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'Mythic Quest' Season Two Puts Pandemic In Rear View Mirror

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The AppleTV+ series "Mythic Quest" now returns for its second season and faced challenges shooting during the pandemic.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Last year mythic quest produced a quarantine episode that cleverly used zoom, the Apple TV plus series. Now returns for a second season, came PBS arts reporter. Beth Armando goes behind the scenes to explore the challenges of creating comedy in a pandemic last year, Apple TV series, mythic quest lifted our spirits with a zoom quarantine episode that captured what many of us were dealing with. Look

Speaker 2: 00:26 At the video icon on the bottom left, and then click

Speaker 1: 00:28 That. And it did so with a wildly creative flare that inspired us with a sense that we're all in this together. That was cool. You did again, the goal for season two was to put the pandemic in the rear view mirror. It's a star and creator Rob McEleney,

Speaker 2: 00:43 And we felt like people were really going to be looking towards their entertainment. Certainly dark comedies, not necessarily move completely past the last year yet looking more towards the future optimistically

Speaker 1: 00:56 There an executive producer, David Hornsby says they created a special bonus episode called Everlane,

Speaker 2: 01:01 Which can address and kind of bridge us back into a normal fun office comedy. So we can all kind of get back to normal. Well, we're not going to figure this out today. So,

Speaker 1: 01:09 So they tried to write episodes that had little to do with the pandemics as McElhaney

Speaker 2: 01:14 That said we were shooting right in the middle of the pandemic. And we have to be very cognizant of the fact that it could have been potentially very dangerous. In fact, it was very dangerous and that's why we had very strict protocols all the way through the process. So I've been tested for COVID over 60 times in order to do comedy. I didn't think that my comedy career would lead to so much nasal swabbing, but here we are

Speaker 1: 01:36 Mythic quest writer and co-creator Megan Gantt says she never expected a comedy show about the gaming industry needing to hire an epidemiologist. Yeah,

Speaker 2: 01:45 We had epidemiologists. We had doctors, we had people standing around with six foot poles that would just walk around. It'd be like, ah, you're too close. You know, and everything changed when I have a joke on set and all it's for align. And I could just whisper it to Rob and David and get a second read on whether it was funny. Now I just had to shout it out like across the room, which is a very vulnerable place to be in no amount of masking and protection protects you from the silence that occurs. When you shout out a joke that nobody likes

Speaker 1: 02:16 The character of Brad played by actor. Danny Poodie proved well suited to a pandemic workplace

Speaker 2: 02:22 In some ways brand is built for this because he is not giving high fives at work. He's not hugging anyone. He is very comfortable in his own space with his hands in his pockets.

Speaker 1: 02:33 Mythic quest looks behind the scenes of creating an Epic multiplayer video game. So while epidemiologists were available to offer COVID information, you be soft, an actual video game company. That's also a show producer is on hand to provide a different kind of expertise, says Hornsby.

Speaker 2: 02:50 They're like, uh, being on a medical show and having a doctor on set again, Rob McElhinney. We make sure that we speak to people who work in the industry specifically, either at Ubisoft or various other studios, because we want to make sure that it feels authentic to the, to the, to the gaming experience. And so it's great to work with them. They give us access to so many different things that we would never have access to. And mostly they create a certain level of authenticity that we're desperately trying to recreate. Sorry to crash your little boys club,

Speaker 1: 03:20 Charlotte, Nick Dow plays poppy, the games lead engineer.

Speaker 2: 03:23 Yeah. It's very helpful having one of our producers, Jason Altman on set most days, because I have to say a lot of technical jargon. So I feel like we got a lot of tags and they like getting halfway through talking about something and then being like Jason was that right?

Speaker 1: 03:38 And when the series needs to actually show what the characters are creating, they have a real gaming company on board to help produce results, says Gantz.

Speaker 2: 03:46 We devised really weird and wonderful things to happen in the video game. And then actual artists build these moments like, uh, have a person digging with a shovel and making crude shapes out of it. Somebody spent a lot of time making that actually work. It's just been the most fantastic partnership. Um, and they are there in the writers room all the time. And they're really helping us guide the show.

Speaker 1: 04:09 A mythic quest may focus on gaming, but it captures universal truths about both office life and living in a world, still dealing with a pandemic. And it does both with clever humor, Bethlehem Mondo, KPBS news, mythic quest, season two has new episodes drop

Speaker 2: 04:27 Friday on Apple TV plus.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.