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.

The Administration Episode 1: “We Won?”

The first episode of Mike Murphy’s comedy series, The Administration, is a great combination of politics and comedy. I know, I was shocked too when I found out  one doesn’t imply the other.

Anyway, the story is about a less than competent President-elect who makes the worst president seem like the second worst president (Best simile ever). The first episode picks up after Richard Duncan learns he’s won the election by a mere toss of a coin. How this came to be is pushing the boundaries of what would actually happen in that kind of scenario, in fact I’m sure it’s completely false. By itself it would’ve taken me out of the story, but the context and it’s placed in is so hilarious that you can’t help but laugh and accept it. The acting was hilarious as well, in a good way.

The episode continues with Richard Duncan giving his advisor, Mergatroid (yes, that’s his name), so much to deal with you think anyone would have quit by now. Perhaps there’s more to Mergatroid than meets the eye? (Did I just make a Transformer’s reference?) Anyone in his shoes has to have a reason for sticking by the man. It may be family or business, I don’t know. But, seeing as this is the first episode I’ll suspend my disbelief.

The Line Episode 1: “Fides, part 1”

The first episode of The Line is one of those episodes where not much happens until the very end and the episode ends on a cliffhanger. Typical thriller genre behavior, but the tone of the episode is sort of like an art house film. The opening scene is one that invoked a sense of horror, with Colin Kelly at the center of that scene playing the pendy award winning demon character. That whisper by itself is creepy on its own, but when put into context it just took it up another level for me.

The cliffhanger is that a lead character, at least I assume it’s a lead character seeing as she had the most lines, dies. That being said I didn’t really feel for her death and I mean who would, you’ve only had one episode to get to know her and I didn’t really have that much empathy for her. I assume the writer, Chris Brittain, is going for the redemption character arc and starting with an unlikable character. Even though she is unlikable, she does have qualities that I can relate too. If they weren’t present in the character then I wouldn’t be tempted to listen on at all.

In fact, when this episode first premiered at Pendant Audio I only half listened to the episode. And this is one of those shows where you can’t do that or you’ll miss key points or you’ll just consider it boring and dull. In my case however, I was just scared, like on the verge of having nightmares scared. So, after about the third or fourth episode I stopped listening to regain my sanity. But more on that once we get to those particular episodes.

Red Sands Investigations

My first listen of this four part series was on the high quality mp3 files off of Pendant Production’s CDbaby account. I have to say that I enjoyed it. It gives a sort of China Town feeling at the beginning and then goes into the not so used elements of film noir. It steers away from the typical film noir character troupes and focuses on the grittiness and feel of a film noir movie. It wasn’t even a neo-noir experience as those films generally have at least one of those character types and  all three are usually present in the movie.

"The Tin Thomas"The story itself is quite original, despite the multitude of old and new radio detective stories out there. I was totally digging Marleigh Norton in a lead role that really brought her talents as an actress to the forefront for me. I’ve heard and liked her on other Pendant shows. However, this really brought it home for me. The writer/director, Fiona Thraille has a way with making the character’s personality and mannerisms unique and different. A single word like “chicken” adds a natural personality to a character and the voice acting just takes it up an entire gallon of awesomesauce."The End of the Pier Show"

I was kind of expecting Pete Milan to do the voice of mob boss, Victor Treskillin. After all, he does a fine job in The Kingery as Tommy Arkell. What I wasn’t expecting was that he would have a british accent. It totally gave me chills when I heard him speak the first time. There is also a reveal that blends voice over narration and the story together seamlessly in a way that you weren’t expecting. In fact I wasn’t expecting it at all, but the way it’s pulled off is quite rewarding. Giving it a second listen I picked up on the clues and enjoyed it even more.

This is the kind of story where you get something new every time you listen. Which, I imagine, is much easier to do in a visual medium than an aural one.

Short Audio Review of The Kingery Season Four Finale

So I’m trying something new here. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

I won’t be doing this for every review, but I thought it would be cool to do at least one review like this.

(Despite it being a review of the finale, there aren’t that MANY spoilers. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. So, yeah, you’ve been warned).

mp3 Link/Download

I’ll post an in depth text review of the entire fourth season at a later date.

Professor Hoyt’s Remarkable Elixir and Thanks for the Memories

Thanks for the Memories

A interesting premise where the how isn’t really answered. We understand when and why it happens, but not the scientific or fantastical elements that cause it. There’s no cause and effect. The verisimilitude of the story was good enough that I never asked the standard who, what, where, when, how and why questions. In fact I was so engrossed by the story that it was the last thing on my mind.

The premise is that someone has the ability to take someones memories. One of the catches is it has to mutual (there are more that are explained later on). The person has to willingly give his memories to this person. I mentioned before that the big question never entered my mind, but one question that did plague my thoughts was why was the age so important. It wouldn’t have crossed me if the protagonist didn’t make such a big deal of it.

I’m writing this review a few weeks after listening to the episode so maybe it was explained. I just didn’t hear it or remember it. Maybe the author, Mike Murphy didn’t think it was important? Whatever the case may be, it’s just a minor complaint.

Another element I noticed, and I do this in my own writing, was that this man’s unique ability had rules that seemed to come out of nowhere and seemed like reasons added in to have the story make sense. Like I said I do the same thing in my own work and other works of fiction, such as the movie Inception, have similarly complex plots that they need to be explained otherwise the reader, listener or watcher is taken out of the story and starts asking questions. It’s ultimately up to the writer to decide what elements to leave out, but he/she has to make sure it makes sense within the confides of the story.

I think its a fine line and Mike Murphy walks it very carefully.

Episode 8

Professor Hoyt’s Remarkable Elixir

The conflict and the relationship between the characters was very original and creative. People bringing someone back from the dead is common, almost a cliche if not done properly. But, writer Mike Murphy adds in an element of film noir. The particular film that jumps to mind is Double Indemnity. Murphy combines two very common plot threads into something entirely new.

It just goes to show that a story can come from anywhere.

Episode 9