‘The Quest’ Review: Disney Fantasy Show Doesn’t Know What It Wants To Be
Game of Thrones became on television something that nobody has been able to replicate, a high budget fantasy show with engaging plots, amazing characters, and high-end production quality. Yes, the show fell apart in the later season, but nobody can deny that for a brief time Game of Thrones was the biggest TV show in the world. That title is something everybody wants and even HBO has not been able to replicate.
Fantasy shows are very risky. Selling a new audience on a new, fantastic world where a ton of fantastic things happen can be hard to do. There are many people who are not willing to believe in magic, or fantastical creatures, even inside a fictional setting. So, when Disney announces that they have a fantasy show called “The Quest” in the works, a lot of red flags start emerging. We have no idea that in the final product there would be more than red flags. The Quest is potentially one of the worst shows of the year.
The Quest takes the 8 teenagers and takes them to the magical land of the Everrealm where they have to compete to become the one true hero, defeat the evil that threatens the realm and become its new monarch. From that synopsis, the show feels like any standard, generic fantasy show, and it is. However, The Quest is also a reality show, and it is here that things start to go out of control.
Every episode of The Quest proves only one thing, that the idea of mixing a fantasy show and a reality show is a weird mix, and it also teaches that this is not the way to do it at all. Yes, this isn’t a scripted show, it is a reality show, or at least that is how it is presented to the audience, but it doesn’t feel like it. The Quest doesn’t really know what it wants to be, and because of it is nothing at all.
The Quest tries to be a competition where 8 teenagers fight to not be eliminated every episode. Only one will arrive at the end of the road and win the show. This TV format has been followed countless times by shows like Survivors or The Bachelor, week to week the audience sits in front of the television to see who gets eliminated. It is strange then that Disney+ has decided to upload the complete season of the show, all 8 episodes, the same day, erasing any sort of expectation as to who will win the competition.
First of all, the cast of teenagers, or as the show calls them “real teenagers” cannot be compelling characters at all. They are not allowed to, because while this show is supposed to be a reality show, it is also heavily scripted. How’s that? Well, it is very clear that many of the interactions between the teens and between the teens and the actors that play the rest of the characters on the show are directed from behind the scenes.
This is a normal practice in reality television, there is nothing really real about reality TV, everything is controlled and monitored. However, here in The Quest the artificiality of it all is so extreme that it is impossible to take the show seriously in any way or form. Which is sad, because the teens and the supporting cast are all taking their roles very seriously. Sadly for them, the show’s format is just a bad idea that is being badly executed.
Second of all, the part of the show that is scripted, the one that has to do with the Everrealm, and the evil shadows, and the magic and sort fort, is so incredibly generic that it is laughable. There is not one single bone of originality on this show. Again, the actors on this side of the story are taking their roles very seriously, and that is commendable. Sadly, the show doesn’t have the writing quality or the production values necessary to make a quality show.
So, we have a TV series that is trying to be two things at the same time, a fantasy show with scripted storylines, mythology and more. At the same time, the show is trying to be a reality show competition. That is all good and dandy, but the show is none of these two things at all. Instead, the show exists in the place in between where it is doing nothing right, and it will probably make the show unwatchable for many.
The series is very hard to watch, the acting is pretty bad overall, the teens are clearly being directed, there is nothing real in terms of having a good story and trying to make something that is quality entertaining. It is not a surprise that Disney+ decided to release the whole season at once, something they never do. They just want these things out of the way and move on.
Audiences’ should follow the Disney+’s example and just avoid this show like the plague, there is so much better content on the platform that spending hours watching this feels like a total waste of time. Let’s watch The Mandalorian again, that is countless times better.