The Legend of Vox Machina didn’t have to try too hard to win my love and affection – I run and play Dungeons & Dragons twice a week, I consider adult animation one of my favorite entertainment mediums, and I’ve watched a few dozen hours of Critical Role. Fans of Matthew Mercer and the group of nerdy ass voice actors that make up Vox Machina will almost certainly be quite happy with what their contributions to the record-breaking Kickstarter campaign have helped produce.
My partner, a devout Critter, watched the show with me and she was blown away by the attention to detail. “The Easter eggs are everywhere!” She watched the first six episodes twice, and still isn’t sure she caught them all. “They put a lot of love into making this show. Critters are going to be watching this frame by frame to find every little detail.”
And while I think there’s plenty to be said about what Critters will enjoy in this long-awaited series, what I really want you to know is how much I think you will love this show if you’ve never so much as held a 20-sided die before (see also: d20). The characters and stories in this show have been given so much time to blossom and so much love from both the storytellers that fans see every Thursday and the community that has become a part of the story of Vox Machina that, if I’m being honest, I’m not surprised they are just so damn good.
First, a primer…
What to Expect from The Legend of Vox Machina (Spoiler-Free)
This is irreverent, high fantasy, adult (very adult, at times) animation at its finest. We follow the crew of Vox Machina on their adventures throughout Tal’Dorei, seeing that they solve just as many problems with sex and violence as they do smarts and the clever application of magic. Vox Machina introduces many incredibly unique and interesting characters along the way, unsurprising considering both the masterful creation of these characters by Matthew Mercer and the mind-blowing cast of voice actors involved in this production.
You can also expect gorgeous artwork and animation, exquisite music and musical numbers – it’s not a spoiler to tell you Scanlan is going to sing, right? – and a story that properly introduces newcomers to Vox Machina. Of course, I’m sure those are all things you expected from the minds of Critical Role. Here’s what got me really excited about the show.
Why You Should Watch The Legend of Vox Machina
A quick note for those completely unfamiliar with Dungeons & Dragons: players create their own unique character to play with, complete with a complex personality and a whole backstory that most good dungeon masters will weave into the larger story of the campaign they play together over several months or even years. What this means for The Legend of Vox Machina is that we have seven incredibly intricate personalities developed over the course of years telling parts of stories that span the same length of time.
These seven stories don’t even fully account for the main plot and the many side stories brought along by the other characters in the show, resulting in an intricately layered batch of stories that can, admittedly, be a little hard to juggle all at the same time while watching the show. But here’s the thing: these characters and these stories WILL make you care about them. The stories may be numerous, but they are all rich, beautiful, incredibly graphic, hilarious, and worth watching twice or more to fully experience them all. The time and care that went into developing them on Thursday night games of Critical Role and bringing them to life with animation in this series is all but self-evident.
My most profuse adulation to the crew of Vox Machina, and everyone involved in working to make this production something really special. I can’t wait to see how far you go.
The first 3 episodes of The Legend of Vox Machina will premiere on Amazon’s Prime Video service on January 28th, followed by three new episodes every week until Feb 18th when the season finale airs.
Jeffrey Venture is a noob gamer, okay writer, comic book enthusiast, social media fiend, and creator of the D&Dify It series on YouTube. You can connect with him on Twitter where he mostly posts memes for D&D and all things internet culture.
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Official synopsis from Amazon/Prime Video:
Based on the beloved characters and adventures of Critical Role’s first livestreamed tabletop role-playing game (RPG) campaign, The Legend of Vox Machina is an animated fantasy-adventure series for adults that follows Vox Machina, a band of misfits with a fondness for boozing and brawling. In a desperate attempt to pay off their mounting bar tab, these unlikely heroes end up on a quest to save the realm of Exandria from dark magical forces. From a sinister necromancer to a powerful curse, the group confronts a variety of obstacles that not only test their skills, but also the strength of their bond.
The Legend of Vox Machina is a production of Amazon Studios, Critical Role, and Titmouse for Prime Video. The series stars Critical Role founders and cast members Laura Bailey (The Last of Us: Part II), Taliesin Jaffe (Final Fantasy XIV), Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us), Liam O’Brien (Star Wars: The Bad Batch), Matthew Mercer (Overwatch), Marisha Ray (Final Fantasy XV), Sam Riegel (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Travis Willingham (Marvel’s Avengers). The Critical Role cast also serves as executive producers, alongside Brandon Auman (Star Wars: Resistance), Chris Prynoski (Metalocalypse), Shannon Prynoski (Fairfax) and Ben Kalina (Big Mouth). Critical Role is a story-driven media company created by a group of nerdy-ass voice actors that started out sitting around a table together as friends creating epic stories.
In 2019, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce a 22-minute animated special based on the characters and adventures of Vox Machina, Critical Role’s original livestreamed tabletop RPG campaign. They met their initial funding goal within minutes, and thanks to Critical Role’s passionate fanbase, the campaign continued to gain traction, raising over $11.3 million and becoming one of the most funded Film & Video projects in Kickstarter history. The fan support allowed Critical Role to expand the special into a 10-episode season. When Amazon Studios picked up the series, it built on that record-breaking support by ordering an additional 14 episodes, bringing the total number of episodes to 24 across two seasons, which will stream exclusively on Prime Video.