Eyes began to roll across America when the first previews of ABC’s The Quest began to air on the network months ago. Last night, we got a chance to see firsthand what the medieval-themed reality game show was all about and honestly, it is not as bad as one would have thought, but it appears that ABC may have cashed in on the wrong show (more on that below).
A lot of work went into producing The Quest and it shows. It was filmed on location in Austria and is executive produced by Bertram van Munster, Elise Doganieri, Mark Ordesky, Jane Fleming, Rob Eric and Michael Williams. They are responsible for the award-winning The Amazing Race, and state in the prolog that they wanted to merge the fantasy world with a reality competition. They claim that it has never been done before, but that isn’t true. Just last summer, ABC’s Whodunit was a similar show based on murder mysteries, but with a little more humor. And let’s face it; just about every reality game show from The Bachelor to The Mole to Survivor is based on fantasy. They just don’t have as impressive sets as they do on The Quest.
The show centers on 12 strangers who have been “chosen” (i.e. they auditioned and got the part) to become a “Paladin,” a defender for a noble cause. They meet up underground where three fates explain to them that they are tasked with saving the kingdom in Everrealm from the evil Verlox. Their living quarters are found at the Castle Sanctum where they are given the appropriate clothes for the era. The next morning, they begin training under the grumpy Sir Ansgar whose goal is to turn them into warriors. After their exercises, the weakest ones are shamed in front of the others. One will “meet their fate” and be banished from the game. At the end, only one competitor will be known as the true hero.
While the sets for the show are impressive and the actors (those who are not contestants) play their parts impressively, the show itself isn’t. It is a little on the dull side. It looks like it would be a lot of fun to play along, but as it is; it is like watching someone else play your favorite video game.
All of the contestants on The Quest are what many would consider “nerds” and this is where ABC may have missed the boat. The contestants are actually more fascinating than the show:
- Jim Curry aspires to become a future librarian. He is a member of a Hogwarts virtual choir and is also a member of the University of Arkansas Quidditch team.
- Patrick Higgins convinced his wife to walk through a tunnel of light sabers to the theme song of Star Wars during the couple’s wedding and has spent thousands of dollars creating Star Wars costumes.
- Adria Kyne has participated in a live-action role-playing game in knee-deep snow for a weekend pretending to be a cyborg and fight off giant radioactive moths.
- Bonnie Gordon once sold her belongings and traveled with a gypsy equestrian show dressing up as a medieval wench for two months.
These are just a few examples of their real lives outside of the show, and a documentary about them would have been a much more interesting show to watch. Instead, we get to see children on a playground wishing we could join them.
The Quest continues each Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on ABC. If you missed the first episode, you can get caught up quickly by watching it online at abc.com.