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Apple TV+‘s Mythic Quest makes a play for the gaming biz with cheeky workplace sitcom
With HBO’s Silicon Valley complete, Apple TV+ is looking to add a different chapter to scripted comedies pulling back the curtain on life as a programmer with Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. Co-created by Megan Ganz (Community) and Rob McElhenny (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), the single-camera, workplace comedy follows a successful company trying to navigate a hit title. The creatives and cast revealed early footage at Apple TV+’s Television Critics Association presentation today in Pasadena, California.
McElhenney also stars as Ian Grimm, the company's creative director. He works with an ensemble of odd characters played by Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, Danny Pudi, Imani Hakim, Charlotte Nicdao, David Hornsby, Ashly Burch, and Jessie Ennis.
Co-creator Megan Ganz said that the writers looked to classic sitcoms to help build the ensemble feel of this series. “I grew up watching Cheers, which is a perfect pilot, so we were looking to bring those dynamics into this show. Rob and I also talked about The Golden Girls. And we talked about trying to make it about relatable work dynamics whether or not you know about video games.”
But adding to the show’s authenticity is the savvy casting of actors like Ashly Burch, who is well known for her gaming voice work and a cast member on Critical Role. She told reporters that it was important that the series felt authentic to gaming and the gaming industry. “I feel it did a really good job,” she enthused. “And we wanted to encompass the industry as a whole, so there’s good and bad. We just screened it for at a gaming convention, and the response was really positive.”
And unlike shows like Silicon Valley, which featured a very male-heavy cast, Mythic Quest has a gender-balanced cast, which the women on the panel said allows them to address how unbalanced the real gaming industry is.
“It’s a hot-button issue,” actress Charlotte Nicdao said about the lack of women in gaming. “I have personally been in positions before where I didn’t get recognition because of my gender. But my character, Poppy, has no self-doubt. She knows she is a genius, and it’s empowering to play that.”
Actress Imani Hakim, who plays games tester Dana, continued, “We don’t see shows that put women in shows like this, especially as a games tester that is a woman of color.” Nicdao then added, “And it’s not sugar-coated by saying there is gender equality [in gaming]. It is unusual that Poppy is a programmer, and that is addressed.”
And perhaps most surprising of all is the addition of F. Murray Abraham as C.W. Longbottom, as the senior member of the cast. Abraham addressed the reaction to him doing a sitcom by providing some context: "The first 15 years of my career was [in] comedy, but no one knows that because no one can remember,” he joked. “But this series has four generations of actors.”
While he didn’t want to reveal too much about his character, he did share that he’s not the token "doddering old guy." McElhenny added that they wrote the role for an "F. Murray type" and then casting suggested the actual actor, who read the script and signed on. As to what specifically appealed to him, Abraham shared, “I like this man. I think he represents a wonderful sense of two different cultures. Literary culture, and then he’s trying to bridge that gap with the electronic medium. He’s one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever played.”
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet has its global premiere on February 7 on Apple TV+. All nine half-hour episodes will drop out on that day. A Season 2 renewal was announced by Apple TV+ today.