Are you familiar with Critical Role?
Do you even know what it is?
Well, if you’re not sure what Critical Role is, then this post is for you. Below is a whole heap of information about Critical Role, to provide you with a lowdown on the show.
But for once, the information isn’t coming direct from me.
As previously noted on this blog, my husband is a big fan of Critical Role. So much so, that when I decided to put together a post about the show, I turned to him for information.
I asked him a bunch of questions, and he bombarded me with answers. Lots of answers.
In fact, he gave me so much information that I thought it best to hand over this post to him. So, Jamie, it’s over to you.
*Jamie takes over*
Alex has entrusted me with this post and has asked me to provide answers to a number of key questions about Critical Role. The answers set out below should give you an understanding of the show and its cast, as well as a few other titbits that are good to know.
What is Critical Role?
Critical Role is an award-winning web-based roleplaying show, which streams every Thursday via the online streaming platform, Twitch. The show features a Dungeon Master and a team of adventurers who embark on a campaign which plays out live to audiences.
The show originated as a simple home game, played by the cast. However, it has now expanded into a hugely popular show and brand, with an ever-expanding, loyal fanbase.
When did Critical Role begin?
The home game dates back to December 8th 2012, but the first episode of the show aired on Twitch from March 12th 2015. Critical Role originally aired on the Geek & Sundry channel, but moved to the official Critical Role channel from February 21st 2019.
How long is each episode?
Episodes vary in length, but on average the show streams across a period of four hours.
What does ‘Critical Role’ mean?
Critical Role takes its name from a roleplaying move. A ‘critical roll’ is when a player rolls a twenty-sided dice (D20) and it lands on a natural 20 (i.e. it lands on the number 20).
Who are the cast of Critical Role?
The core cast of Critical Role include:
- Matthew Mercer
- Sam Riegel
- Laura Bailey
- Liam O’Brien
- Taliesin Jaffe
- Ashley Johnson
- Marisha Ray
- Travis Willingham
Mercer takes on the role of the Dungeon Master, while Riegel, Bailey, O’Brien, Jaffe, Johnson, Ray, and Willingham are players. Each week, Mercer guides his band of adventurers across a captivating campaign, allowing them to make decisions that will take them to new and exciting areas of the game.
How many campaigns has the cast taken part in?
To date, the cast of Critical Role has embarked on two campaigns. For each campaign, the core cast have taken on different characters.
Campaign 1 centres around a group of adventurers known as Vox Machina. This group includes:
- Vex’ahlia (Laura Bailey)
- Vax’ildan (Liam O’Brien)
- Percy (Taliesin Jaffe)
- Pike Trickfoot (Ashley Johnson)
- Keyleth (Marisha Ray)
- Scanlan Shorthalt and Taryon Darrington (Sam Riegel)
- Grog (Travis Willingham)
- Dungeon Master + Every non-playable character (Matthew Mercer)
Campaign 2 – set 20 years after Campaign 1 – centres around a group of adventurers known as The Mighty Nein. This group includes:
- Jester Lavorre (Laura Bailey)
- Caleb Widogast (Liam O’Brien)
- Mollymauk Tealeaf and Caduceus Clay (Taliesin Jaffe)
- Yasha (Ashley Johnson)
- Beauregard (Marisha Ray)
- Nott (Sam Riegel)
- Fjord (Travis Willingham)
- Dungeon Master + Every non-playable character (Matthew Mercer)
Does Critical Role feature any additional cast members?
During the first season of Critical Role, Orion Acaba was also part of the team, but he left the show after episode 27 for undisclosed reasons. Prior to his appearance on Critical Role, Acaba had been part of the team from the early home game days.
Does Critical Role feature guest stars?
In addition to the core cast, Critical Role has featured a number of high-profileguest stars who briefly take part in the ongoing campaign. Some of these guest stars have included Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton, Will Friedle, Noelle Stevenson, Jon Heder, Joe Manganiello, Darin De Paul, Chris Hardwick and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, amongst others.
What are the catch phrases used on Critical Role?
There are a number of catch phrases/taglines used on Critical Role, including “how do you want to do this?” and “Don’t forget to love each other”.
The two most notable phrases used on the show are the opening and closing lines:
- “Welcome to Critical Role, where a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons!”
- “Is it Thursday yet?”
Both of these lines are said by Matthew Mercer to bookend each episode.
What does “Is it Thursday yet?” mean?
Each new episode of Critical Role streams on a Thursday. When Matthew Mercer says the line “Is it Thursday yet?” he is speaking on behalf of fans who are wishing away the week, hoping it is Thursday again so they can watch the next episode.
What is a Critter?
A Critter is a term used to describe a fan of Critical Role.
What is Talks Machina?
Outside of the main show, Critical Role is accompanied by an after-show called Talks Machina, which streams every Tuesday night. The show – which began in November 2016 – is presented by Brian W. Foster, with regular appearances by Foster’s dog Henry, and additional input from Segment Producer, Dani Carr.
In addition to appearing on Talks Machina, Carr is also a Production Coordinator on Critical Role, and regularly hosts Critical Recap – a weekly segment which recounts key story beats from the previous week’s episode.
Is there anything else that I need to know about Critical Role?
The cast of Critical Role are all very good friends, and the close relationship comes across during each episode. Everyone has a natural report, and as such, watching each episode is like sitting down to watch a group of friends having fun.
The Critical Role team appreciate their fans and are big advocates of inclusivity – spreading love, not hate. Each cast member has raised money for charity, and they have also demonstrated solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, by creating a Pride T-Shirt for all sexual orientations.
It is also important to note that Critical Role launched a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2019, which raised $11,385,339 from 88,886 backers. This Kickstarter was set up to fund a new animated series, which will air on Amazon Prime Video.
Oh, and the show has also inspired a couple of comic books!
I think that about covers the questions. I hope the information is useful, it’s now time for me to hand back to Alex, then catch up on this week’s episode.