Exploring an emerging industry on television can be difficult. Video games have long occupied a special place in popular culture but rarely has the industry found itself the subject of film or television. Ever since the blips and boops of Pong changed entertainment, the expansion of the video game industry had led to some unusual content creators. Continuing their success from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Megan Ganz have built a surprisingly complex second series. Playing off the seemingly confusing world of video games, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet returned with some new dynamics for their characters. The accessibility of the workplace comedy should help Mythic Quest expand its reach in its sophomore season, but its success will ultimately depend on how we relate to their characters. On that level, season two surpasses the first with its charm and wit intact.
Where to begin the second season of Mythic Quest is an interesting proposition. Unofficially, the second season begins with a one-off special, “Everlight,” a combination live-action/video game festival held within the office. Officially, the second season begins with the continuing creative evolution within the company. Ian (Rob McElhenney) still holds a powerful grip over the office for his odd charisma. Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) brings programming skills and creative ambition to the leadership team. As the two learn how to work together, the office’s relationships develop professionally and romantically.
McElhenney and Nicdao continue to drive the actions of the series, but their relationship continues to build on the special episodes released during COVID quarantine. Fans of McElhenney will find he consistently sells his energetic, and often self-deprecating, humor with charm. He brings a manic quality to the show that’s hard to duplicate. Meanwhile, Nicdao finds more nuance with Poppy in season 2. Becoming the boss forces her to recontextualize her relationships but provides ample opportunity for comedy gold.
Perhaps the most important step forward for Mythic Quest came in the development of its side characters. F. Murray Abraham remains the funniest cast member, despite being bound to a laptop screen. The evolving struggles between Danny Pudi‘s cocky businessman and David Hornsby‘s doormat of a producer culminate in some amusing side stories (especially regarding Hornsby’s dating life). Ashly Burch and Imani Hakim get much of the juiciest plot as they navigate their professional goals while cultivating their new relationship. Jessie Ennis continues to come into her own as a Swiss-Army knife of a businesswoman. As she finds the right role for herself in the company, she provides a brash style of comedy that stands out from the comedy styles of her fellow castmates.
The stories this season feel commonplace within the subgenre. Most of the conflict stems from the new expansion for the Mythic Quest game. The lines between art, creativity, and giving credit to the hard-working teams that bring it all together are central to the season. While these stories are fairly straightforward, Mythic Quest features some standout performances (especially for guest star Derek Waters). However, as the season progresses, Mythic Quest takes some interesting swings. The best of those swings serves as an origin for one of the core characters while establishing a completely different tone and style. The 1970’s inspired episode has more in common with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel than the sleek, contemporary series.
Meanwhile, the “Everlight” special episode presents the most innovative episode of the season. The combination of animation, visual effects, and a vocal guest spot from Anthony Hopkins unlocks the show’s potential. Between its two special episodes and two episodes of backstory, Mythic Quest often backdoors in more emotional or complex stories. While the “regular” episodes of the series provide plenty of humor, the series showcases the possibility for more.
Mythic Quest pushes the boundaries of its storytelling in more ways than one would expect. Yet when it’s not breaking the show’s format, the modern-day series can get a little stale visually. Luckily, the winning cast and a large palette of humor sell the workplace comedy. The series is not always perfect, but with a floor as high as Mythic Quest, you rarely find yourself disappointed. With some true gems over the course of Season 2, there’s plenty of reason to put Mythic Quest in your weekly rotation.