Thanks to an advance screener, I was able to watch the premiere episode of Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, Comedy Central’s first foray into fantasy-comedy. The show follows the inept lead character, Mandoon, and his band of inept rebels as they fight the tyranny of the evil Emperor, but especially the inept Chancellor Dongolor. In the premiere episode, Mandoon attempts to rescue General Arcadius, his mentor, from Dongolor, who has just come into possession of the evil Eye of Gulga Grymna, though he lacks the knowledge of how to use it. Will Mandoon rescue Arcadius from the evil clutches of the bad guy? Will Dongolor figure out his weapon of mass destruction? More importantly, will I tune in to see?
The short answer is: yes.
- It garnered several laughs – A fantasy-comedy (or anything-comedy) is only watchable if it’s funny. Krod Mandoon did generate a few laughs. It’s kind of like an updated Monty Python, but with more risqué humor.
- The show doesn’t take itself too seriously – It’s silly and it knows it’s silly. And while it doesn’t aspire to be highbrow comedy — as proven, for example, by the mention of Emperor Zanus (say it fast) — it’s also is better written than, say, a Will Ferrell movie. But make no mistake: this is an adult comedy. What I like about the show is that it makes no apologies and it goes all-out
- The characters are fun – Just about all of them are quirky in a way that contributes to the humor:
- Mandoon (Sean Maguire) is a bumbling hero who’s more likely to bump into something than not. Maguire has great timing and pulls off some nice one-liners.
- Mandoon’s girlfriend, Aneka (India de Beaufort), is a promiscuous warrior who uses sex as a weapon. And a hobby. She’s like a red light district version of Xena.
- Zezelryck (Kevin Hart) is a magic-less warlock who fakes his way through confrontations. He also has good lines, though Hart’s performance sometimes veered too much towards Chris Tucker.
- The human/pig hybrid Loquasto (Steve Spiers) is the token idiot – more so than the others. Who would have thought that accidentally shooting the hero would always be good for a laugh?
- It’s not often you see an openly gay character in a fantasy production — lets just say Bruce (played by Marques Ray) puts the “flaming” in the “Flaming Sword of Fire” — all to serve the comedy.
- The hairless and rotund Chancellor Dongolor (Matt Lucas) is just as inept as Mandoon and a hoot of a Bad Guy. He hasn’t really have a clue what’s going on. Luckily his underlings fear him so much, he doesn’t need to.
- I could use a good genre comedy – There’s so little of it these days, isn’t there? (Heroes scripts notwithstanding. Hiyo!)
What could be better?
- Well, with every character generating laughs, there’s no balance. The show could use a straight man. Dongolor’s second-in-command comes close, but even he throws a few funnies.
- It’s a contemporary fantasy – There is no adherence to medieval customs and such. People are high-fiving each other here. Sometimes it’s not a big deal, other times it breaks the mood. Some may be distracted by Mandoon’s American accent, which in itself is funny since Maguire is British. This is nitpicking, of course. But once a show is committed to comedy, the other categories don’t matter, do they?
BOTTOM LINE: It’s already scheduled on my Tivo. I could use a little more comedy in my TV viewing.
(NOTE: Krod Mandoon premieres Thursday April 9th on Comedy Central.)