The Knightmare (Part Two)

The second part, doesn’t fulfill the promises made at the beginning. In fact it twists the end, not once, but twice. This would be fine, if the twists didn’t feel like they were being made for the sake of the twist—and not the story. The two twists follow somewhat cliche archetypes: The Act III villain change and “I knew it all along” plot twist.

I won’t give the specifics, but the villain you think is the bad guy is not the bad guy. That alone would’ve been fine, but it goes one step further than necessary. The twist after that is the hero knew about the murder legion’s plan all along. This is a plot twist, for those who listened to both parts—back to back—that comes off as more of a plot hole. However, during its original release, people forget the first part.

The reason I say that the hero knowing can be considered a plot hole, in the confines of this story, is because he is surprised upon hearing about the Murder Legion. The twist could’ve worked, if it was (Female crime boss) who told him. But the writer doesn’t go that route, thus making the plot more convoluted and a potential plot hole.

Our Fair City Season 2

The second season of Our Fair City has an interesting structure. The first few episodes are quite dark in tone, which peaks around the middle episodes. Then we take a relaxing, comedic breather in the episode about the creator of the M.O.L.E. people. Dr. Morow. The reference to Stephen Hawking was enjoyable and the part about turtles made me bust out laughing, both times. Once the humor ends, it’s back to the dark and hopeless state of a city, masquerading as a happy-go-lucky place to live.

I enjoyed the M.O.L.E. people much more than the first season. I felt they were just there as a world building tool. Which is fine when you want the world you create to feel real. As characters, however, they didn’t have that much depth in the first season. I felt I could connect with Clay, who reminds me a lot of myself. The episodes with the M.O.L.E. people, though more in quanity kind of draws attention to itself. So much that you’re expecting the climax to involve the M.O.L.E. people. I call this unintentional excess foreshadowing. I won’t spoil what happens, but the fact that we spend more time than usual with secondary characters—outside of the main plot—made me suspicious as to why we were even seeing things from their point of view. It’s the principle of seeing gorilla in a phone booth. It stands out like, well, a gorilla in a phone booth.

The main plot, at least I assume it is do to the fact that it gets the most screen time, is dark comedy. Which I haven’t really heard in an audio drama. Sure I’ve laughed at jokes with dark humor, but in those the plot wasn’t as dark.

A highly original climax wraps up season two. It may be another zombie story, but the writers twist it just enough to make it original. Rather than the story being about survival all the way through, the woken apocalypse starts near the end. And, quite honestly, I’ve never seen—or heard in this case—a story done quite like this.

Snape’s Diaries

Going into this I thought the series was complete, but the end of episode four gave no closure to the series. In fact that’s when it started to get good. Not that the first three episodes were bad. They were okay, just not on the level I’ve come accustomed to when listening to a misfit’s audio production.

The acting, while not bad, I would imagine different takes could’ve been used. To put it simply, the actors didn’t match each other’s emotions. Yes I am aware that most online audio dramas don’t have people in the same room, feeding off each others performances. However, since there are many online audio dramas that have scenes and sometimes entire episodes where I suspend my disbelief and actually think they are in the same room. Those happen enough times that I can safely say that those instances are not flukes, but good choice of takes compiled together to form the illusion that these people are in the same room.

Episodes one and two were the setup episodes, but I don’t think many non-Harry Potter fans (whether that be the books or the movies) would be listening to this series. Then I read the release year on itunes: 2008. All that backstory was necessary, because the last Harry Potter movie hadn’t come out yet. And since quite a few people only watch the movies, they would have no idea that Snape loved Lily Evans/Potter. I felt the writer handled their relationship in a unique way that added to the Harry Potter universe, rather than crowbarring a story into the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling.

This Thing of Ours Episode 2

Starting off the second episode with a long expository voice over isn’t the best way to start an episode. It was interesting, but border-lined on being a simple info dump. The first episode never crossed that line into the boring info dump. It came close, but it never crossed. That, and it didn’t start the episode with a monologue. I know in the review of the first episode, I said that I wished there were more serious examples of voice over narration. The first episode blew me out of the water. However, the second episode walked the carefully constructed line that episode one created. There wasn’t that much new and exciting. The production value, again, really amped up the experience for me. But that can only do so much. And with a mafia story, there can always be room for increasing the interest.

The main point this episode makes, in terms of the plot, is that two guys threaten two of Carmine’s workers. Other than that scene, the rest of the episode is just exposition and an occasional, somewhat funny, joke/wisecrack. Using the lyric: “reunited and it feels so good” as a joke, in my mind, is kind of cliche. I use that song as the butt of many of my jokes, so that’s probably why I think it is overused. To someone else, however, it may be original. The joke also seemed forced, but that’s probably because of it being a potential cliche.

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

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.

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.