So after going home from a day of pointless meetings (because 93 per cent of meetings are pointless), what makes us want put our feet up and watch other people moan about work on TV?
The best workplace comedies remind us that no matter our own frustrations in the office, it could always be worse, and better.
At least we don’t, hopefully, have to deal with a David Brent-type character whose malignancy is next level awful. Or, it reminds us, like Parks and Recreation did, that there is hope, that work could be a place of optimism, purpose and camaraderie.
Also, done well, they’re just hilarious – and there are fewer environments more relatable than a workplace, which makes the comedy zing that much harder when the stars align.
Enter, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. It has a ridiculous name that suggests it may be some inaccessible fantasy show that only Dungeons and Dragons aficionados could appreciate. But it’s not that at all.
The smart and quirky workplace comedy, streaming this Friday on Apple TV+, comes from some of the folks at It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, created by Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Megan Ganz.
It features a wonderful ensemble cast including McElhenney, F. Abraham Murray, Danny Pudi (Community), Australian Charlotte Nicdao, David Hornsby, Imani Hakim and Jessie Ennis – and they really got the casting right because the dynamics here are both fresh and familiar.
Set in a video game developer’s office, McElhenney plays Ian Grimm (Ian is pronounced as “iron” because that’s the kind of guy he is), the egomaniacal and self-styled visionary founder of a fictional online open world medieval game called Mythic Quest (similar to World of Warcraft).
Mythic Quest has been hugely successful and now the pressure is on hours out from the launch of its expansion pack, Raven’s Banquet.
By using that event as a springboard, Mythic Quest cleverly establishes the power struggles within the office, such as the tussle between Ian and lead engineer Poppy (Nicdao) over something as seemingly insignificant as adding a shovel tool into the game.
Poppy is the genius coder who actually executes Ian’s ideas, and like many gifted, hardworking women in a workplace, she’s perpetually underappreciated.
Then there’s the hapless executive producer David (Hornsby), a general manager-type who’s entrusted with making sure everything runs smoothly but is constantly overwhelmed by the stronger personalities in his midst.
Rounding out the core characters are Pudi’s “soulless” money guy Brad, Murray’s sci-fi writer C.W. Longbottom, possibly sociopathic assistant Jo (Jessie Ennis), and debuggers Rachel (Ashly Burch) and Dana (Imani Hakim).
Mythic Quest is not as “big” as It’s Always in Sunny in Philadelphia, its comedic vibe is more grounded and droll, the humour rising from observations and situations as much as it does from quips and jokes.
There’s as much hilarity to be extracted from the challenge of dealing with Nazis in the game or the fact that success rides on whether or not a 14-year-old influencer approves, than there is from punchlines.
That’s a harder thing to pull off and, at least from the early episodes, Mythic Quest does.
From its astute perceptions of the often absurdity of workplaces to the weirdest corners of the online gaming world, Mythic Quest is a great new series with the potential to be excellent.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet will be available to stream on Apple TV+ from Friday, February 7
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