Last Tuesday night atop a trendy, glass-enshrouded shopping complex in the outskirts of Brooklyn, the cast and creative minds behind Apple TV’s new show, “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet,” waited to present their program to a group of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fans, eager to see what Rob McElhenney had to offer in his newest venture.
With Apple footing the bill of everyone’s dine-in theater experience, audience members were ready to commend the tech company on their latest efforts in entering the world of streaming. Little did Tim Cook know that I, an avid consumer of television programming, would be in attendance, and it would take more than free food and an hour of entertainment to convince me to sing Apple’s praises.
“Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” is a half-hour sitcom made for Apple TV+. It follows the happenings of a video game developing company and its assortment of conveniently diverse employees who clash at times but stick together due to the amount of success their creative efforts have achieved.
McElhenney, one of the show’s creators, kicked off last week’s event by warming up the crowd and welcoming everyone to one of the first public screenings of the show. He said a few words then introduced “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” to an audience who knew little to nothing about the show beyond the involvement of the “Always Sunny” team.
Although both “Mythic Quest” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” do bear some resemblance to one another, most notably in the delivery of certain jokes, “Mythic Quest” offers a different vehicle in which viewers can be delivered a new take on an all too frequented show format that is the traditional sitcom.
Being a show made exclusively for streaming, “Mythic Quest” doesn’t face the same limitations that plague network television. That being said, the show does not take advantage of its freedoms, using crude language sparingly and using visual gags that take things over the line, but not so far as to alienate those who get easily turned off at a small dose of political incorrectness. “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” is able to straddle the line between crude and tasteful well enough to keep most viewers invested and eager to see where the story takes them.
Going into Tuesday’s screening, attendees were only aware that they would be viewing two episodes, assumingly the first two. Episodes one and three were screened, which highlighted one of the series’ most crucial strengths: its ability to give viewers a sense of inclusivity by not requiring them to stay tied down to a continuing plot.
Although certain moments or lines did tie the two episodes together, not much was required of the audience to understand what was going on, which can be welcoming to a casual viewer looking for a new, easy watch.
Another strength of the show is its creative team and their efforts to deliver an authentic, funny show. The characters feel well-defined, making audiences believe they’ve known each other for some time before showing up on viewers’ screens.
Much of the writing team are veteran “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” writers, excelling in writing naturally flowing scenes and making no joke or situation feel forced. Part of the development process for the show included producers touring and observing a real video game developing studio in Canada, noted McElhenney in the post-screening Q&A. The show feels real, which helps keep viewers invested in the story.
“Mythic Quest” has much more to be said for it, but one thing that is certain is the amount of potential the first season of this show holds. If the two episodes screened at the event were a reflection of the season as a whole, “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” is a promising offer to the limited Apple TV+ lineup. McElhenney has hit the ground running with his latest creative endeavor and has shown no intent on slowing down, as the second season is already in production.
I cannot say there is faith to be held in Apple TV+ as a platform, but I can indeed sing the praises of their latest exclusive release.