The Legend of Vox Machina: The Terror of Tal'Dorei Pts 1 and 2 and The Feast of Realms
January 29, 2022 1:37 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

After a historically successful Kickstarter campaign, a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors who sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons get animated.

In episodes 1 and 2, a ragtag bunch of adventurers take a commission from the sovereign of Tal'Dorei to help fund their drinking club. In episode 3, one member of Vox Machina has a run-in with shadowy figures from his past.
posted by synecdoche (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is my first Fanfare post; apologies if I did it wrong.

I have to admit that I was not as prepared as maybe I should have been for the level of, erm, adult content in this, in spite of having watched many, many hours of Critical Role. I liked the first couple of episodes okay but I am not sure if I hadn't been already invested in the cast and characters that I'd keep watching—I'm kind of over cartoons that ramp up the gore and nudity to drive home the point that they aren't for kids.

Obviously they had to make some changes to the narrative to compress hundreds of hours of livestreamed story into a limited series. I think in some places it worked, but again, I wonder about the experience of folks who aren't familiar with these characters already. Are they invested in their stories on the basis of these early stories?

I did enjoy the voice work, though, and it was catch some familiar names, including of course David Tennant, Stephanie Beatriz, and Tony Hale. Some of the easter eggs were fun, too, including the animated versions of Matt Mercer and of course spotting a certain romance novel in Gilmore's shop.
posted by synecdoche at 1:43 PM on January 29, 2022

(Er, I had intended to cover the first three episodes that have been released but I think I messed it up... I don't know if that can be fixed by a mod?)
posted by synecdoche at 1:44 PM on January 29, 2022

Although their skills are great, they have a lot to learn before they're ready to save anyone. But I believe that Vox Machina can save the world.

(There's a lot of The Last Airbender and Korra in the animation style, I think.)
posted by SPrintF at 1:51 PM on January 29, 2022

I think they did a pretty good job introducing everyone's characters - but yeah, I agree about the amount of 'not for kids' gore. Rumor has it that the tone settles down a little bit after the first three episodes, and the first one was definitely the worst offender in that regard. But I enjoyed the fight scenes, and the easter eggs were also a lot of fun.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:57 PM on January 29, 2022

I never watched any Critical Role so I've come at this with no foreknowledge and while I really wanted to like it, the characters didn't grab me, the jokes were not particularly funny, the art was meh and overall it was sort of like having someone tell you about this D&D game they played; if the show relies on in-jokes and Easter eggs to be good, then folks like me are gonna be left out.
posted by The otter lady at 2:58 PM on January 30, 2022 [5 favorites]

I haven't kept up with Critical Role because it turns out I can't listen to other people play TTRPGs (I have tried so many live play podcasts and it's just not a format that works for me.) I followed the show just fine without necessarily catching all the easter eggs. In fact, I sought this out largely so I would have an easier time following conversations from people who do enjoy that format. I have a lot of friends who are very invested in CR.

Episode 3 was, for me, a vast improvement over the first two, though I could still stand an edit that cuts all of Scanlon's singing and 90% of his dialogue. I am 100% over that character archetype, at the game table and in other media. The gore didn't bother me as much because it was cartoony and also my tolerance may have been artificially increased by sitting through things like Attack on Titan.

I suppose it is a bit like someone telling you about a D&D game they played. That's not inherently a bad thing, though.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:12 AM on January 31, 2022 [1 favorite]

Scanlon is a ridiculously overdone character archetype, and frankly one that I find tired and offensive. Over the top horny bard - we get it. It might have been funnier 23 years ago when I was dumber and in high school. I recall an interview with Sam Riegel though, where he said Scanlon was originally supposed to be for a one-off, and he figured he'd just make the dumbest character possible, so maybe that explains some of it. I've heard he gets more of an arc later on, so maybe that helps.
posted by mrgoat at 10:34 AM on February 3, 2022

mrgoat, Scanlan has a pretty amazing character arch later in the first campaign. Who knows if they will include it in the animated series. I very much doubt it.
Scanlan is one of my favorite characters in the live show because you gradually realize, if you pay attention, how utterly different Sam Riegel is, and how much of that bleeds into the character. Sam is very much a support player, both in character, finding opportunities to buff other characters or helping them shine, and as himself in the game, noticing when tensions run high and saying just the right thing to defuse it.
Sam Riegel comes across as a kind, loving person who pays attention to what other people need and that has influenced my opinion on Scanlan.
I haven't watched the animated show. Doubt that I will as I don't enjoy crass humour and violence.
posted by Zumbador at 10:47 PM on February 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think they could have cut down a lot on the "adult" language. I felt that it was added for pure shock value and did not provide any poetry nor depth to the dialogue. I admit that the first two episodes were a slog. But my son insists that we watch it, so I play the reluctant parent saddled with a side quest.
posted by jadepearl at 3:10 PM on July 24, 2022

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