Pandemic doesn’t stop cast, crew of ‘Mythic Quest’

Rick's Reviews

Jessie Ennis and F. Murray Abraham star in “Mythic Quest.” (Photo courtesy of Apple TV+)

(KGET) — It took some major logistical work but the cast and crew of the original Apple TV+ series “Mythic Quest” managed to complete a second season of the workplace comedy despite having to deal with the pandemic. The results of those efforts for the comedy series from creators Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Megan Ganz can be seen starting May 7 when the first two episodes will debut on the streaming service.

New episodes will be available each week after the second season launch.

“Mythic Quest” follows the quirky team behind the biggest multiplayer video game of all time. Season two deals with efforts to build upon the success of the game “Raven’s Banquet” by launching a new expansion. Creative Director Ian Grimm (Rob McElhenney) and the newly promoted co-creative director, Poppy Li (Charlotte Nicdao), struggle with the game’s direction.

The second season also will feature ensemble cast members Naomi Ekperigin, Caitlin McGee, Humphrey Ker, Chris Naoki Lee and Jonathan Wiggs. Snoop Dogg is scheduled to make a guest appearance.

Just like playing a video game, the challenges of moving to level two – also known as a second season – of “Mythic Quest” became more intense. There were the same hurdles to conquer such as how to make a show dealing with a group of game creators funny and interesting. But, that also had to be done under the protocols put in place by the beast of the pandemic.

“We knew that nothing is 100% safe,” McElhenney says. “If we were going to make the decision to go back to work, that we could do the best we could do and unfortunately certain things are just uncontrollable.”

The protocols included hiring an outside team of scientists and doctors to make sure everyone was constantly being tested. Masks, face shields and social distancing was mandatory.  

One of the major concerns was Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham who plays C.W. Longbottom, the head writer at the company. He needed to continue to be part of the series but because Abraham is 81, there were some major concerns.

McElhenney talked with Abraham to discuss ways they could creatively keep him part of the show while giving him added protection.

“I said, ‘Murray, I think we have to figure out a way to get creative here, at least for the first half of the season, because we just don’t know enough about the virus. We know we can be as safe as possible, but we just have to take all of these considerations, all these variables into considerations,’ and he was not pleased,” McElhenney says. “He said, ‘I want to come.  I want to be there. I want to be there.’  And I said, ‘Respectfully, I do not want to be known as the person that got F. Murray Abraham very, very ill’.” 

McElhenney’s proud of the compromise they reached to keep Abraham safe but also keep him working. The first half of the second season has Abraham’s character working remotely from home. That gave them time to come up with ways to get him back on the set in a safe way.

“Also it gave them an opportunity to laugh at my incompetence with computers.  Let’s not forget that part,” Abraham says.

Abraham ended up spending a lot of time in his hotel room waiting to be called to the set. Even on days when he didn’t have to work, Abraham was tested. Once he got the OK to return to work on the set, Abraham’s interaction with the cast was kept to a minimum.

The reason Abraham pushed so hard to remain a part of the series is that he knows his character brings a different perspective. The game business world is dominated by young people and Abraham wanted to show that being older does not diminish a person’s value.

“What they’re essentially addressing, in my character for sure, is the potential that someone over 80 years of age has something to say and something to give and is still quite alive, and exciting, and interesting.  He’s not dead by any means,” Abraham says. “But also, there are so many other things that are addressed and it’s not just age.

“It has to do with the ideas and the things that are addressed in this series are very serious and very important, but they’re so lightly touched on that it’s a pleasure.  It’s not a lesson.  It’s not dictatorial.  It touches on things that people don’t usually want to talk about, but they’re delighted when they see it discussed this way.  I’m so proud, by the way, to be part of this thing that’s going on.  I can’t begin to tell you.  And, you know, I’ve been around for a long time and I’ve done some good work.”

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