tabletop play-through series of both sponsored & non-sponsored games.[112] Completed
2016 Anime Gateways Xavier Woods A Funimation sponsored anime talkshow.[113] Completed
2016 Max Hit Points Blair Herter & Andrew Deutch An RPG themed gym show.[114] Completed
2016 Super Fun Awesome Party Game Time Jesse Cox & Jessica Marzipan Cox & Marzipan take old board games, remix the rules, and create somewhat embarrassing situations with their awesome (and infinitely patient) guests.[115][116] Completed
2016–17 ESCAPE! Janet Varney Janet Varney takes 4 celebrity guests and place them in an escape room each week. The guests must work together and try to escape before time runs out.[117] Completed
2016–17 AXYB Becca Scott, Whitney Moore, Stef Woodburn, & Blythe Wiedemann The four hosts each control one button in Telltale adventure game where the audience makes the decisions.[118][119] Completed
2016–17 Signal Boost! Marisha Ray[120] A "weekly love letter to all fandoms, be it books, podcasts, indie games, Etsy shops, soundtracks, websites, or events".[121][122] Completed
2016–17 Otaking Heads Todd Haberkorn An Otaku talk show.[123][124] Completed
2016–17 Worthy Opponents Matthew Mercer & Rachel Quirico A Hearthstone celebrity tournament.[125] Completed
2016–17 VAST Jackson Lanzing Writer Jackson Lanzing guides two separate crews of players through the VAST universe, an original IP and game system, where the show alternates between casts. The two casts are part of two different societies which allows the audience to view the same story experienced in very different way.[126][127][119] Completed
2016–19 The Wednesday Club Taliesin Jaffe, Amy Dallen, & Matt Key Taliesin, Amy and Matt discuss the latest comics weekly along with highlighting their favorites and other comic related things.[127][128][129] Completed
2016–19 Game Master Tips Various Tips from various game masters. Supported by a series of guest blog posts on the G&S website.[130] Completed
2016–19 Game Engine Erika Ishii & Trisha Hershberger Ishii & Hershberger host a gaming show. Often include interviews of people from the gaming industry, as well as a live play of a video game.[131] Completed
2016–19 Talks Machina Brian W. Foster & Dani Carr A talk show in which Critical Role cast members discuss elements of the previous week's game.[132] Moved channel, completed[133]
2016– How to Play Ivan van Norman, Becca Scott Ivan van Norman explains game mechanics of both sponsored & non-sponsored games in short video tutorials. Acted as a companion series to Game the Game, before a hiatus in 2020. Continued in 2021 as the sole active Geek & Sundry show, with Becca Scott hosting.[134][135][136] Ongoing
2017 INT. Writers Room Dave Reynolds & Molly Dworsky In a two-hour run time, Dave & Molly along with a panel of creatives and audience chat work together to write and finalize a short sketch. The sketch is then recorded between episodes and shown to the audience the following week.[127][119] Completed
2017 Project Pixel Mary Doodles A digital painting tutorial show.[137] Completed
2017 Choose Our Destiny- Improv Adventure' The Tin Can Bros An improv theater show with audience participation.[138] Completed
2017–18 Shield of Tomorrow Ivan Van Norman A tabletop RPG show which changes system every session.[139] Completed
2017–18 Foreververse Eric Campbell A licensed Star Trek RPG Show. The Federation is on the brink of war with the Dominion. In the shadow of this cold war, the crew members of the USS Sally Ride must work together to not only protect the Federation, but protect its soul as well.[140] Completed
2017–18 Painter's Guild Will Friedle A painting show centred around miniature figures, typically used for tabletop gaming.[141] Completed
2017–19 Ask Your Black Geek Friend! Damion Poitier & B. Dave Walters Co-hosts Damion Poitier & B. Dave Walters create a safe, open forum to discuss topics and ask questions surrounding diversity in pop culture.[119][50] Completed
2017–19 Roundtable Various A rotating cast of game masters talk about storytelling.[142] Completed
2017–19 TBD RPG Eric Campbell Originally conceived as an anthology style RPG show,[143] the cast and game master Campbell became attached to their first episode's characters so the show instead became a full Doctor Who campaign using a rpg system by Cubicle 7. The main cast is: Amy Dallen (the Doctor), Duncan Barclay (human Cillian Rail), Gina DeVivo (human Captain Finn), and Sam de Leve (Ovokali Rokokokoko).[144][145] Completed
2017–19 Sagas of Sundry Ivan Van Norman Ivan Van Norman utilizes the rpg system Dread to lead the players through a horror campaign. Season 1, Sagas of Sundry: Dread, starred Matt Mercer, Amy Dallen, Amy Vorpahl, Satine Phoenix, and Taliesin Jaffe. Season 2, Sagas of Sundry: Madness, starred Liam O’Brien, Xander Jeanneret, Marisha Ray, Jeremy Walker, and Erika Ishii. Darin De Paul acts as the opening narrator.[146][147] Completed
2017–19 Thrashtopia Whitney Moore A post-apocalyptic show that moves across various formats.[148] Completed
2017–19 Talks Machina: After Dark Brian W Foster An aftershow for Talks Machina, airing exclusively on Alpha. The cast would take questions directly from the chat.[149] It was temporarily suspended after the Critical Role split, and never reinstated. Foster's 2021 departure from Critical Role Productions cancelled Talks Machina proper, and presumably any After Dark revival.[150][151] Completed
2018 Key Question Marisha Ray & Matt Key A pop culture themed question and answer show.[152] Completed
2018–19 Callisto 6 Eric Campbell Superheroes are created from a blast of strange radiation in the Los Angeles of 2119. Ruled by corporations and devastated by a disaster years before, the LA of 2119 is a cyberpunk landscape in which our heroes attempt to remove the threat of an ancient evil entity as it reaches a peak of power. An live broadcast RPG using the Cypher System with 6 main characters, several recurring characters, and special guests.[153] Completed
2018–19 L.A. by Night Jason Carl Jason Carl, Brand Marketing Manager for World of Darkness, acts as Storyteller of a Vampire: The Masquerade game that focuses on four vampires of the Anarch sect who try to navigate and survive the terrifying L.A. night.[46] Moved channel, completed
2018–19 Starter Kit Jason Charles Miller A show intended to introduce viewers to tabletop role playing. Completed
2018–19 Asinine Wisdom Jake Bennett & Daryl Crittenden A debate show on a variety of topics.[154] Completed
2018–19 Overlight: Fractured Paradox Aliza Pearl A tabletop show using the Overlight system.[155] Completed
2018–19 We're Alive: Frontier Ivan Van Norman A tabletop show using a post-apocalyptic theme.[156] Completed
2018–19 Lore Masters Sam de Leve & Hector Navarro A fandom history show, originally airing on Alpha.[157][158] Completed
2019 Relics and Rarities Deborah Ann Woll Deborah Ann Woll acts as the Dungeon Master of Dungeons & Dragons campaign focused on mystery, monsters and murder with a celebrity guest each episode.[51][58] Completed
2019 Pathfinder: Knights of Everflame Jason Bulmahn A Pathfinder show, in which the characters are conscripted into an army and need to support one another to survive. Completed[59][60]
2019 Game Master's Hall Becca Scott Twelve game masters are interviewed and share expertise. Completed[159]
2019 Ten Candles: Eclipse Ivan van Norman A horror tabletop show with 40 rotating players and a single game master. Completed[160]
2019–20 Lost Odyssey: The Book of Knowledge Deborah Ann Woll A charity D&D game supporting the Autism Society of America, collaborating with Lost Odyssey Events. The one-off game was followed by a series of interviews with cast members in early 2020.[61][62][161] Completed

