Yesterday, Apple solidified its most high-profile 2020 original series debut so far: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet is a half-hour comedy from the team behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and all nine episodes of the show’s first season will be available to subscribers of the new streaming service on February 7, 2020.
For fans of modern TV comedy, the cast and crew involved might be particularly exciting. Sunny alums Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day are executive producers, and McElhenney and Megan Ganz (Sunny, Community, Modern Family) co-created the series. On camera, McElhenney stars as the fictional game company’s creative director, Ian Grimm, and the rest of the cast is equally delightful: Danny Pudi (Abed on Community) and F. Murray Abraham (Dar Adal on Homeland) headline an ensemble with Imani Hakim (Everybody Hates Chris), Charlotte Nicdao (Thor: Ragnarok), David Hornsby (Cricket on Sunny), Ashly Burch (an actual video game actor in Life Is Strange), and Jessie Ennis (Better Call Saul). The series is a collaborative production between Lionsgate, 3 Arts Entertainment… and Ubisoft, which debuted a teaser back at E3 2019.
The basic premise sets up Mythic Quest as a massively popular medieval-styled MMORPG on the brink of pushing out its first major expansion. (Hmmm, MQ kinda-sorta sounds familiar.) We see Ian Grimm (McElhenney) and his team watching a trailer for this release that puts the game in totally appropriate cultural context. “When we think of cultural touchstones, we think of ET, Star Wars, Avatar, and yet our industry drawers the entertainment business,” Grimm says, moments before appearing shirtless in what appears to be a gladiator-type arena. “When we think about legends, why not think about Mythic Quest?”
Sunny has always been a particular brand of humor, so maybe “your mileage may vary” should be the expectations for Mythic Quest once it launches early next year. But either way, it’s yet another example in what’s been a growing, recent string of game developer portrayals in the second half of the decade. AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire (2014) might be the pinnacle of these, with Kotaku UK even calling it the only show that even got games right (likely not a goal for Mythic Quest). But HBO’s Silicon Valley had a few recurring game development characters, the lead in Netflix’s Russian Doll is a game developer, and in the last two years NBC debuted then cancelled a series called I Feel Bad that used a game development company as its setting for office-place humor. Wherever Mythic Quest falls in that spectrum, we’re at least safely assuming these developers won’t end up in a time loop where all roads lead to destruction (ala Netflix’s also game-developer-centric, Bandersnatch).
Listing image by Apple TV+