Dungeons And Dragons meet Guardians Of The Galaxy in this hilarious adult animation.
This recap of Amazon’s The Legend Of Vox Machina season 1, episode 1, “The Terror Of Tal’Dorei Part 1,” contains spoilers.
Dungeons And Dragons is an ever-growing area of pop culture fandom, one that has been popularised in film and TV for decades now. You’ll have seen it in geeky TV comedies (Freaks And Geeks, Community, The Big Bang Theory, etc.) or more recently in the Netflix hit, Stranger Things. The players are always cast as misfits and introverts, gaming in a gloomy, dark basement. Well, The Legend Of Vox Machina looks ready to shatter that stigma once and for all.
The Legend Of Vox Machina season 1, episode 1 recap
This fantasy epic, based on the Critical Role web series, kicks off in true style. The Kingdom of Tal’Dorei is introduced via a quick montage. A band of heroes, who look suspiciously similar to a certain fellowship of a certain ring, stand atop a mountain, ready to battle evil. It feels like your standard, run of the mill kids TV show until the Gimli lookalike is squished by a falling boulder. Then Gandalf is decapitated and the surviving members are picked off one by one. It’s gruesome and unexpected, with enough blood and profanity to make a horror fan blush. This is the perfect summation of the show – surprising, hilarious and violent adult animation.
Cut to our titular gang caught in a barroom brawl. The Vox Machina crew are a drunken and vomiting mess, but they can still fight. The seven mercenaries and their pet bear Trinket jump onto the screen in rip-roaring fashion. It’s quite the introduction: Grog (a goliath barbarian – think of Drax) chops an arm clean off with his axe, whilst Keyleth (the half-elf druid – a cross between Loki and Groot) spews straight into an enemy’s open mouth. And let’s not even mention the gnome bard Scanlan, he’s off in a bedroom serenading the bar owner’s daughter with a lute! The filmmakers are clearly going for a Guardians Of The Galaxy vibe, yet swap outer space for the fantasy realm — and it really works.
Low on money, they snatch a reward sign and head to the King’s palace. Cue another Scanlan musical number, in this classic he outlines each member’s role in the troupe. It’s comedy gold that ends with Scanlan rapping to an unimpressed Sovereign Uriel (The Walking Dead’s Khary Payton). Without any other options, the gang is hired and head into the unknown to hunt down a deadly beast.
The Vox Machina are promptly dropped in the beast’s path and waste no time in showcasing their many powers. Percy is a slick gunslinger in glasses; Grog a giant with brute strength; Pike a gnome cleric with healing hands and Keyleth can control nature. There’s the half-elf twins Vax and Vex, Scanlan the horny gnome, and Trinket their loyal pet to finish off this sorry squad. It’s a lot to unpack in one short episode, with numerous characters to embrace, yet there’s so much here to enjoy.
The pilot episode gives you a real taster of what’s to be expected from this silly, sassy show. The animation is clean and contemporary. It’s gory and unforgivingly rude. There are barrels full of comedy and some nifty action pieces too. Despite spoofing and stealing with great ease, it somehow manages to still feel fresh. This is a comical opener that sets the tone instantaneously. Like the narrator says in that tongue-in-cheek intro, “Well, that was… something.” Something indeed!
What do you think of Amazon’s The Legend Of Vox Machina season 1, episode 1? Comment below.