'Critical Role': 5 reasons why you should be watching the Dungeons & Dragons show and where you can stream it
The series is 'Dungeons & Dragons' at its best and here are 5 reasons why you should be watching it right now
There has been a modern resurgence in tabletop roleplaying games over the last few years, and the famed 'Dungeons & Dragons' is at the heart of that. Part of the game's return to public consciousness is thanks to Netflix's 'Stranger Things' but there's another show that had an even bigger role in re-establishing the game's popularity: 'Critical Role'.
Run by Matthew Mercer, the show features a group of professional voice actors bringing their characters to life with improvised storytelling unfolding week after week in one of the most unique shows streaming out there. Despite an average episode length of about four hours, 'Critical Role' is absolutely worth the investment and here are five reasons you should watch it.
1. Masterful storytelling
While the improvisational nature of 'Dungeons & Dragons' allows for a lot of mischief and fun to be had around the table, 'Critical Role' has a lot more going for it than just its gags. Its main storyteller, the Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer, has not only an encyclopedic knowledge of the world he's created tucked away in his head, but he is also a master of weaving a multi-layered story through that world.
Whether he's focused on small, character-driven moments or large-scale events that affect thousands, Mercer excels at bringing these words to life with engaging storytelling, and a vast array of voices that bring charisma and charm to every new character he brings into the game.
2. Professional voice actors bringing characters to life
'Critical Role' is not an animated series — that show will be happening sometime in 2021. The weekly 'Critical Role' series simply features the same voice actors, sitting around a table, somehow bringing a world to life using their words alone. The game's players follow the lead of their DM, putting meticulous detail into their characters' backgrounds, their personalizations, their motivations and their choices.
Each player is a talented voice actor in their own right and they fully embody their characters as they play them. To watch their stories unfold, live, one dice roll at a time, is one of the most unique experiences in entertainment today.
3. Hilarity ensues
For all that they take their game and the story seriously, they still leave room in each episode for fun. There's not a player among them who does not enjoy a hilariously catastrophic result when their dice roll low or a ridiculous gambit attempted that somehow works out or even just fixating on a running gag no matter how much it frustrates the Dungeon Master.
Through their adventures across two campaigns, the team has become a herd of cows, have found themselves becoming mortal enemies with doors of all kinds, have allied themselves with a monk trained in duck-based martial arts and more. Whether in their original campaign as Vox Machina, or their secondary one as the Mighty Nein, a good laugh is always just a roll away.
4. It's the ultimate binge
The free time afforded by the lockdown has taught us all valuable lessons about how quickly entire seasons can go by when you have more time to binge them. 'Critical Role', however, is not likely to run out of content any time soon. Not counting the one-shots, the spin-off series or the talk shows about the main series, there are hundreds of episodes of 'Critical Role' to get through — all clocking in at approximately four hours an episode.
It may seem daunting, at first, but it's a series that's surprisingly easy to get hooked into — and once you're in, you're in for life.
5. A passionate, welcoming community
Fans of 'Critical Role' — or Critters, as they're more commonly known — are some of the most passionate fan communities out there. United by the love of the series, the fans create cosplay, fanart, musical covers and more, all in the name of the show.
One enterprising group of performers even rewrote and recorded the entirety of 'Hamilton' to feature the stories of Vox Machina instead, with 'Vox Machina: An Exandrian Musical'. Many groups of Critters have begun their own D&D games, inspired by the show, and together, they were responsible for breaking a world record for Kickstarter funding in a manner of minutes.