- Creators: Charlie Day, Megan Gan, Rob McElhenney
- Starring: Rob McElhenney, Charlotte Nicdao, David Hornsby, Danny Pudi, Jessie Enis, Imani Hakim, Ashly Burch, Naomi Ekperigin
- Entire season watched for review
Mythic Quest is but one of three TV shows that co-creator and star Rob McElhenney has running currently (not to be diminished, one of those shows involves his real-life co-ownership of a Welsh football club). With so much output to keep track of, you’d be forgiven for being apprehensive about being stretched too thin. But the show displays a level of confidence and humor in its third season – which premieres with two episodes today – that we’ve come to expect by now from McElhenney in his still-evolving career.
Of course, it helps when you have a talented cast to fall back on, and season three sees creators McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Megan Ganz further honing in on each of the oddball characters that populate each episode. Season two’s finale saw the titular game office shaken up considerably, with Ian (McElhenney) and Poppie (Charlotte Nicdao) starting their own company to work on Poppy’s new creation. McElhenney and Nicdao provide a fantastic back-and-forth throughout the season as they lean into their specific quirks and butt heads with each other. If there weren’t so many to choose from, I’d posit that Nicdao is the season’s MVP, making Poppy a brilliant, calculating, and caring person who also happens to survive on gas station pizza and candy bars.
The show’s third season continues to subvert expectations not by changing things up on a seismic level, but by mostly maintaining the status quo. This may not make for the best water cooler material, but the creators seem mostly intent on replicating the magic of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: by simply inserting their characters into varying situations and creating chaos, but mostly keeping things the same. Take Brad (Danny Pudi) for example. At the end of season two, he’s sent to jail for insider trading but within minutes of the season premiere, he’s already been released and finds his way back into the Mythic Quest office (albeit with a much different job title).
The workplace sitcom is a genre that’s largely been diminished with the current dearth of quality network content (Abbott Elementary notwithstanding), and it’s great to see Mythic Quest take up that mantle. Season three mostly sticks to the workplace lives of its characters, and rarely sees them leave the office. But where the show lacks in outer character development, it makes up for in the sheer volume of jokes. Plenty of laughs come early simply in the bizarro futuristic design of Ian and Poppy’s new office. Jessie Enis’s Jo continues to make virtually every line delivery a scream, as she leans into her character’s barely functional humanity. One episode sees her, Poppy, and Rachel (Ashly Burch) go out to brunch, and the conversation about femininity and friendship in a male-dominated workplace is smart and hilarious.
With a show about competing video games in close proximity to each other, it could come across as lazy to see them cross paths so often (something this season traffics in, and creates a host of running gags from), but I found myself surrendering to the absurdity of it all and basking in the joy of seeing these characters pairing with and against one another. And it bears mentioning that each of the characters not mentioned above, including David (David Hornsby), Dana (Imani Hakim), and Carol (Naomi Ekperigin) continue to put in stellar work. This is a show without a weak link among its cast.
Another aspect that fans have come to expect from the show is its more dramatic stand-alone episodes, and season three delivers what may be the best among them (though my personal favorite is still season one’s A Dark Quiet Death). Each of the first two season’s entries have been about tangential characters that have impacted the ones we’ve spent time with. This season is the most direct, dealing with the impact our parents have on shaping our futures, for better and worse.
Browse through the full Apple TV+ catalog and you’ll be inundated with an almost overwhelming number of shows to choose from. It’s all too easy for a show like Mythic Quest to be lost amongst the shuffle, as Apple continues to release more and more material, and especially as more seasons are made, making it more difficult for new fans to get attached. But Mythic Quest is a show that rewards its audience with jokes galore, fully realized characters, and unbridled creativity.
Two episodes of Mythic Quest are available to stream on Apple TV+ now. Subsequent episodes will be released each Friday.