Geek & Sundry Vlogs[edit]

Geek & Sundry Vlogs launched on May 19, 2013 as a distinct channel. All vloggers were mentored by Felicia Day and Jenni Powell, producer of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.[162] Two rounds of expansion followed throughout 2013, with submissions to join the channel open to the public for official review from Geek & Sundry and the community.[162] On February 18, 2015, it was announced that the Vlogs channel would be "coming to an end" after almost two years of operation.[163] The final vlog was added to the channel on February 27.[164]

Vloggers[edit]

  • Wordplay Season 2 with Nika "Nikasaur" Harper (Formerly Story Mode)
  • Geeking OUT with Becca Canote (Formerly also with Neil McNeil)
  • Read This! with James “Tigermonkey” Isaacs (Formerly about his quest to the World Thumbwrestling Championships)
  • Sachie
  • Talkin' Comics with Amy Dallen (Formerly a weekly show on the main channel)
  • Jeff Lewis
  • Katie Satow
  • Paul Mason the DIY Guy
  • Critical Hit Cocktails with Mitch Hutts
  • 2 Broke Geeks with Mia Resella and Omar Najam
  • Cristina Viseu
  • Songs of Adventure with Vaughan de Villiers and Caitlin Papier
  • Dael Kingsmill
  • Kiriosity with Kiri Callaghan
  • Wargaming with Teri Litorco
  • Old School Pixel Party with Scott Tumilty
  • Akeem Lawanson
  • Holland Talks Movies with Holland Farkas
  • Two guest vloggers every other Tuesday

References[edit]

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External links[edit]