Review: Kröd Mändoon tickles the brain as well as the funny bone
Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire – following the exploits of a neurotic hero, a free loving pagan warrior woman, a conman/sorcerer, a pig-troll-man, and a fiercely proud queen as they quest to fight evil while battling to overcome their own foibles.
NETWORK: Comedy Central
DAY: Thursdays 10 p.m. (9 Central)
STARTS: April 9, 2009
GENRE: Raunchy Action-Adventure, Anachronistic Period Comedy, Fantasy, One-Camera Sitcom (no laugh track)
RUN: 6 episodes (Premiere: 1-hour; other eps: 30 min.)
CHILD FRIENDLY: No
PARENT WARNING: Although semi-adult language may be a concern to some, the overriding theme of this show is its sexuality with the open mocking of heterosexual and homosexual foibles. This is refreshing for an adult audience – but may not be appropriate for children.
EYE CANDY: Lots of well-toned male and female body parts are shown. But rest assured, the only nipples on display are male.
I have to be honest that when I heard that Comedy Central was planning a spoof series lampooning the sword and sorcery genre, with the name of Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, my reaction was more about skepticism than excitement.
Let’s face it, Comedy Central is much more frat boy than fanboy.
Added to that, the title character is played by British actor Sean Maguire – best known to American audiences as “Leonidas” in the groaningly un-funny and not-good 300 spoof, Meet the Spartans.
So, when I sat down to watch the reviewer’s screening pilot episode, I was dreading the worst. Boy, was I wrong.
This show is brilliant. Seriously. Despite some cheap shot broad comedy and fleshy gratuity, I was laughing out loud and wishing out loud that the episode was longer than a mere hour.
HERE’S WHY THIS SHOW IS GOOD: The WRITING
The studios that created this series are MTV Networks and the BBC, believe it or not. How can this be any good?
It’s quite simple: the creative energy behind this show is BBC Television – not Comedy Central parent, MTV Networks. That means the writing is witty, subversive and written for folks with IQs in the three-digit range. But the MTV influence really helps this show be more accessible to a broader audience. Somehow it works.
The creative force is series creator Peter A. Knight, creator of turn of the century cult favorite, Big Wolf on Campus.
HERE’S WHY THE SHOW IS GREAT: The VILLAIN
The old saw in fannish circles is that a heroic adventure series is only as good as its villain. If that is true, Krod Mandoon is destined for greatness.
Here, the personification of petty blithe evilness is Chancellor Dongalor, played by the glorious Matt Lucas, from Little Britain . He brings his talent for being unabashedly unselfconscious and somehow brings a sense of wit and dignity to what otherwise would be a series of cheap gross-out scenes in less able hands.
The character Dongalor is self-centered and so ignorantly blissed out in a stream of consciousness manner, he is a joy to watch. It’s like he embodies all that is shockingly hilarious about the best of Monty Python and Saturday Night Live skits.
OH YEAH – THE STORY
This show follows the all-too-familiar formula of an unwitting but able hero who discovers and accepts his destiny to save the world from an evil overlord. And as you can tell by the title, it has a flaming sword in it.
I’d tell you more, but I promised no spoilers.
The obligatory “Scooby Gang”:
- Sean Maguire (Eastenders, Meet the Spartans) as Krod Mangoon, the “golden one”
- India de Beaufot (Run, Fatboy, Run) as Aneka, the pagan warrior
- Steve Speirs (PotC: Dead Man’s Chest) as Loquatso, the half ogre
- Kevin Hart (Superhero Movie) as Zezelryck, the sorcerer
- Marques Ray as Bruce, the widow queen
Other Noteworthy cast members and future guest stars:
- Matt Lucas (Little Britain) as Chancellor Dongalor
- John Rhys Davies (Lord of the Rings trilogy) as Grimshank
- James Murray (Primeval) as Longshaft
- Roger Allum (V for Vendetta) as Gen. Arcadius
David Speakman has spent more than two decades as a writer/editor, photographer, graphic designer and manager of creative teams in broadcast, print and the Internet. His education is in journalism, graphic design, organizational communication and law.
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