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West Hartford Man Stars in New ABC Reality Show

Andrew Frazer of West Hartford is one of 12 Paladins on the ABC fantasy/reality show, The Quest. Photo courtesy of ABC.

‘The Quest’ premieres Thursday, July 31 on ABC.

By Ronni Newton

A West Hartford man is living his dream – one that is part fantasy and part reality – and all of America will get to watch it happen beginning Thursday night.

Andrew Frazer, a Conard High School graduate (class of 2006), is one of 12 contestants cast as “Paladins” in the new ABC show “The Quest” that premieres on Thursday, July 31, at 8 p.m. The show, from the producers of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Amazing Race,” is billed by ABC as an “epic adventure” that takes the reality show genre to a completely new level.

ABC’s description states, “The show will take 12 unsuspecting Paladins to an imaginative realm, where ogres run free in the forest, dragons stir, agents of a dark lord infiltrate the keep, and the only thing standing between peace and chaos are one dozen very unlikely heroes.” It’s an immersive experience created through “state-of-the-art projections, animatronics, prosthetics and art direction.”

“The Quest,” said Frazer, “sets a new bar for the rest of reality TV.”

The show was filmed last August, in an isolated castle (no cell phones, no TV) outside Vienna, Austria. “[The producers] wanted the most realistic approach to the fantasy, so they took us out of the real world so it would feel like Everrealm,” said Frazer in a phone interview. Everrealm is the fictional territory where “The Quest” takes place.

Frazer, 25, said he has always loved the fantasy realm – shows, movies, games. He found out about “The Quest” when he responded to a link he saw on Facebook looking for contestants interested in fantasy, who believed they could be a hero. Being a hero, Frazer said, is what everyone can be everyday. “It’s part of what you do everyday, how you help each other.”

Frazer works as a coach at Watkinson School during the academic year and is the head water safety instructor at Winding Trails during the summer. He studied exercise science and wrestled at Bridgewater State University and was a three-sport athlete at Conard (football, wrestling, and lacrosse), but he said although he was in great physical shape when he got to the castle, and being an athlete helped him perform under the spotlight using his skills and abilities, nothing could have fully prepared him for the experience.

Frazer said that “The Quest” is a true hybrid – fantasy-based but still a reality show – a mixture of “Survivor,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Hunger Games.” There were no cuts and re-takes, and when he was injured and bleeding, that was part of the reality. “They didn’t put the blood on your face,” said Frazer.

“It was like being in a movie without a script, without knowledge of your lines,” Frazer said. He said he expected traditional reality show challenges like swimming or running through the woods. “I never rode a horse before, and ogres and dragons were running around. Nothing can prepare you for that.”

None of the contestants knew each other in advance, but Frazer said that he and the other Paladins “formed a bond I will never forget.”

When asked if he was looking forward to the July 31 premiere, Frazer said, “You have no idea – I’m ecstatic right now!” He plans to watch at Damon’s Tavern in Hartford with family, friends, “and I hope a few fans,” and is excited to see how others react to the show. He’s also looking forward to seeing the parts of the show where he doesn’t appear.

“I hope West Hartford gets behind this,” Frazer said. The show will appeal to “all ages, genders, races,” said Frazer. “Everyone can relate to one of the Paladins.”

At the conclusion of the series’ 10 episodes, only one Paladin is the “true hero” and the others have to leave Everrealm. No clues from Frazer as to who that might be.

As for his future, Frazer said he would “100 percent love getting into acting,” something he never had a chance to do when he was growing up. “This was a life-changing experience that I hope will last forever. I’m kind of a geek and it was my ultimate fantasy.”

Andrew Frazer, left, is one of 12 Paladins competing to be the "one true hero" on ABC's "The Quest." Photo courtesy of ABC.

Andrew Frazer, left, is one of 12 Paladins competing to be the “one true hero” on ABC’s “The Quest.” Photo courtesy of ABC.

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