MYTHQUEST TV SERIES REVIEW

In 2001, an interesting fantasy drama series was aired on PBS and CBC titled, MythQuest. A Canadian show, by origin, it was primarily directed towards children. Its primary goal was to make kids aware of the mythology and beliefs of the myriad cultures across the globe. Although the series generated buzz among the audience, it was cancelled indefinitely after only thirteen episodes.

The story opens with Matt Bellows (portrayed by Joseph Kell) going through the artifacts for building, what is referred to as Cyber Museum. He is analyzing the articles to be categorized into various rooms of the Cyber Museum. However, everything starts to go awry when he comes across a peculiar article called the Chinese Moon Goddess. When he scans the article further, he realizes that the hollow cavity inside the statue has been stuffed with something. This is when he stumbles upon an object that he identifies as Gorgos stone.

The story then tells you about this God called Gorgos. Gorgos is a trickster, who was trapped inside the stone by other gods. Unlike other Gods, Gorgos does not have a myth of his own. Matt anyway goes ahead and scans the stone that he found inside the statue. Interestingly, the stone transports itself into the digital library and there is no physical trace of it left outside. A surprised Matt tries to make sense of it all unsuccessfully. He touches the screen of the television, where the stone has appeared, and is instantly transported inside the screen. His daughter, Cleo Bellows (played by Meredith Henderson), comes looking for him, but is unable to find him anywhere. They soon realize that he has disappeared.

The police comes to investigate the sudden disappearance of Matt Bellows. They are of the view that he might have left the family, but there was not even an ounce of evidence to support that, since everything, including the car was in its place. Then, the museum authorities became suspicious of Matt after noticing that the Chinese Goddess sculpture was lighter. They thought that Matt had run away with whatever was inside the statue. Only Matt’s son, Alex (played by Christopher Jacot) and his daughter are looking into the digital museum he was working on. Alex looks through the museum and cannot keep himself from touching the object on the screen. He, too, is transported into the Cyber Museum.

This is when the brother-sister duo realizes what exactly happened to their father. So, this kick starts a quest, where Alex and Cleo, visit different myths in search of their father. Meanwhile, Gorgos is trying to destroy each and every one of the myths. The myth travel of the duo is what makes the concept of the show. They can go inside the myth and automatically become a part of that particular myth. They get a character, a story, a house, and relatives and so on. Basically, as they enter a myth, they get their entire lives carved out inside it.

There were a total of thirteen episodes and they got better as the show continued. The brother-sister duo embark on several journeys of the various myths in search of their father, but one of their adventures was particularly noteworthy. This is the episode of the myth of ‘Isis & Osiris’. Alex enters the myth first and becomes the king who was considered God Osiris. However, Alex has no clue about the myth and Cleo has to help him throughout. The myth also included the death of Osiris, which the duo is trying to prevent. But the trickster God, Gorgos, is always changing the myths to make it difficult for the pair.

Osiris is killed by food poisoning instead of suffocation as in the original myth. The ensuing emotional scenes are moving and each of the actors have delivered perfectly. Not only this, the story also follows the myth of Osiris and Isis to the letter, while excusing itself from the gory and disturbing scenes. Alex and Cleo do not find their father on this quest but they do manage to get out. Later, Cleo develops a tracking program that determines which artifacts to touch and which ones to avoid.

The acting by the various characters is good and believable in their own capacity, especially the roles of Alex and Cleo. They have tried to stick to their characters but they could only do so much against the poor scripting. The dialogues were especially superficial, and sounded contrived. Conceptually, each episode is good, and the stories are interesting to follow. However, the dialogues do not fully do justice to the story.

This also reflects on the development of the various characters. For instance, the mother of Alex and Cleo, Lily (played by Wendy Anderson) can be a little confusing to the audiences. In one of the episodes, Lily was also shown flirting with the police officer. Lily Wendell apparently is a loving wife, but her reaction to her husband’s disappearance is lukewarm at best.

The character does not convey any grief nor any kind of sorrow on account of the disappearance of the husband. Such loose ends needed to be tightened to make the storyline crisp and enjoyable. This would have also helped in a better development of the characters, and a higher involvement from the audience members. Nevertheless, the conversations between Alex and Cleo are not as bad. The series gets into a rhythm in the later episodes.

Since the series came to an abrupt end, it did leave a lot of open-ended questions. We never get to know what other adventures the siblings embark on, if they ever find their father on any one of them, if they are able to rescue him and most importantly, where was Matt Bellows all this while. It also left a big question mark on, whether or not Gorgos is ever captured again and the most interesting one, how do Alex and Cleo manage to do that? Do the Gods from the various myths of different cultures help them?  There is no indication from the channels that the show would go into production anytime soon.

The DVD of the show was also never released, but some of the episodes of the show were converted into books by the writers of the respective episodes. These novels had some scene extensions and edited storyline, which were not shown on television. Additionally, the episodes of the show are also available on Netflix for streaming online. You can view them on the web with Time Warner Internet service.

 

Sir Cardoc at the Round Table

CAST

Christopher Jacot

Matthew Walker

Meredith Henderson