The Legend Of Vox Machina Premiere Sets Up The Dysfunctional Team
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The Legend Of Vox Machina Premiere Episodes Set Up The Dysfunctional Fantasy Team – Review

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BY February 2, 2022

The Critical Role animated series premiere is finally on Prime Video, and it’s awesome! The new animated fantasy series brings together a rag-tag group of heroes in a fictional land and pits them against a massive unknown threat. The Legend Of Vox Machina series premiere episodes introduce us to this team and their crazy dysfunctionality and then pivot to the heartwarming parts. And for the most part, it’s all a huge success. In many ways, the premiere episodes of Vox Machina feel in spirit like Marvel Studios’ Guardians Of The Galaxy, but in a Lord Of The Rings-style fantasy setting. The adult humour of the show is top-notch, while the serious moments of action and drama hit harder because of it. Check out my review of The Legend Of Vox Machina premiere episodes on Prime Video.

The Critical Role Animated Series Premiere Is a Dream Come True

Legend Of Vox Machina Premiere Twins. Image via Prime Video.

The Vox Machina premiere episodes are the culmination of a group of friends’ passions into the Dungeons & Dragons campaign that became Critical Role. They group went from a live-play web series to funding a Kickstarter for an animated special of their tabletop RPG. However, the massive fan-support funded them for an entire season of a series instead. And more, once Prime Video licensed the show for distribution on their platform. I didn’t follow the Critical Role crew during all of this, but their story is incredibly endearing. And now, the Critical Role animated series premiere brings that journey to an exciting end. But begins another new adventure for the group as the main voice cast of The Legend Of Vox Machina animated series.

The hook of the Vox Machina premiere episodes is the chemistry between this main cast. The show opens with this group of characters getting absolutely puke-faced drunk in a tavern, resulting in a hilariously massive brawl. This opening is a great way to showcase the team’s dynamic and their status within this world. While they are a talented group of Elves, a mage, a warrior, a holy person and a minstrel, the group doesn’t get much respect. And for good reason. The bumbling team is broke, jobless and seemingly has wildly differing views. They even wonder at one point why they are a team in the first place. Something that is glossed over as a potential new gig comes along; fighting an unknown threat for the current ruling sovereignty of the land. A job where countless others much more talented than they have failed. And died. So, it’s perfect!

The Humour and Heart of The Legend Of Vox Machina Premiere Is the Cast

Legend profile Critical Role Animated SEries Image via Prime Video.

While the dialogues and one-liners are hilarious, the voice cast really sells the dynamic. Because of their years of being on this team, in a streaming web medium first, the Critical Role animated series feels less like a premiere and more like it’s been running for years. The cast’s familiarity, closeness and history come through in their performances. It feels like a story we’re jumping into the middle of, with an established team, instead of a brand new show.

What’s amazing about these Vox Machina premiere episodes, is how they can handle the blend of humour and drama, seamlessly. While episode 1 focuses on setting up these characters as the underdogs and losers of this world, the turn towards the dramatic is cheer-worthy. There’s even an amazing song montage, as the minstrel Scanlan (Sam Riegel) does a theme song for the group to the Sovereign in their first meeting. It’s pretty great!

Episode 1 & 2 Of the Premiere Is Pretty Formulaic

Legend Featured Critical Role Animated Series of Vox Machina Image via Prime Video.

Despite the fun-ness of The Legend Of Vox Machina series premiere, episode 1 is very by the numbers. (Much like the first session of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, I’m told.) An underdog team is hired to fight an unknown threat beyond their means. A tragic plot point gives the merry band of jokers something to rally around, pivoting into the dramatic action. They (kind of) accomplish their task, against all odds, surprising everyone, including themselves. Up until now, things are pretty formulaic, and a format we’ve seen often. Where things get interesting is when they discover a more complicated threat that they really have to work towards.

Episode 3 of The Vox Machina Premiere Episodes Is Where Things Take Off

Critical Role animated series premiere Scanlan. Image via Prime Video.

The real story arc begins in episode 3 of the Critical Role animated series premiere. We focus on the tragic backstory of one specific character, and how their past returns to haunt them. It’s the only time so far in these premiere episodes that the story has a serious subplot in play. It’s an emotional arc for the character, and further expands this world of fantasy creatures and monsters. If episodes 1 and 2 were the mainstream crowd-pleasing appeal of the series, episode 3 is the emotional hook of where this things might go as a serious story.

In many ways, The Legend Of Vox Machina definitely reminds me of James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. The hilarious moments give way to emotionally poignant ones, while the threats are outrageous and larger than life, pushing the limits of our heroes. But being an animated series allows Vox Machina to really go beyond the boundaries of what could be possible in live-action. The creators also do a great job of ensuring the characters aren’t overpowered. They struggle and have to reach deep down to fight back, giving room for character growth as the series progresses. Genius, really!

The Legend Of Vox Machina series premiere episodes are streaming on Prime Video.

The series will release 3 episodes every week for a 12-episode season 1. This is likely because of a deal with Amazon that would allow their Kickstarter backers to use the “free trial” for Amazon Prime to see the season they paid for. When it comes to season 2, it looks like the Kickstarter Critters are on their own. 

Let us know what you thought about this awesome new series in the comments below. And let us know if you followed Critical Role and if the series lives up to your expectations.

Featured image via Prime Video.

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

          

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