Last year, CollegeHumor surprised everyone when they came up with Dropout, a new streaming service. As Sam Reich said in the announcement video: "It's like Netflix, but cheaper."
One of the best shows I love on the service is Dimension 20 — a show that follows a group of comedians playing D&D. The first season, Fantasy High, has taken the world by storm. Today there are live events that add small adventures to those characters while introducing new guest characters. The second season is a mini-series called Escape From The Blood Keep. It's only six episodes instead of a full-fledged season of sixteen episodes featuring villains as the main characters. And yesterday, the first episode of the new season, The Unsleeping City, just aired. The show sees the return of the cast from Fantasy High with new and exciting characters.
Before we talk about The Unsleeping City and why you should watch it, here's a short disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with CollegeHumor and/or Dropout, and no one asked me to write this piece. I love it so much, and I'm not artistic enough to share fan art, so I use my words instead.
Dimension 20 Is Fun To Watch
The premise of the show is a clear indicator of two things:
- How much the producers and cast love to make that show.
- How dedicated they are to their audience.
When Fantasy High ended, people demanded more. Brennan, the best DM in the world (in my opinion), came up with a video saying that Dropout has already shot season 2, and while they edit it, a short sidequest will be released. That side quest was Escape From The Blood Keep. They shot that six-part adventure during one weekend, introducing new characters via other cast members and guests.
While Escape From The Blood Keep lasted only six weeks, it was still a breather. There is something profound about seeing people act out D&D characters around the table.
Each episode is about two hours, and it flies by very quickly.
More 'Produced With Love' Please
The thing I like the most about Dropout, in general, and Dimension 20, in particular, is that they make what they love to see. No ads are involved, no shady promises behind the scenes, and no handshakes in the dark. Dropout is a fun streaming service.
Fucking finally, am I right?
I like to call it 'produced with love.' It's that magic component that makes every TV show so much better. It's not the acting or the writing but the premise of doing something great that people enjoy watching.
There is a show on Dropout called Troopers, a parody of the Star Wars universe. It's a fully realized storyline with characters and a plot that is so fun to watch and full of humor. I can guarantee that YouTube is the only place you may have found something like that. The episodes are only a few minutes each.
That's only one example of what Dropout publishes besides the incredible Dimension 20 shows.
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The Unsleeping City Is Set In New York
I love new york. I've been to it a couple of times in my life. Revisiting it in the setting of a D&D campaign is like a third visit.
However, New York is covered in snow as it is almost time for Christmas.
Brennan famously loves New York, and you can see it from how he narrates the story. It's not just a setting. This person lived in the city and shared unique anecdotes because of that.
Besides, you imagine one thing when you play a D&D campaign and are in a city on the Sword Coast. But, when you're playing a D&D campaign set in NYC, and you've been to New York in the past, you're revisiting it. It's more a memory than a fantasy.
One of the scenes in the episode features an empty times square. Take a moment to digest that last sentence. It's cool to create those scenarios, and I can't wait for the next episode!
The scenery is one thing, but the cast created a diverse and exciting entourage of characters.
The Characters Are So Interesting And Diverse
The characters in the show are a great conduit to describe the diversity of New york. One of the main characters, Pete, is a transgender man who underwent his Top surgery a while ago and now enjoys many Mushrooms daily.
Sofia is an incredible monk hairstylist whose husband left her. She doesn't read short stories; if you saw the first episode, you understand why it's funny.
Kugrash is a rat druid who takes care of society's invisible people. He gives food to poor people and can talk to animals.
Ricky is a firefighter Paladin, a cool jock with some selfie issues. He's the lawful good of the game, I guess.
Misty Moore is a fucking Broadway star Bard and is mysterious in more ways than one.
Last but not least, Kingston. The incredible dude takes care of magic ailments and gives his mom's food to other people while caring for the sick in The Unsleeping City and New York.
These characters are fantastic, and I can't wait to see what they weave together.
We Should Support More Shows Like This
Content like D20 is the best content in the world. I can't get enough of watching people play D&D for fun in a world they created.
I don't want to watch shows sponsored by some product company and have ads before, after, or in between - I want the real deal. So far, Dimension 20 doesn't disappoint.
Here's hoping that more shows like Dimension 20 pop up and that D20 will have many more seasons produced with love.
What do you think about Dimension 20? Let me know in the comments below!