The Escapist video game culture site has had no shortage of interesting web video content over the last few years — but the bulk of it has been created by the Canadian (and clever) sketch group Loading Ready Run. However, their third annual Film Festival contest, which allowed users to submit show pilots, has brought in some new talent: The Crew‘s Brett Register, who won the festival and has gone on to produce the new series A Good Knight’s Quest.
Several episodes of the series, written and directed by Register and produced by Paula Rhodes and Rick Rey, were shown at a premiere party in Los Angeles this Monday, giving more than a taste of the video game-based comedy series. The premise can best be described as the opposite of Tron: When video game nerd Dorian (Craig Frank) achieves the impossible in a game, he pulls the game’s princess into the real world — and finds himself an unwilling tour guide, the new foe of the game’s villain, and possibly even “The Chosen One.”
It’s not the most original concept, but the production values are relatively strong, the cinematography looks great, and there are plenty of laughs in Register’s script. It might have been nice to hear some more complex sound design and music usage, however. And while there are some standout performances, the cast isn’t strong across the board.
In the episodes previewed, Cathy Baron and Angie Cole, who play the evil henchmen of Galen (Douglas Sarine) are extremely good at posing in skimpy outfits but not as good at coming up with facial expressions beyond “pouting.” Whether that’s because they’re painfully underdirected and underwritten, unable to move in their costumes, or uncomfortable about being used mostly as fan-service, the fact remains that their scenes are the most stiff and awkward of the series.
In all honesty, though, Baron and Cole are only truly disappointing because they’re lifeless in contrast to Paula Rhodes, who plays the princess sucked into the real world. Rhodes brings a delightful spark to the series and her performance is nicely balanced between sincerity and comedy — especially when paired with Gabriel (the also excellent Charlie Bodin), a knight from her world who’s all goody-goody charm. Frank takes a much different approach from his work on Compulsions (straight man as opposed to sociopath), but still gets some good laughs along the way.
Only the first episode is out so far (new installments drop every Friday), but the show looks to be perfectly targeted towards the gamer audience The Escapist already attracts — with a deadpan wit of its own.
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