In a dangerous and distant land, an evil ruler is threatening all that is good and right in the world. The only thing that stands between him and total domination is Krod Mandoon, a fierce freedom fighter flanked by a band of futile warriors who would serve him better off the battlefield than on it.
Comedy Central’s new snarky epic series, “Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire,” starring Sean Maguire (“Meet the Spartans“), premiered last night and has high hopes of creating a weekly 10 p.m appointment on Thursdays with aficionados of the absurd. It’s the first time Comedy Central has dipped into fantasy, but the show’s creator and co-writer Peter Knight (“Big Wolf on Campus“) hopes that Krod will attract the “South Park” crowd with its unapologetic potty humor and “Daily Show” fans with spoofs that are so stupid they are smart, a la Monty Python. Try to imagine the cast of “The Office” on horseback carrying swords — that basically sums up the show, which also feels a lot like a ribald television version of “Groo the Wanderer,” the feckless warrior created by cartoonist Sergio Aragonés.
“I hope that the one thing that people get out of it is the fun in the things that are not expected,” Knight said. “This is more than being a fantasy show or a spoof.”
Like all of Knight’s favorite hero tales, the premise is simple: Krod unites a team of miscreants to rally against the cruel Chancellor Dongalor (played by Matt Lucas from “Little Britain USA” and the upcoming “Alice in Wonderland” film by Tim Burton) who has assassinated Krod’s mentor, the great General Arcadius (Roger Allam, “V for Vendetta”), in an attempt to rule the world. That is, if he can figure out how to wield the awesome power of the Eye of Gulga Grymna, a terrifying weapon that strangely resembles the Death Star.
As for the show’s hero, Krod is mostly out of his element when it comes to saving the day.
“He’s a little surprised that he’s the chosen one because he’s rather ill-equipped,” Maguire said. “He’s just a little shy of getting the job done.”
Inspired by the 1982 John Milius adaptation of Conan the Barbarian, Knight fashioned an old-school hero with modern problems. Though Krod is destined to save the world, he can’t cope with his pagan girlfriend’s promiscuity. And because he’s a nice guy, he can’t bring himself to fire a team that causes more problems than it solves.
“He has a quality that I find very likable in people, where you get the sense that people might go a little further if they did a little pruning,” Knight said. “There were times when all you feel like is that you’re like Krod, when life throws more at you than you can handle.”
Krod is surrounded by equally confused companions. There’s Aneka, Krod’s pagan warrior girlfriend who uses sex as her ultimate weapon; Bruce, an out-and-proud sidekick; Loquasto, a half-human, half-swine servant and Zezelryck, a would-be wizard who can’t produce spells.
The names, you may have noticed, are completely ridiculous.
Knight’s inspiration for Krod was a boy he knew in school who was so nicknamed because it’s “dork” spelled backward, he said. The subtle names Dongalor and Longshaft also bring with them a whole package of, um, manly gags.
“Urologists watching this will think, ‘Oh, God, I see where they’re going with this!’” Maguire said. “Just give it a quick look before you dismiss it,” he added. “It’s not as silly and stupid as you might think.”
— Alicia Lozano
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Photos courtesy of Comedy Central