Modern London, an unremarkable gray panel block of flats. Three young tenants live in one of the apartments: Alison (Charlotte Ritchie), Meg (Alexa Davis), and Nikki (Will Merrick).
Cute Alison leads a completely normal life: eats right, plays sports, meets guys. Plump blonde Meg and lanky skinny Nikki are complete gamers who have been playing the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) Kingdom Scrolls for two years almost non-stop, in which the Hive Queen took over the central Citadel, and now many players have formed the Jasper Knot alliance and set themselves the goal of freeing the Citadel.
Both Meg and Nikki have some kind of office job, but they mostly use it to grind gold – earn in-game currency with some simple actions, such as killing low-level bears. With the help of gold, you can purchase new means of attack and defense, upgrade your skills, increase your experience, and eventually level up.
Grinding gold is boring but necessary, but when Meg and Nikki get home, where they won’t be bothered by bosses, co-workers and clients, they may already be in for some epic battle.
These two gamers also have a third member of their own little gaming alliance – Uzman (Sargon Yelda). Uzman, unlike them, is married, he has two small daughters, but Uzman, like them, devotes a lot of time to the game.
Alison from time to time somehow tries to get Meg out of her gaming chair to introduce some guys, but Meg is very uncomfortable in the outside world: she wants to get back into the game, and besides, who knows what might happen there until she is absent? What if a group of teenage Korean geniuses attack one of their castles and take it over?
At some point, a handsome guy named Russell (David Mumeny) gets a job at the office where Meg pretends to work. Meg, who has serious psychological and physical problems due to her complete lack of sex life, wants to hook up with Russell and even tells him about Kingdom Scrolls, offering to join their mini-alliance.
However, when Russell appears in the game in the form of a Mega Amazon, the rest of the gamers realize that the guy is not at all like them. He is not a serious gaming “nerd”, but a noob, casual and clicker! Well, that is, roughly speaking, a complete moron! However, when the trinity finds out that Russell easily buys all sorts of cool game “goodies” for real money, then they have an insidious plan: why not bang Russell’s character in the game and appropriate all his “goodies”? At the same time, Meg must somehow manage to maintain a normal relationship with Russell in reality, because she still hopes that he will sweeten her almost withered “rosebud”.
A little-known British TV series, the first season of which was released in 2019, and the second season – in 2020. I found out about him on Ivan Filippov’s Facebook (he hosts an excellent podcast “Stocking Up Popcorn”). Ivan praised this series, and since my tastes very rarely do not coincide with him, I decided to try to watch it, especially since the series is short – only six episodes of 25 minutes each.
I watched it literally in two viewings, I really liked the series, despite the fact that they talk about gamers, and gaming is a world to which I do not belong in any way. But this series – contrary to what some viewers believe – is far from being made only for gamers, despite the fact that specific gaming slang is used here.
The series was created by screenwriter John Brown, who worked on Misfits, Succession, Avenue 5 and other series, as well as directors Jamie Jay Johnson and Al Campbell, who wanted to to show this gaming layer of culture fairly impartially.
And, in general, despite the fact that this, of course, is a certain satire on gaming and gamers, the members of a small gaming clan do not at all look like complete freaks who do not understand what is generally happening around in real life. They’re just – how to say – very passionate about it all, that’s all. And deep down they are well aware of what kind of fierce crap they are doing: for example, when their characters fly for a long, long time on an airship to get some other something out there, Meg says that Paul McCartney is one of he wrote his most famous songs in forty minutes, and they spent several tens of hours on this airship.
But people are such creatures! Many of them are addicted to all sorts of useless nonsense and spend a lot of time on it. Some drink, others collect stamps, others learn how to build houses of cards, others spend their time imagining themselves to be someone they are not and most certainly will not be. What’s wrong with these gamers? Yes, they are obsessed with this game. Yes, this is a completely virtual world that exists only as zeros and ones in a computer. But they have serious passions there!
They form clans, they fight in groups against someone or something, they help each other, they unitedly slander the actor Vince Vaughn, who was chosen to star in the Hollywood film adaptation of this game. (By the way, there is a very characteristic episode with how this story ended.)
They are very frank with each other: many viewers are slightly shocked by how openly Meg tells her friends in the game chat about her “rosebud” and that her pussy is already completely overgrown with mud, because she does not receive any drainage measures, but this the creators of the series just show that in front of each other gamers have nothing to be ashamed of or something to keep back. In the game, they are what they are: they can say anything to each other.
Well, yes, they have some strange notions about real gaming prowess. In particular, they admire the streamer named Big Nose, who once streamed for 16 hours in a row, sitting in a diaper, because he could not move away from the game, and Nikki and Uzman admire Meg, who, at the time of one legendary hack, had to answer the call nature with the help of a trash can, because she, too, could not leave. But even in ordinary life, many people admire, for example, a man who can fart Appassionata with his navel, or a guy who rolled a pea from Moscow to Tula with his nose – how is this different?
They have their own ethics, they have their own slang that outsiders do not understand, they have their own fraternity, and they are very purposeful people in their own way. And only after spending two years of their lives to finally destroy a digital character among computer zeros and ones and get some funny digital cookies for it, they feel devastated, but this is not for long: Meg goes to a new game, Nikki also goes to another new game, Uzman sort of decides to quit gaming to save his family, but we know he’ll be back anyway.
Alexa Davies as Meg is funny. It commands respect for its perseverance, while you sympathize with her constant sexual itch, because you understand – well, Meg is not destined to somehow satisfy this itch with her current lifestyle: that is why she constantly discusses it – just like sublimation.
Will Merrick as Nikki is just great! This is such a gaming “zadrot”, and in this case this term is in no way derogatory, on the contrary, it is the definition of a real gaming fan, a bearer of gaming ethics and gaming traditions. Nikki has certain non-gaming feelings for Meg there, although he respects her very much as an implacable gamer, and the whole story is shown very funny.
I really liked Charlotte Richie in the role of an island of normality in this apartment in the form of Alison (in one of the episodes it seemed to be her apartment): Alison struggled to survive in collisions with these two game hurricanes – Meg and Nikki.
Well, David Mumeny did a good job of portraying the cheerful idiot Russell. Casual, noob and klaxman – what else to say about him? But how to play without such characters at all, how? Without them, the game world is incomplete!
Good series, I liked it. It seems to be completely optional for viewing, but in some ways it is really iconic: it shows gamers with respect and an open mind, the series tries to figure out what is happening in their world. Plus, it’s all filmed with humor, the creators of the series change their sense of proportion quite rarely (I had to scroll through only one episode with a party gathered by Alison, where for some reason the dull toilet theme prevailed), the main characters are scripted interestingly, and played well.
The series is available on the IMDB HD streaming service (link under the review), but there, to be honest, the United Statesn voiceover is very, very so-so, spoiling the impression. However, as it turned out, you can choose a translation there, and among the options there is “Cube in a cube”, and this is a completely different matter.
PS Well, of course, I know that the main series about gamers is the American “Guild”, which lasted 6 seasons. I’m going to watch it.
Dead Pixels serie meaning
Director: John Brown Cast: Alexa Davies, Will Merrick, Charlotte Ritchie, Sargon Yelda, David Mumeny, Isabelle Marlowe, Debbie Chasen, Al Roberts
Series, UK, 2019, 25 min. 2 seasons, 6 episodes per season