Tapletop gaming is my preferred leisure time. Some of my favorite nights with friends have been spent playing board games, and recently my social calendar has been spent playing D&D. But one of the great things about being a geek is it’s easy to find joy in others geeking out too.
So even though I’ve never played in a LARP, the webseries LARPs caught my attention right away. Maybe not right away. Season One was originally released in February-March 2014, and had critical acclaim but wasn’t widely distributed. I started watching when it re-released on Geek & Sundry in January 2015.
True to the Geeks
It’s not easy to capture geek cultures in media. It’s too easy to portray the people involved as less-than-normal, making those who engage in activities like role play seem eccentric (at best) or downright strange (at worst.) But downplaying the fantasy and focusing on LARPers as just people with the normal problems of everyone else also belittles the magic the activity can provide. Some amount of balance must be struck.
LARPs: The Series finds this balance well. The show gives equal interest to its characters who have normal drama and happen to enjoy LARP, along with letting us watch the unfolding story of the Guardians of the Eleventh Eye. Whether they’re playing the game or living their real life becomes secondary to the series. It’s more staging than anything else.
That feeling of role play being part of real life is what makes it ring true to the fellow geeks who are watching it. It feels real because the games we play really become staging to our lives too. Sure, we know it’s a game, but playing that game with our friends becomes just as much a part of who we are as where we work or the habits we form. The story in LARPs lets that notion develop naturally for the characters and the viewer.
The first season of LARPs ended with me gasping for air. I moaned out loud wanting to know what would happen next. Everyone had so much still hanging out there. It was so… awkward! In a dramatic irony way, not the socially awkward geek way you normally get when hanging out with me. But it was also so right. The story was meant to pause there.
Season 2 picks up right where the first left off. There’s lots of tense ideas in play but the story developed much more slowly and thought-out. Every episode still has it’s amazing moments, but there’s no filler at all. The first nine episodes are just a crescendo to an amazing half-hour season finale in episode 10. All the little hanging bits of tension left for us seem to pay off. Everything works out so well, but not as we’d expect at the end of season 1.
I cried at more than one moment.
No More Waiting
While we were still in the middle of season 2, I found myself actually recommending to my friends who were still uninitiated with LARPs to hold off on watching until they could watch both seasons all at once. Because the waits between episodes were really crushing me. I couldn’t wait for them to enjoy the series as much as I had, but I could tell that both seasons combined would make such a beautiful product. The remainder of season 2 didn’t let me down.
Now is the time! No more waiting! If you’ve not watched LARPs, you have no reason to hold off any longer!
I made a playlist of all the LARPs: The Series episodes from both seasons in order. So you can binge them all, start to finish, right here:
Season 3 and the Future of LARPs
Jon Verrall (writer for the series and the actor who plays Evan) says there’s nothing to announce for a possible season 3 yet. But there’s obviously good potential for that if you watch the conclusion of season 2. They crowd-funded the second season, but that was before Geek & Sundry went into their new setup as a part of Legendary. Since Tabletop season 4 and Titansgrave season 2 aren’t being crowdfunded I doubt LARPs season 3 will be either.
However, LARPs also has a different production arrangement from other G&S programming, so I could be way-off. For now it seems the best thing you and I can do to make season 3 happen is to watch the LARPs we’ve got.
Did You Enjoy LARPs? Why not try:
- More LARPs
- Share LARPs
- Watch LARPs everyday
Did You Blog About It?
Please let me know in the comments if you’ve blogged about LARPs: The Series. I keep my posts spoiler-free for the most part, so I’ve decided not to share too many specifics about the episodes. But I’d love to join the conversation on your site if you do!