The fantasy genre is going through quite the purple patch at the moment, but it’s yet to dip it’s armour-clad toe into the comedy genre. That’s all about to change with new Dave comedy Zapped!, about an office worker (Inbetweeners star James Buckley) who finds himself accidentally transported to a world of wizards, magical creatures and terrible soothsayers.
Buckley is quick to admit that he’s not a fan of the fantasy genre. “I just hate all of it. I cannot stand it,” he tells us candidly when we meet him on the set of Zapped!. “I think it’s time now for somebody to start poking holes into that genre, fantasy, and I’m up for doing that by all means.”
But his co-star Paul Kaye, better known to fantasy fans as Game Of Thrones’ Thoros of Myr, is keen to stress that Zapped! isn’t a parody of the fantasy genre, it’s “just another angle on it”. The cast of characters are an interesting combination of fantasy and British sitcom staples. While Buckley’s Brian is the straight-man, he’s surrounded by Kaye’s wheeler-dealer wizard (“I’m packing a wand,” he proudly tells us), a lovesick soothsayer played by Sharon Rooney, pub landlord Herman (“he’s a former warrior,” explains actor Louis Emerick, “but quite how heroic he was we don’t know”) and half-giant-half-dwarf Steg, the “Citizen Smith of (fantasy world) Mundy”, according to actor Ken Collard.
“I suppose this could vaguely fall into [the fantasy] genre,” says Collard, “but because this is so stupid and leftfield and interesting and weird and funny, it’s great, it kind of takes it to another level and gives people an alternative to that sort of genre, but one that’s a bit more quirky and a bit more fun.”
This mini-series is really just an extended pilot for the show, barely scratching the surface of the detailed fantasy world the writers spent seven years creating. The cast are keen for the show to make it to a full run, so that they can start to explore that world. “I’d like to see the Munty countryside, mysterious lakes containing mysterious animals,” Paul Kaye says, but he’d also “love to see us go back to Earth, to Brian’s office. Pretend to be a new band.”
Zapped! will air on Dave in October. For all the latest TV news, pick up the latest issue of SciFiNow.