The Table Round Episode 4

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After the dark and ominous ending of the last episode, it was nice to take a breather. After all, the tales of King and Arthur and the knights of the roundtable should be lighthearted and fun, not gloom and doom.

The duel between Lancelot and Arthur was humorous, but at the same time the SFX sounded haphazardly put together at times. There’s one SFX that sounded like it came from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”. It was so well placed, assuming it was ripped, that it added to the lighthearted and dramatic irony of the scene. I laughed out loud.

4.5/5 Stars

The Table Round Episode 3

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By far the darkest episode, the third chapter of “The Table Round” takes the story told thus far and provides a common denominator for the series to follow.

Before now, the episodes seemed too episodic. There were loose connections, but nothing concrete enough to say that these stories were related. The reveal in episode three about Kind Arthur and the force which would one day take the thrown away from him tied in the first two episode and by the end, the story had taken a darker turn for the better.

One can only hope that the next episode isn’t as dark, because while certain aspects of the King Arthur myth are gritty and unpleasant, a lot of what people remember are the positive things like the Knights of the Round Table. (Or maybe that’s thanks to Monty Python). Characters like Mordred and Morgan La fey give fans of the mythology a reason to squee, while others will find their introduction to be a great development for the story regardless.

 

5/5 Stars

The Table Round Episode 2

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The second episode is leaps and bounds better than the first in terms of production value. There’s still some parts that perhaps could’ve been better, but as the episode progressed the sound quality let go of the wheel and hopped in the passenger seat. leaving the driving to the story and characters.

If getting over a rough beginning is hard, you may not make it this far. I hope you do, because episode 2 shows the talents of the cast and crew much better than the first episode. That’s not to say they weren’t good in that chapter, but the amateurish sound quality hindered the overall enjoyment.

The scene where Arthur receives Excalibur is the best one out of this episode. I can’t wait to see what the this series has in store as it’s only getting better; not only as each new episode is released, but during the episodes themselves.

4/5 Stars

The Table Round Episode 1

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An Arthurian full cast production finally makes the pod-air waves and it sort of disappoints in terms of the production value. The first episode didn’t have good sound effects. This would be good for when audio drama first resurfaced, but nowadays it’s considered sloppy quality. For a first time go at an audio drama, this is still good. It’s the sound level issues that are the main problem.

This is also an interesting take, not on the King Arthur legend, but on audio drama. It both educates and entertains the listener. This is made clear at the end of the episode, when someone comes onto the microphone and tells the listener what happened during the events they’ve just experienced. Don’t worry it comes after the episode is complete and more of a pre/post credit teaser. Obviously there’s no factual history here, aside from the legends and writers who greatly influenced and added to the King Arthur mythology.

Regardless of whether there was a King Arthur, this first episode of an ongoing adventure recounting his adventures (real or not), shows some promise. The acting was good, but the quality of some people’s microphones was poorer than I’ve personally come to expect from independent audio productions nowadays. Still I will listen onward, keeping my optimism high.

Rating: 3.5/5

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Part 3 of 3)

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I remember being unsatisfied by the ending of Mistborn: The Final Empire when reading the book/listening to the audiobook. I thought the way the protagonist killed the bad guy was lukewarm. It wasn’t until reading the author’s annotations on his site that the ending suddenly received weight in terms of its resonance. Needless to say, I went into this 3 part audio drama/audiobook hybrid knowing what to expect in terms of the beats. Graphic Audio did a fantastic job of making the book come to life to another part of my imagination and brain.

It goes without saying that reading and listening to an audio drama both depend on the individual’s imagination more than the visual mediums like television and film. It’s why the idea of a combination is so kick-ass. I said in the review of part one that I found the narration annoying. I tolerated it in part two, coming to expect long passages of the narrator just describing the setting and the characters acting or reacting within it. By the end of the book, it was barely noticeable.

The “real plan” reveal, when I first read it did not have much emotional weight. The actors and actresses performances of the scene after this plot twist occurs was outstanding. I was on the verge of tears at the actresses’ of Vin response. Sometimes experiencing the story in a different light is all one needs to truly understand it.

