Dragons, magic, villains, armies, a dark lord. ABC’s The Quest sounds like something out of The Wheel of Time. As far as we know, Rand al Thor has nothing to do with it… Brought to life by producers from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Amazing Race, The Quest deftly blends fantasy and reality TV into an epic package worthy of any geek’s interest.
In my last post, I reviewed and recapped the paladins (contestants) amazing adventures inside of the immersive world of Everealm. Filmed primarily in and around a castle in Austria, The Quest challenges 12 contestants to become the One True Hero, wield the Sunspear, and defeat the dark lord Verlox. (Without growing any dragon tattoos on their arms…I think…)
This time, I want to take a look at how their adventures, expertly designed by the entire cast, crew, and producers of The Quest have impacted a large audience in the real world. An audience so taken by the show that we’ve dubbed (Paladin Shondo pun intended) ourselves The Quest Army.
Recently, at the initiation and request of other fans to launch a conversation about what it means to be a hero. (I later learned those fans were influenced by the executive producers in a way that would make Grand Essencer Xathon from Aelathia exceptionally proud–perhaps I should title this post, the “The Quest: Weaving and Musings of Producers”)
We initiated the conversation on Twitter but it was decided, rather wisely, to move it to The Quest Army Facebook page. We seriously considered the questions about what it meant to be a hero. How do we define it and live it out in our lives? With so many TV shows that promote negative traits like arguing, betrayal, and backstabbing, The Quest is opposite. It instead promotes teamwork while encouraging the individual, it frowns on manipulations so common in reality TV. The show itself is the platform for this hero discussion.
What we’ve seen, primarily on Twitter under #hero and then moved to Facebook, has been people with disabilities, backgrounds of abuse and bullying, deciding to change the way they think and perceive their world. Many are working on building social connections, altering their health and nutrition habits, and finally dealing with repressed emotions. We’re seeing people who would have otherwise isolated work on making contact across the United States, Europe, and Canada. They’ve been supportive of others who, for example, just had a heart attack. We’ve also been supportive of our men and women in uniform, nurses and other medical professionals, and educators and school workers (a math teacher and school counselor are in the final four).
ABC’s The Quest. Paladin Patrick, a math teacher, is also known as Brother Bear for looking out for other paladin’s welfare.
ABC’s The Quest. Paladin Lina is a school counselor and has been incredible working with fans during the hero discussion.
On a day when we think of heroes, hold them close in our memory, The Quest honors that…by inspiring others to be heroes. What does it mean to be a hero?
We came up with multiple things, but I believe it boils down to one major element: heroes love.
They may know that’s what they’re doing, but when a person cares for someone else, sacrifices something for another or many others, when they strive to accomplish something not just for their own well being but for others, when they work at expanding their skillset, or overcoming personal issues, there’s love there.
Many heroes we honor–the brave men and women who gave their lives today well more than a decade ago, we think of, we pause, we remember. We give thanks for our men and women in the military, our first responders, those in uniform, our doctors, nurses, teachers, people who serve.
How many heroes do we overlook? How many have been trampled down by the harsh words of others? Unkind, unloving. Words that rattle and circulate in the brain of someone who believes they don’t have what it takes anymore? How many struggle with even caring about themselves, wanting to live, and don’t even know they have so much value because the harsh words of someone else carved and stamped that idea out?
When we ponder loss and suicide, we remember that there are many reasons for it, but we can also remember this: we can help. If by a sheer act of blatant ridiculousness ABC doesn’t see the value of their show, The Quest Army does. The empathy and care for those who have been bullied, abused, suffered loss, setbacks, challenges, disabilities, sickness is overflowing. It is a glorious and magnificent achievement that the producers of The Quest have achieved. Something I’ve only seen rivaled in individuals or smaller groups of Christians and help groups. And it’s happening, because a TV show dared to stand in the face of all other reality TV shows out there and showed that it wouldn’t stand for what many see as cultural norms. It would break the mold. It would teach us that everyone has an opportunity to be a hero, right where we live. Just like we saw in the victims of 9/11. It’s so much more than that. It’s our lives. How will we chose to be a hero, today, tomorrow, and the next?
Tonight, one of the last remaining four paladins becomes the One True hero. A fitting day for that coronation.
Tune in live tonight for the epic two-hour season finale of ABC’s The Quest at 8/7c. The more people who watch LIVE, the more we show ABC they have something priceless.
Then, tomorrow, join myself and other fans as we Google+ hangout with Jane Fleming and Mark Ordesky of Lord of the Rings fame, two executive producers of The Quest. Mark and Jane will join us for the first half hour, after that, who knows what fun and discussions we’ll have? We’ll live stream on Twitter 9/8c 6pt, a link will be added here tomorrow.
Be a hero. We believe in your.
(Credit: Producer Rob Eric) Watch ABC’s The Quest two hour season finale tonight, 8/7c!