Earlier today I was doing something I’ve done many times before: scrolling through the Twitter feed of America’s greatest cultural invention, Medieval Times. Quarantine or no quarantine, it’s nice to look at pictures of pretty horses and knights-in-training. As I was scrolling, I noticed they’ve recently been re-promoting a web series originally released on the Medieval Times YouTube channel almost a year ago called The Making of a Knight. I would like this to be a full-length TV show immediately.
The ten-episode series follows a group of eight men, a.k.a. “Arizona Knight candidates,” who attend a three-month boot camp ahead of the grand opening of the new Scottsdale Medieval Times location last August. Almost every episode is under two minutes, and almost every episode has less than 400 views. Both of these facts are a shame, because The Making of a Knight should absolutely be a television series. Someone please go back, find all the footage, and produce an in-depth docuseries about this group of young, aspiring Medieval Times knights learning how to joust and clean horse poop in preparation for their big debut at Castle Scottsdale. In the meantime, if you’ve already burned through every Forged in Fire episode and need a new, quick sword-related binge, you can power through this tease of a series in less than a half hour right here.
The first episode features Derek. He’s a Marine, he loves The Lord of the Rings and Tenacious D, and he already has a solid knight beard.
Episode two is when we meet James. He was scared of the horses at first.
In episode three we meet Wade, who had never heard of Medieval Times before this opportunity came up but seems very excited about the new gig. When asked to offer some interesting facts about himself, Wade says, “Anime is life. If you don’t watch anime, give it a chance.” If this were a longer TV series, Wade would probably be the star of most of the GIFs.
Next up is episode four with Steven, who says he “always kind of wanted to be a knight in shining armor — to come save someone.” He makes stained-glass art in his spare time. Most of the guys struggle coming up with several interesting facts about themselves at the end of these episodes; some don’t at all. This is why a full-length series is necessary. I would like to learn more about Steven’s stained glass work.
Like Wade, Colton reveals in episode five that he had no idea what Medieval Times was before spending his last $5 for gas to show up for the casting call. We also learn in this episode that the Medieval Times training grounds in Texas is home to a “big stallion” named Godzilla, who will try to bite you.
Episode six features the guy with the most knight-like name: Thane. He’s the shy one.
In episode seven, Leon calls the idea of being a knight “awesome” and “sick.” He talks about the first time he fell off a horse, which he says wasn’t that bad. He’s also kind of shy like Thane.
The final Arizona knight candidate is James S., a.k.a. “LJ,” who seems to be the most interested in the historical aspect of Medieval Times — both the family dinner theater and actual medieval times. There’s a part in his episode where he’s wearing a chef’s hat while eating dinner with the other guys, and it’s just one of many moments in The Making of a Knight that teases this could, and should, be a much more fleshed-out docuseries following these knights-to-be working, training, and hanging out in their downtime. Check out LJ’s #chivalryinaction shirt.
Episode nine is when we finally get more of a sneak peek of what the day-to-day is like at Medieval Times boot camp. Basically: clean horse poop, ride horses, clean horses, eat lunch, go to the gym, continue weapons training. We also get second appearances of Godzilla, LJ in the chef hat, and Wade reminding us how much he loves anime.
Episode ten begins with a beautifully shot scene with a bunch of horses running toward the sunrise. This episode sort of serves as the trailer to the much better, longer TV version of this series (that, again, doesn’t exist but should). The older guy who is presumably one of the knights’ trainers finally gets a spotlight and delivers the perfect tagline for this series: “It doesn’t matter if you can fight, if you can’t ride.” It would be nice to hear more from that guy or even know his name, but that’s all we get.
Quarantine is exhausting, and every day there’s a new Zoom TV reunion or 30-minute late-night interview clip to keep up with. All I’m saying is if any broadcast or streaming network is looking for some wildly different, unexpected, and refreshing content that takes advantage of our current outdoors FOMO, there just might be a gold mine waiting for you in the form of hours of unreleased footage of a group of men training for 90 days to become the honorable Medieval Times knights of Scottsdale. If the editors can be working on the Michael Jordan docuseries right up until the last second, surely it’s worth digging into the Medieval Times boot camp tapes to see what masterpiece is waiting to be made. It’s really not much to ask.