5/5 stars

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Part 2 of 3)

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The middle (part 2 of 3) of this audiobook/audio drama hybrid is easily forgettable. That’s probably due to the lapse in listening I took and because having read/listened to the book, it was hard to differentiate what happened in what part. An event that happened in the beginning of part three could’ve happened at the end of part two. It’s not important, but it does make reviewing these hard. People who listened to this without a 1-2 month gap have larger attention spans than I do. While I enjoy political intrigue, all the ball scenes felt out of place. The tone was too different from the rest of the story. I realize it was necessary for having the plan established in part one to work, but the way it was handled could’ve been better. The sound effects were great. Each metal had a distinct sound, but sounded familiar enough to each other that it could be identified as allomancy. For example, Iron and steel are both external metals, but have opposite effects. One pulls objects towards you, while the other pushes them away. Their sounds are both similar and different, thus adding a certain ambience to the world through the SFX.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Part 1 of 3)

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Originally published on graphicaudio.net

I finished reading the Final Empire sometime in the fall of 2011. However, I don’t remember much of the opening chapters, because I took a long gap of about 3 months before picking the book back up again.

Having read half of the second book in the trilogy, all I can say is “wow” at all the clues and hints I missed.

The one downside is that the narration is sometimes not needed. and seemed to drone on in places. A really good sound effect could do much of the heavy lifting in the “action” department. If I hear a coin being tossed, I don’t need the narrator telling me the same exact thing. It’s redundant.

That aside, it’s a shame that this part ended where it did. The book kicked it into high gear, during the heist planning scene and hearing it again was a real treat. Then again, it got me wanting to buy the second part.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Zombie Hospital #1

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At first glance, this looked like an interesting premise—an audio drama in ten minutes or less. However this doesn’t have a complete arc. While it was interesting, there wasn’t a whole lot of reason to listen to future episodes. For those who are sick of the zombie scene, this will only make you annoyed. If you’re the kind of person who goes into a movie, expecting it to be bad, chances are good that you’ll be disappointed. There are cases of a movie surprising us, but they really have to wow. Unfortunately the first episode of Zombie Hospital didn’t do that for me.

The acting is good and the sound effects don’t disorient the listener. Other than that, in terms of story, there’s not much going on to investigate further into the series. It’s an unfortunate, and I hate giving “bad” reviews, but I’ve got to be honest and say that I didn’t enjoy it. Perhaps I was colored by expecting this to have a complete arc. I was really looking forward to a “flash fiction” audio drama, as it was something I’ve heard very rarely.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Phantom Canyon

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Phantom Canyon succeeds in being horror. A horror-western is a bit of a stretch. Yes, the story is set in the old west, but I felt this was a much better horror piece than it was a western. That’s all good, because those two genres almost never work well together. I’d pin this audio drama at 75% horror, 25% western.

How good of a horror is this? I slept with the lights on for a few hours after listening to it. Horror films don’t scare me. It’s only after they’re done that my mind begins to play tricks on me. Phantom Canyon had that same effect.

The actors and actresses did a great job of bringing life to their characters. That, combined with the fantastic production value, made for a truly immersive story. Without any spoilers, the final scene succeeds in achieving the want for a sequel without promising there will be one. Such a balance is hard to get right.

Aside from the tiny genre complaint, there’s not really much to criticize this for. As Pendant’s first “Prestige” show they did a bang-up job and was worth the small amount of money that was shelled out to get it.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Post-Ebook Era Update

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Starting July 6, Audio Drama Reviews will return to a weekly schedule.

This will go indefinitely. It’s kind of why there’s been a lapse in reviews. That and fixing some ebook errors (see below).

Updated Request Guidelines Page

There are slight changes to the “request guidelines” page. I can’t emphasize enough that the story needs to have sort of end. As a rule of thumb, If you know that the episode ends on a cliff hangar, don’t submit it! Finish the story, first. If it’s a serial, find an appropriate stopping place and mention the episode numbers in your e-mail.

Ebook Details Continued…

It came to my attention that the ebook out there on amazon, kobo, and smashwords have a few errors in them. I’ve been trying to keep it updated, hoping that the changes I made would be reflected in the ebooks that have already been downloaded. As far as Amazon goes, that’s not the case. I wanted to apologize for not catching this stuff before clicking publish.

Rating System and iTunes Store Reviews

Starting immediately, there will be a rating system for all works that have at least “3 stars”. Anything less will not be reviewed on iTunes or wherever you’ve placed the audio drama. This is to help the audio dramas in their iTunes rankings. There will still be some negative reviews, but they will remain solely on the site.

Here are the ratings:

1 Star: Clipping

2 Star: SFX Confusion

3 Star: Worth the Time

4 Star: Story First

5 Star: Oh the Feels