In a spaceship shaped like a hot dog, we find a motley crew of space travellers: Grouchy Captain Norman “Skip” Takamori, Navigator Riva, a somewhat naive alien enthusiastically endorsing a pyramid scheme, engineer Gunnie, who is deep in medical depth after a tragic space accident, business executive Margaret Encino, who is working from home out of the ship’s escape pod, All-purpose android Sundy Sidney and a clone with a vengeance called Barry Syx. As they travel the galaxy looking for work, they find themselves tangling with some of the biggest forces in the universe.
Having watched my fair share of Dimension 20 seasons, I’m not sure why I’m still surprised when they do something unexpected. I don’t think they’ve ever done a show that made me think “Oh yes, this is pretty much what I thought they’d do”. Still, A Starstruck Odyssey is different from most Dimension 20 seasons in a number of ways. For a start, It’s the first science-fiction series they’ve done. Until Starstruck, they’ve really only done fantasy campaigns. Because of this new type of setting, they also had to rethink the way they use minis for combat. Instead of their usual physical minis, they use Talespire, a digital 3D gaming tool with digital minis, which allows them to show space battles. Finally, while Brennan is usually the “normal” person trying to stop his players from throwing his game into the abyss of chaos, the roles are now reversed. This time, it’s Brennan who is out of control, and Ally Beardsley is the one with a crisp To-Do list.
The setting is particularly interesting because, for the first time, Brennan isn’t playing in his own world. It’s his mum’s, and boy do we get a glimpse into Where Brennan Gets It From. The world of Starstruck, a comic series by Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta is as colourful as it is threatening, and lends itself perfectly to a tabletop campaign.
This season, the cast is absolutely on fire. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed so much at an Actual Play D&D show. Ally Beardsley, who usually puts a lot of themselves into their characters, plays a serious businesswoman so well that it almost made me wonder if I should stay in my corporate job. The rest of the cast is amazing as well. Lou and Murph are willing to sacrifice it all for the bit, Siobhan plays THE most gullible creature in the universe, and Zac once again proves that sometimes, comedy isn’t about doing a bunch of things: it’s about not doing a bunch of things.
One note if you start watching this: you gotta be paying attention. A LOT of stuff happens this season, so if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to miss a lot. Please do watch it though, it’s an absolute treat!