In the last few years, popular TV shows such as “Game of Thrones,”and “Once Upon a Time” have brought fantasy back to pop-culture. Marc Guggenheim, whose production and writing credits are linked to “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “Arrow,” and “Green Lantern,” sat down to talk about two new series — Netflix’s “3Below: Tales of Arcadia,” Amazon’s “Carnival Row” — and the revival of the fantasy genre on the newest episode of Variety’s podcast, “TV Take.”
“For the longest time, comic books and genre science fiction and fantasy occupied this pop-culture ghetto,” Guggenheim told Variety‘s “TV Take” podcast. “I am old enough that I remember the period of comic books when comic books were always considered for kids and to the extent they weren’t considered for kids, it was always a surprise. I’m just really glad comic books, genre, science fiction, and fantasy aren’t treated this way anymore.”
In the first installment of the Tales of Arcadia universe, “Trollhunters,” Jim Lake Jr. (voiced by Emilie Hurst) gets taken on an unlikely journey to fulfill his new destiny after discovering a mysterious amulet. The third series to be added to the growing universe will be “Wizards.”
“I would say Trollhunters is telling a very basic, Joseph Campbell hero’s journey story,” Guggenheim shared. “Whereas ‘3Below,’ we want to push the comedy. We wanted to make it a bit more oddball, a bit more quirky, we wanted to try and tell a different kind of story, a story that was perhaps less familiar. And then with Wizards, we’re looking to bring everything together.”
“3Below,” the second series in the Tales of Arcadia universe after “Trollhunters”, follows the story of two alien teens as they seek refuge on Earth and try to blend in as they’re on the run from intergalactic bounty hunters. Prospective fans of Amazon’s “Carnival Row,” meanwhile, await its release date on Aug. 30. The fantasy drama details the lives of a human detective (Orlando Bloom) and a refugee fairy (Cara Delevigne) whose homeland was invaded by human empires. The pair rekindle a risky relationship in the fantasy world while a string of murders threatens the peace. The story of being an immigrant and moving to an unknown land is something that’s been a hot topic in political conversations lately. Though, while the show still touches on the narrative, Guggenheim remains clear that the plot of the series isn’t to be taken as a political statement, but rather, a common anecdote for many people.
“We talked a lot about what the immigrant experience was like and it was important for us to shine a light on that experience,” he told Variety’s “TV Take.”The funny thing is, when you look at immigrant stories, they make up so much of our narrative tapestry and it’s only recent times that’s sort of become a political thing. So for us, it was a matter of, how do you take the politics out of it and just tell a story about what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land?”