With production temporarily halted on so many films and television shows, casts and crews are getting creative about bringing new content to all the people fighting off ennui while sheltering in place. Late night hosts are putting together mini-talk shows from home, the main cast of Parks and Recreation virtually reunited for a special episode, and performers from various Hairspray productions (stage and screen) put together a show-stopping group performance of “You Can’t Stop the Beat” to benefit the Actor’s Fund. Now an Apple TV+ comedy series is getting into the game by teasing a very special episode, Mythic Quest: Quarantine, dropping next week.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet is a sitcom set in the offices of a game development studio; it debuted earlier this year, to mostly positive reviews. Co-creator and star Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) got the idea for the series after chatting with representatives from video game publisher Ubisoft about building a sitcom around gaming. The company even designed some of the fictional video game characters and game world used on the show, as well as serving as consultants for small details and technical jargon.
McElhenney plays Ian Grimm, creator of an epic fantasy game called Mythic Quest, with a story written by an aging hippie novelist, C.W. Longbottom (F. Murray Abraham). In S1, the company is planning the first narrative expansion for the game, Raven’s Banquet. Community‘s Danny Pudi plays the “head of monetization,” Brad, with David Hornsby (another It’s Always Sunny alum) playing executive producer David Brittlesbee. There’s also chief engineer Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao, A gURLs wURLd ), Dana (Imani Hakim, Everyone Hates Chris), and Rachel (Ashley Burch, Borderlands 2), whose job is to test the games for bugs.
In many ways, the show is a standard workplace comedy in the vein of Silicon Valley, The Office, or Future Man. But the writers have woven in lots of sly in-jokes and Easter eggs for eagle-eyed gamers, and by the end of the season, the show had largely found its voice. Apple renewed the series for a second season just before S1 premiered, but that’s currently on hold until Hollywood reopens for business. In the meantime, McElhenney and his co-creators saw an opportunity to build a special episode around the shared virtual work experience.
“Lots of workplaces are figuring out this whole working-from-home thing, and the gaming industry is no different. Virtual meetings are a new and special kind of hell, so I think people will relate,” said McElhenney. “Yes we’ve all had low points, but there have also been incredible moments of triumph and we wanted to celebrate that.”
The premise of the special episode is short and sweet: “As the MQ staff works from home, Poppy struggles with solitude while Brad and David start a charitable competition.” The teaser doesn’t provide many more details, but we do get to see Ian chillaxing in a hot tub, while Longbottom shows his age by not being sure which buttons he’s supposed to press or how to find the correct camera distance. “Obviously the quarantine has been tough on everyone,” Dave narrates as he tries in vain to get his employees to focus.
“We needed to shoot this episode fast without sacrificing quality,” said McElhenney. “Thankfully, we’re living in a time when everyone’s got a camera in their pocket. Having an iPhone coupled with the ingenuity of our crew, allowed us to make this unique piece of television in just days. We hope people enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.”
Mythic Quest: Quarantine will debut on Apple TV May 22, 2020.
Listing image by YouTube/Apple TV+