The Kingery Season 1

The first season of the Kingery, like the seasons after it, doesn’t hook you in until the halfway point. the phrase: “In late out early” could be used here to get through the introductions of the setting and characters. However, the awesome and snappy dialogue more than makes up for it. One of my favorite lines of the first episode is, “Do you know who I am?,” which is said by the shows lead character – Tommy Arkell (played by Pete Milan). That line and the way it’s delivered just sent chills down my spine.

Speaking of lead characters, I really think that each season has it’s own protagonist or lead character. For the first season it is not Tommy, in my opinion. I believe the main character for the first season is Hooks, simply because a protagonist usually has to change and grow. This can either be done emotionally or physically. It seems like the characters who already worked at the Kingery didn’t really grow, except at the very end.

The concept of body swapping, while not original in most art forms, is really cool and at the same time confusing. Obviously, being a non-visual medium, the Kingery has to rely on the performance of it’s actors and the dialogue of the writers in order to convey that information. And I think the Kingery does a good job, considering the limitations.

I could go on about the Kingery as a whole and the philosophy of some of the technology that is incorporated into the storyline.

Seminar 41: “The Burrower”

This seminar short won two pendy’s in the seminar category over at pendant productions. And, it goes with saying, it deserves the award. I haven’t laughed so hard in a seminar short since the “Detective Mac” storyline. A lot of shorts this past year have been kind of dark and sometimes depressing to listen to; Bed 667 from Seminar 37 is a prime example. It was nice to relax a bit with this nice little villain origin story. Even though the concept may sound cliche, the closest thing in recent memory that comes close to being categorized as an origin story for a villain is Dr. Horrible. Other than that movie, I can’t think of any more examples of a villain origin story where the hero isn’t the main focus.

In this story the hero of Hugeopolis, Uberdude, plays secondary to The Burrower. Frank uses the same trump card twice to get Uberdude off his back. Frank is one of those characters that you love to hate. Sterling Archer from the FX television series, Archer, is a recent character in popular culture where you laugh at the jokes, but you have to admit the character himself is kind of a jerk.

I feel a need to mention the actor who played Frank, Jack Calk, as I was the one to cast him in that role – back when I was still directing Seminar. When Jack won the pendy for best actor/actress in a seminar short (This exact one), I felt a sense of pride… or maybe that was my ego showing? Probably the latter.

Tamlynn PI episode 2

The second episode does a Casino Royale to Quantum of Solace transition with the first episode. One episode starts where another one ends. The story is less complex than the previous episode and the production value took a serious hit. I’m not sure if there was a different mixer for this episode, but there were a lot of inconsistencies with the left and right channels and background noise for a few actors that really took me out of the story.

The inconstancies are most noticeable during the scene where Tamlynn is interrogating the staff of the house and the scene before it. At least two characters switched channels frequently and, like the background noise, took me out of the story.

The mystery is solved with hardly any clues or foreshadowing and its effect is a luke warm ending. I’m starting to get a feeling that you can’t foreshadow in a non-visual medium. At least not like you can in prose.

I won’t tell you who did it, but the mystery at the start is not the one that is solved at the end. And, for that, I have to give the writers points for making it complex enough and still having it fulfill the promise made at the beginning.

Jim Nolan Private Eye, episode 2

In this episode we learn more about Jim Nolan’s Boston by going to a diner, Jim’s favorite diner to be exact. This is a stand alone case, but delves more into Jim’s character and the Boston portrayed in this detective serial. The drama exceeds the mystery when compared to the first episode. It’s not that the mystery is bad, but once again we are left with two choices for culprits and how Jim finds out has little to do with the evidence collected. In fact, it’s revealed in a character incriminating line of dialogue. A little more complexity would be nice, but seeing as this is a non visual medium I can only guess at how hard it is to have a complex mystery like you would find in a novel or short story.

If Mike Murphy went the other way with the whodunit aspect of the episode, then the mystery wouldn’t feel natural. The reveal of the episode falls into the category of “it’s so obvious no one would suspect it.” At the same time the opposite is true, for almost all mystery stories, which I believe keeps the reader turning pages (or in this case, the listener to keep on listening). The individual wants to know if they’re right, not be given the answer. At least, that’s my philosophy on mystery stories.

All in all this episode really sold me on Jim Nolan.

Pendant Kickstarter Campaign

Probably all my subscribers know about the kickstarter campaign for Pendant Production’s Dixie mini-comic, but for those who may not be, the link is below.

Let’s help make this a reality!

 

Campaign against the Nazis here

Tamlynn PI episode 1

This series should prove to be an interesting one. I knew the answer to the whodunit mystery, but not the why. And that, to me, is mystery writing at its finest. When you can guess the culprit and still be thrown off guard by it, then you nailed the big reveal. But, the reveal is only in the second or third scene. When I looked at the duration time on my ipod, I noticed I still had a good chunk of listening to go before the episode was over. I’m not saying I looked at the time, because I was bored. On the contrary, I looked because I thought it was almost over. I was enjoying the pacing of the story as well as Tamlynn, who has a wit and personality that rivals that of Carla Marley from Red Sands Investigations.

The character of Tamlynn takes the hard-boiled detective cliche and pokes holes in it until it’s deflated enough to be molded into something more original. The character really came alive for me, simply because of her wit and sense of humor. If I had one complaint it’s that the filter on her voice, during the voiceover lines, is kind of odd. I know a voiceover is supposed to sound reverberated, but it sounded more like another filter was applied. Perhaps it was applied. I’m just saying that it sounded different than the other reverb filters I’ve heard. Granted, it is something new, and I enjoy new ventures into the unknown. But, some things are best left alone. Using reverb for voiceovers is practically an archetype and an art in and of itself. There’s a certain feel, different from mixer to mixer, that one has when finding the exact reverb settings on their audio editor. When you get the right sounding setting you know and feel happy that after minutes of sliding sliders and entering numbers, you finally found the one that works.

