Dungeons and Dragons has often been thought of as a game for nerds, who play make-believe in their basements. But the current iteration of D&D, as well as the support it has seen across social media, has clearly proven this stereotype isn’t true. The game has been made accessible to a modern audience through shows such as The Adventure Zone and High Rollers, but none have been more influential than Critical Role.
It’s best described as a show in which a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons and Dragons. The players — Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Ashley Johnson, Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel, Marisha Ray and Taliesin Jaffe — are all close friends outside of the game, which helps to foster a warm and inviting atmosphere. The game itself is master-minded by Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer, whose storytelling is always fresh and innovative.
Critical Role is unpredictable; the cast, while guided by Mercer, is largely autonomous and isn’t bound to a script. It’s like a massive, five-year-long improv class — but instead, with dice. It’s comical, and anything can and will happen. They embrace the silliness, dedicating an entire episode to rescuing a giant roc, all the while disguised as cows. The cast isn’t afraid of intimate character moments, either, which drives the plot in exciting directions.
I fell in love with this show because of the genuine passion that every actor and crew member put into making it. The characters are all relatable, and each episode is a constant reminder to carry on through all the adversity one might face.
While catching up with all 115 episodes might be daunting, I highly recommend it. If you’re adamant that you haven’t got the time, why not check out the new campaign, which starts Jan. 11. Most importantly, don’t worry — it’s almost Thursday.