SFX con­venes to watch things with dragons in them. It is cause for many flame- breath­ing puns.

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

Roll your luck­i­est twenty sided die! Spend some gold on a new scab­bard! Our dragon hunt com­mences with a spot of D& D – or at least the ’ 80s kids’ show that brought the clas­sic role­play­ing game to the screen in fizzy, brightly- coloured car­toon form. Think Scooby- Doo with Ex­pe­ri­ence Points. Rich: I don’t know how much this had to do with the game. I don’t think there’s ac­tu­ally a 12- sided die in this. Jor­dan: I’m think­ing of the Weezer song where he men­tions his D20. Ian: I al­ready know I’m go­ing to die of bore­dom. The show’s ti­tle se­quence de­liv­ers an in­stant hit of back­story. Six kids ride a wonky theme park ride and a health and safety night­mare en­sues as they’re hurled across the di­men­sions into the realm of the Dun­geon Master. Kit­ted out in me­dieval cos­play, they fight wolves and fire magic ar­rows and try to get home to their weep­ing, trau­ma­tised par­ents. Jor­dan: Is this a sum­mary of the first episode? Why aren’t we watch­ing that? Rich: No, this is what’s al­ready hap­pened when the show be­gins. Ian: They don’t have an es­tab­lish­ing episode? That’s men­tal. Jor­dan: How come she’s got an in­vis­i­ble cloak? How come he’s su­per strong? How come there isn’t a child ab­duc­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion go­ing on? Ian: This feels like episode ten. I re­mem­ber this be­ing on when I got home from school. I’m sure I un­der­stood it then.

V: Look at what she’s wear­ing. Boots above the thigh are not prac­ti­cal. You lose a lot of mo­bil­ity. Nick: I shall re­think my wardrobe at once. It may not have any 12- sided dice but it does have a five- headed dragon. Be­hold the fear­some Tia­mat, roused from her cave by the ir­ri­tat­ing bleat of a baby uni­corn. “Who dares awaken me?” she de­mands. Nick: That was your early morn­ing uni­corn… Ian: They’re not muck­ing about. It’s here al­ready. Jor­dan: That’s a pretty fine dragon. Ian: If you’re a dragon with five heads it must take ages to floss. Nick: She doesn’t need to floss. She breathes fire.

“How come there isn’t a child ab­duc­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion?”

V: I don’t think den­tal hy­giene is high on a dragon’s list of pri­or­i­ties. Ian: Do you think if one head has a headache they all do? Rich: Just imag­ine the paracete­mol bud­get for this show. Not un­rea­son­ably, Ian takes against the cute mem­ber of the show’s line- up. Ian: I al­ready hate the baby uni­corn. It’s just like Snarf in Thun­der­cats. Rich: They all have one. Orco in He- Man. No- No in Ulysses 31. Al­ways the cute, ir­ri­tat­ing one. Ian ( qui­etly): I quite liked No- No… Lo, the town of Helix is un­der dragon at­tack. It’s a plot hatched by the show’s sor­cer­ous, batwinged vil­lain, Venger – or Venger, Force of Evil, as he in­sists on telling peo­ple at par­ties. Ian: Why’s he only got one horn? It’s re­ally an­noy­ing me. I bet if he had two horns he’d be a nice guy. He’d be bal­anced. V: Is he over­com­pen­sat­ing for lack of horn? Ian: I bet he hates it if you toss a hoop on it. Look, it’s Mer­lin! He’s stroking a white rab­bit. Ian: He’s like a short- sighted Blofeld. He must have picked up the wrong thing in the pet shop. Clearly no one’s had the heart to tell him. Mer­lin in­sists that the kids stay be­hind with him in or­der to “learn magic”. Ian: Okay, creepy old man alert. Rich: It was a dif­fer­ent time. Nick: A dif­fer­ent re­al­ity. “The an­swers to all your ques­tions are con­tained in this book,” says the snowy- bearded spell- mut­terer. Ian: Has he just printed out the whole of Wikipedia? Rich: Wic­ca­pe­dia... Dragons are bub­bling into life in a caul­dron, ready to ter­rorise some peas­ants. Ian: Are th­ese freeze- dried dragons, like Pot Noo­dles? Nick: I think they’re more like Sea Mon­keys. Venger’s evil, dragon- brew­ing scheme is fi­nally thwarted by the power of crudely an­i­mated magic. He tells our toon he­roes “I won’t de­feat you now, but I will de­feat you some­time!” It may be the lim­pest su­pervil­lain sign- off in his­tory. Ian: Did they do a knock- off car­toon called Tun­nels And Trolls that was even worse than this? Nick: You’re think­ing of Awk­ward Spa­ces And Orcs.

The world’s least ef­fi­cient roller­coaster.

Five heads are much, much worse than one.

Tia­mat: cross, angry, vexed, irate and livid.

Venger was a big hit at goth night.

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