Jim Nolan Private Eye episode 1 (Spoilers)

Don’t read below the many stars. There is an evil curse that awaits whoever does. The curse of a plot spoiled episode.

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The first episode of this ongoing mystery is not very mysterious. I knew it was the campaign manager almost immediately. It wasn’t that hard, because it was either the police chief or him. They were the only two suspects, and characters for that matter that could possibly have any motive. And, it would be to easy for the culprit to be someone in the Boston Police Department. So, by process of elimination, it had to be the campaign manager. I realize it could have been someone not introduced, but I really hate those kind of mystery stories. The one that immediately pops into my head is the Sherlock Holmes story: “A Scandal in Bohemia.” (Not really sure, but it’s one of the first three stories in any copy of the book). The culprit in the story, if my memory serves me correctly, was someone who was never introduced in the story until the end. I was glad that it wasn’t one of those stories, but the mystery wasn’t very intriguing. I will admit that I didn’t know why he would do that, but I had some suspicions. However, none of them were correct.

Even though the mystery element of the story wasn’t up to par, the story and characters were really well rounded for a first episode. Usually it takes at least six episodes for me to get used to actor’s voices, the character’s motives and the story being told. But, I felt a real connection with Jim Nolan and the other characters. Maybe it’s because the format was like an episode of a crime television show. It needs to be self-contained and have a beginning, middle and end. the ending was too easy to figure out, but the beginning and middle is what really got me interested in going on with this series. The fact that the ending didn’t affect the entire episode speaks volumes about Mike Murphy’s talents as a writer. After all, a bad ending can ruin a perfectly good story. Not that it was bad, but it could have been better.

Genesis Avalon Episodes 1-3

Pendant Audio’s original super hero that actually had its beginnings on the voice acting alliance forums, years before it was released on Pendant, is a great mix of anime and the hero’s journey. And that’s what makes it so appealing. There are two many anime series that follow what I call the “anime archetypal storyline.” Granted a lot of them stemmed from Joseph Cambell’s hero’s journey, but animes have almost the exact same key points in the story, with a few exceptions of course. There are obvious differences in terms of the characters and setting, but the plot is generally being reused. Before I get ahead of myself, let me just say that I enjoy most anime and what I said could be said about any story, regardless of the medium; the old “every story has been done before” speech.

I think of Genesis Avalon as anime meets the hero’s journey and it dabbles in the area of western comics as well. The reason I say it has elements of anime is because of the nostalgia I felt for classic action animes way back when. The first show that came to mind around episode three was Yu Yu Hakusho. I really can’t describe the sensation I feel when listening, but I do know that I enjoy the show a lot.

The idea to use celtic mythology as the backbone for a super hero story is very cool and exciting. I’d recommend this series based on that alone, but that’s not the only reason to listen it. There are a multitude of comments I could make, both positive and negative. But, there’s nothing really negative I can say about the first three episodes, except for a big question that I assume won’t get answered until season four. That question is how is Assara still able to use the God’s powers if the Gods took  them away. I mean it would be like someone saying “You’re fired. See you on monday.” Why wouldn’t the Gods just take away all her powers? In the commentary track the creator it was said that we won’t know about Assara’s past until season four.

The Administration Episode 2: “You Did What?”

This episode made me laugh and go “what?” all at the same time. The episode opens up with what Mergatroid is saying the title of the episode and the hilarity commences. The President-elect broke the rule that parents tell their children not to do regarding phones. Richard Duncan decided to create his own cabinet, because he felt sorry for mergatroid. The plot aside, this episode really made me laugh out loud (LOL… yes I just spelled out one of the most common IM chat lingo, deal with it). The funniest parts were the puns *dramatic gopher music.* I mean with lines like “secretary of the fence” you can’t help but laugh, even though the punchline is so corny. You’re laughing with, not at the joke.

And who doesn’t want tartar sauce with their congressional herring? I’m sure it tastes just like swordfish.

The Line episode 2: “Fides, part 2”

Episode two of the line hooked me more than the first episode. It felt like the first two episodes went together and maybe during the script editing phase it was, but the way the first episode ended made me feel unsatisfied and this felt like it should’ve been part of it. But, then it would be over an hour long and most people I know don’t have that kind of time to kill. So in that retrospect, I think it was a good decision to split them up. I would’ve just chosen a different place to cut the episode that made me want to keep listening and not feel like one of those stories that goes like: “She opened the door and she saw…” It doesn’t do that, but it walks the line very carefully (The Line pun intended).

And of course you can’t have a show about religion without having a natural selection vs creationist battle. Well, if you can count a school board meeting as a battle? Joe is probably my favorite character in the show, because in high school I was in the kid who would bash creationism simply because they bashed evolution first. And that is debatable and it really depends on your perspective. Luckily this isn’t www.bibledramareviews.wordpress.com (which I’m sure actually exists, but am too lazy to look it up).

I know Joe doesn’t bash it for the same reason as I do. His reason is more how I view the issue today, though with some differences. In addition to Joe we have another character, Kitty Shadow (played by Genesis Avalon creator, Kathryn Pryde), who embodies the “suicide is a sin” archetype. And I know that’s probably not an archetype, but in the case of this show there are many modern christian archetypal characters that go against the christian belief such as the evolutionist, suicidal person, the homosexual man, woman or transgendered person are just to name a few.

Which is actually why, after restarting this series from scratch, I enjoy this show. It’ kind of an audio version of the bible for the modern age. I mean let’s face it, if the people that the church thinks are going to hell are actually the good guys and the members church are the bad guys, then it really makes you think and I enjoy and respect shows that do that.