One of the more brilliant ideas to bear the name of Dan Harmon isn’t an animated comedy series like the fan-favorite Rick and Morty or a live-action cult classic like Community, but a blend of both approaches with a dash of D&D-esque flavoring thrown in. This is HarmonQuest. As Harmon himself self-deprecatingly admits at the beginning of every episode, he’s not the star of the show; that honor falls to dungeon master and co-creator Spencer Crittenden, who literally holds the fate of the role-playing game’s characters in his dice-rolling hands. HarmonQuest, available to binge now on VRV, is a perfect mash-up of a variety show, improv comedy filmed in front of a live audience, weekly RPG session, and hilarious animated series all rolled into half-hour dramedy that would never fly on traditional TV (unless your name is Ricky Gervais) but thrives in the streaming world.
Season 1 of HarmonQuest introduced Crittenden’s village of Earthscar and the player characters who would defend it … or completely cock it all up. Either way. Alongside Harmon’s half-orc warrior Fondue Zoobag are recurring stars Erin McGathy as Beur O’Shift the barbarian and Jeff Davis as Bone Weevil the mischievous and occasionally dick-biting goblin. (Yeah, it’s a mature show.) The core cast are entertaining enough on their own, but each episode also features a gem of a guest star who brings a varying level of RPG experience to their special, one-shot character. Such past guest stars included Nathan Fillion, Gillian Jacobs, Elizabeth Olsen, Patton Oswalt, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aubrey Plaza to name a few. Kumail Nanjiani, the show’s only recurring guest so far, returns for the HarmonQuest Season 2 finale as Eddie Lizard.
And the events of that finale have important implications for the future of HarmonQuest since it not only sets up conflicts for a possible Season 3 but also confirms just how seriously the players are taking this game. You see, all of the characters suffered a mighty blow in the previous episode and one of them was left quite dead as a result. This led to some absolutely hilarious confusion and consternation from the players themselves; since HarmonQuest cuts between the live-action stage reading of the ongoing RPG and the resulting animation that adapts it, audiences get some truly unique comedic moments that you won’t find in just about any other series. (And the fact that Starburns Industries only has to animate roughly two-thirds of the show is a very smart strategy when it comes to cost-savings.)
Without spoiling today’s finale for you, I will say the following: The trio works together (in ways you might not expect) with Eddie Lizard (who throws a mighty wrench into the works along the way) with the hopes of defeating this season’s big bad. In any other RPG or traditional comedy/drama series, you might see what’s coming a mile away, but in HarmonQuest, the show’s chaotic nature guarantees that you’ll never be able to guess how it all shakes out. And that’s just one subtle aspect of what makes this hybrid hit one of Harmon (& Co.’s) best ideas to date, and one worthy of binging from the beginning.
Tune in to VRV at 3pm ET today, Friday, November 17th to catch the hilarious and unpredictable Season 2 finale of HarmonQuest. And be sure to stay through the credits for a delightful animated short featuring some fan-favorite guest star characters! (Let’s just say, I really want to see this spin-off series.)
The Sorcerer of the Storm
It’s the epic final showdown, an all out brawl between our heroes and the Sorcerer of the Storm!
A lethal encounter sets our party back, but after being rejoined by a familiar face from their past, our heroes face Celty and take on the deadly enchantress in her flying fortress. Can the gang finally put a stop to Celty’s evil schemes, and what even were those evil schemes anyway?
Review: ★★★★★ Excellent