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

The Leviathan Chronicles (Chapter 4)

The content, or at least the execution of the content to the listener, was redundant. The parts that used prose had sound effects that weren’t really needed as the narration was enough. It’s basically showing and telling at the same time and gives it a “why” factor. The story was good though, it was just the mixing that kind of fell apart on me.

Wormwood Episode 1

Story/Script

I enjoyed the humor of the story, but felt the drama fluctuated to points of extreme suspense and tension to none at all. I wondered if it was a comedy with drama thrown in or a drama with comedy thrown in. Seeing as this is only one episode there are bound to be missing/odd portions in the script that would be explained in future episodes. In terms of characters I enjoyed them all and felt I could relate to a lot them.

Production/Mixing

The production value was good, better than most online companies. Again I am assuming that the collaboration was done online. The problem I had, and forgive me if I’m using the wrong terminology, was the EQ of the overall mix. It sounded like all the actors came from the same microphone, which is usually good. However the microphone sounded hardly had any breathing room. I’m not sure if it was a stylistic choice, but when you have the illusion that people are in the same room you want it to sound roomy.

Acting

As I said in the previous section the actors bounce off eachother’s lines as if they are in the same room. Each performance brought that world to life.

The Leviathan Chronicles (Chapter 3)

The story this time around is interesting, but at points hard to accept as real. It’s mostly the expositional scenes and the end where this happens. For most fiction the reader, or listener in this case, has the most connection to the protagonist. After the last chapter, I get that vibe that Macallan is that character and if she doesn’t believe then the listener won’t believe either. Add in her thoughts about the brutal murder of her lab partner and it’s even more confusing. In fiction, when exposition is given there is no doubt in the reader/listener’s mind that what is being told is the truth, if done correctly and despite the main character’s doubts. For me, that was not the case. At first I fell in the category of believing, then after the aforementioned corpse scene I was going along with the protagonist’s thoughts. I’m not really sure what the author was going for, but it just left me on the fence as to whether I should believe or not believe.

Other than the big reveals and end of the chapter, the rest of the story was good. One little nitpick I have is that we are introduced to Othello as if we’ve known him already. the first line of one of the prose sections starts with the Othello doing something. My first reaction: Who’s Othello?

Robots of the Company Episode 1

Story/Script

The story is an interesting one. The pacing was perfect for a comedy series. Not a lot of tension, except towards the end. I laughed a bit, but I don’t think the writer was going for a straight out comedy otherwise I would’ve laughed non-stop. For those who know me in person I laugh at just about anything. So there were serious and dramatic bits that seemed to overpower the comedic ones. I thought of it more of as a sitcom that I laughed at the jokes, but the characters didn’t rub off on me. Not to say that the characters aren’t likable, it’s that it has that feel. There are a lot of sitcoms old and present that have one-dimensional characters, but the humor it there. Sort of the best of bits, for me at least, wrapped into one series. I also loved the idea of an all-powerful company in a non-thriller kind of story. It was a nice twist.

Production/Mixing

The production value was great, not much I can comment on that stuck out. The music during the narration bits felt like it was made it for it. Nice sound effects, though some instances where they lasted longer. It was like the floating head syndrome, but with sound effects instead of actors.

Acting

I was shocked when I learned who some of the voices belonged to. I was very impressed that some actors I knew from other production companies could do such talented things with their voice. Good job to everyone.

The Leviathan Chronicles (Chapter 2)

Story/Script

Once again writer, Christof Laputka, immersed me in the world of the story. This time the setting shifts to a university where the best and the brightest medical students attend. The prose was awesome as well as the dialogue. The horror vibe came back during the exchange between Macallan and her grandmother. It was both creepy and sad, which is an odd blend of emotions. Other than that scene this was a standard story. I feel that the first chapter was more of a prologue, after listening to this chapter. But it works whatever the scenario.

Mixing/Production

So I learned that the recording and mixing is all done in one central location, rather than online. Other than that not much changed production wise, still awesome. The lack of sound effects is working for it right now, but sooner or later the prose sections that describe everything may become dull.  By everyone’s reaction to this series, that doesn’t seem like it would the case.

Acting

Once again great acting by the cast. Sorry that’s all I got. 🙂