In a world where professional video gaming is the biggest sport on Earth, hapless young gamer Brian D gets the chance of a lifetime: to sharpen his skills with the best of the best by enrolling in the most elite private gaming academy in the world.
Video Game High School (or VGHS, for short) takes place in a world similar to our own, except that video games are the coolest, most important things, ever*. Professional gamers are like our superstar athletes and the best young players matriculate at video game intensive high schools. After inadvertently finding himself 15 minutes of fame, underdog Brian D gets invited to attend the elite VGHS. There he makes new friends, plenty of enemies and tries to prove that he has what it takes to be one of the best.
Now, if you’re wondering whether you have to be a video gamer to enjoy this series, the short answer is no. Sure, some things may be confusing and occasionally jokes will go over your head. (And in fairness, video game acronyms can sound like a foreign language.) But even without this background, the show still has great characters, fun stories and incredible production value**. Also, the show isn’t afraid to get shamelessly bizarre, which I can’t help but love it for.
* Although some could argue we are already living in that world, with the rapid rise of e-sports, tournaments that fill sports arenas, multi-million dollar prize pools and celebrity pro-gamers that even pull in their own endorsements.
** Seriously, the quality of the scenes that take place within the show’s video games would impress me coming from a feature film. And yet this is a web series. When I think about all the movies and TV episodes that took place “inside a video game”, from the ’90s especially, it’s baffling how good VGHS is.
Well, as far as the main cast is concerned, most of these folks are not going to be on your radar. Lots have had small-ish parts on TV and many more have a presence on the internet and with other web series. And speaking of internet presence, Pemberley Digital fans will get a chance to see both Lizzie Bennet and Emma Woodhouse. And for whatever reason, Zachary Levi plays the FPS (First Person Shooter) teacher.
But even if there aren’t big names to pull you in (which is pretty much the case with any web series that isn’t Burning Love), these actors and their characters are charming. Brian D (Josh Blaylock) is the nice guy underdog, but manages to rise above that trope and become a lovable main character. My personal favorite character, Ki Swan (Ellary Porterfield), could have been the boring, stick-in-the-mud smart girl. But she’s so damn adorable that you will support her through all of her causes. And The Law is pretty much the greatest, most cartoonish villain I can imagine. (Your mileage may vary on the other characters. No guarantees you’ll love everybody!)
Couch-Sharing Capability: High
This show is perfectly fine for solo watching, but is hilarious enough that it would make for great group viewing. Broken down, the length of each episode will run about the length of a sitcom episode. And with 5 and 6 episodes in each of the two seasons, VGHS isn’t exactly high commitment.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Optional
This show is just asking to have a drinking game made for it. In fact, I will make a quick and dirty one right now:
- Drink every time someone says “Brian D” or “Law”
There. You’re dead. With that one rule, I’ve probably destroyed you.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: More Ways To Watch
Netflix gives you a two choices when watching this show. Watch the first season cut together into a movie length film. Or watch both seasons, episode by episode. All that aside, I really hope you give this show a chance. I’d hate for someone to pass it up just because video games aren’t their jam. Sure, the random and bizarre humor may not be the right fit for everyone, but don’t let the theme turn you off. VGHS has cracked my top 3 favorite web series of all time and I’d love to have more people to talk to about it. So give it a try and report back!