Mythic Quest is one of those under-appreciated shows that just doesn't get enough love. It's not exactly hard to figure out why, though. Mythic Quest is on the under-watched Apple TV Plus and has a title that sounds like a fantasy show, when in fact it's about the wild world of video game development.
That said, Mythic Quest season 3, which just aired its third episode today, is already proving itself to be one of my favorite shows on TV right now.
And while I've spent a fair amount of time scrounging in troves of the best Apple TV Plus shows, looking for under-appreciated gems (Central Park, The Essex Serpent and Black Bird come to mind), none still stack up to Mythic Quest. And while the series has seen decent success (it's green-lit for a fourth season, which will follow the currently-airing third season), it still seems to be underperforming in one category I look for regularly: word of mouth buzz.
And as I said, Mythic Quest just doesn't get the attention it deserves. Looking at numbers from industry firm Parrot Analytics (which measures online engagement to look at demand), MQ has a decent 12.1x rating against the market average. While Parrot calls that "outstanding," that score pales in comparison to Abbott Elementary (23.5x) and Andor (31.8x), the Star Wars series that's slowly put together some buzz. Even The White Lotus (14.7x), which feels like it has a lot less attention on it than in its first season, beats MQ.
So, as a Mythic Quest fan, I'm going to do my part to try and remedy this issue, and explain why you need to watch this Apple TV Plus ($6.99 / £6.99 / $8.99 CAD / AUD $9.99 per month) series right now.
One of the best workplace comedies of the moment
The best thing about Mythic Quest is how it's a strong "island of misfit employees" comedy, where everyone is broken in their own particularly amusing way. Chief among them is Ian (pretentiously pronounced eye-an) Grimm, who is played by co-creator Rob McElhenny, an egotist of the highest order. This is a guy who goes so far as to put his face alongside Mother Teresa's in season 3, in a scene I'll not spoil any more details about.
But just take a look at the above season 1 preview, for the spoiler-free experience you should be getting. In part that's by showing off its cast, which draws from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, with McElhenny and co-star/writer David Hornsby, who plays David Brittlesbee, the manager who has no real ability to manage others. If you enjoy how Abbott Elementary's Jacob (Chris Perfetti) is constantly mocked by his own students, you'll probably get a kick out of David.
And this is, I'd argue, one of the best reasons to give Mythic Quest a try: for everyone who found Sunny too dark, weird or offensive (season 1 has not held up well), Mythic Quest is a more palatable experience.
You'll also meet Poppy Li (Charlotte Nicdao), who is maybe the perfect protagonist for a show right now. Incredibly insecure and neurotic, Poppy is a relatable character because she just wants to do a good job at work, despite the fact that Ian is a very tough boss to work for. And her overall story arc through the show to this date is one of my favorites in TV.
Then, you have the ultra-chaotic elements of the Mythic Quest office, with the power-hungry Jo (Jessie Ennis) being a favorite of mine. Constantly looking to rise in the corporate world, Jo is openly craven in the best way. Then, there's Brad (Danny Pudi), who is in charge of in-app-purchases for the game, and he's exactly what you'd expect from someone in that role: constantly thinking how he can manipulate a situation for profit. Yes, Jo and Brad are a perfect pairing.
I can't leave without talking about the C.W. Longbottom (F. Murray Abraham), the game's aging scribe whose vision doesn't align with the rest of the team's. Murray plays that role perfectly, with the kookiness and pride that somehow manage to align by sheer charisma. He believes in the character, and so should we.
Video game humor that even non-gamers can laugh at
Even if you don't play video games, you'll laugh at Mythic Quest's observations about video games. There's a certain acronym introduced very early in the series, which I won't spoil here (you'll Google it, I know I would), that had me howling. And it's not a term that requires any prior knowledge about gaming. It just shows off how absurd gaming culture is, using a real life pattern observed in most games. And that basis in fact is one of the best parts about Mythic Quest: you'll (probably) learn some things about video games along the way.
Montreal-based video game publisher Ubisoft played a big role in the development of Mythic Quest, which is part of why this show isn't just what comedy people think about gaming culture. The terrible state of workers rights in gaming development is shied away from either — and while the industry has ungodly long hours with its 'grind' culture, this still helps make Mythic Quest a show that you can relate to, even if your shifts aren't as long.
Some of the most memorable TV episodes, period
In each of its first two seasons, Mythic Quest has delivered one episode that goes off the beaten path and down an unexpected avenue. In season one, "A Dark Quiet Death" introduced us to indie game developers Doc (Jake Johnson) and Bean (Cristin Milioti) in a story that is best explained by saying nothing at all. Much like some of the better horror movies of the last years (Barbarian, currently one of the best HBO Max movies comes to mind), the less you know, the better it will be.
Then, in season 2, we got "Backstory!" an episode that gave one of the MQ team a flashback that helped show their path to being the human they are. This episode wasn't as self-contained as "A Dark Quiet Death," and didn't quite live up to that episode either, but it's still one of the show's best.
Mythic Quest's second season finale then proved more impressive, by upending its entire framework. I won't spoil any of its changes, but it made me all the more desperate as I waited for season 3.
Outlook: Mythic Quest season 3 has been a rocky — but fulfilling — road so far
The first episode of this new season sneaks in a surprising gut punch that I truly did not expect. And in a statement I rarely make, it's one instance where I hope they walk this change back (if you're OK with spoilers, click here to learn why they apparently won't). That moment wasn't bad, exactly, because it was emotionally affecting. I'm just greedy, I guess.
Then, there was a scene in the newly released third episode of this new season that felt a bit close to a sketch from I Think You Should Leave (one of the best Netflix shows). It didn't ruin the episode at all, but I still felt a little confused watching it. If it was meant to be homage, then maybe that should have been more obvious.
That said, I'm in a tough situation with Mythic Quest. Much like when I go to the grocery store and bring a pint of ice cream or a bag of chips home, I've got access (via Apple TV Plus' screeners) to the entire third season of Mythic Quest. That said, I don't want it to be over any time soon. Mythic Quest is one of those great shows that's utterly binge-able, and also one I don't want to finish too soon.
So, if you've somehow missed Mythic Quest, now's a perfect time to get on board. We're three episodes into the new season, and 20 episodes already aired (with nine episodes per season and two bonus episodes).