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 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. 🙂

The G-Files Episode 1: “The Kings Prerogative”

Story/Script

The first episode of an X-files type show was both interesting and possibly based off of a famous person in English History. I’m referring to King Henry VIII, the English pimp… I mean monarch who had six wives. That period of English history is one of my favorites to learn about. So, as the story progressed, I was treating it more and more as a “what-if” story, which is the basis for a lot of fantasy and science fiction these days. But, this isn’t either of those genres. It’s quite dark and gritty, which I’ve come to expect from Michael Murphy’s scripts. I really enjoy his work and this piece is no different.

There are a few minor things I have a problem with and maybe there is a reason for it and I’m just not getting it. Below, in the “acting” section of this post, I posted a critique/comment about a performance. Read that and you’ll see what I mean. But, like I said, maybe I just missed something and it does make sense.

The ending was kind of abrupt. It didn’t really end in a satisfying way. It left me wanting more, which is good, but at the same time I was kind of disappointed that it was over so suddenly. But I guess some people like endings like that. I’m just not one of them.

Production/Mixing

Overall I was impressed with the pacing of the dialogue. But, there seemed to be a long pause in between the first and second scene. A pause that I believe was not really needed and way to noticeable. The reason I don’t think it was needed is because it’s just a continuation of the previous scene. It would be the equivalent of reading chapter in a book that ended as a partial cliff hangar, “he opened the box and saw…”, and then the following chapter continues that sentence. It’s a trick that took me out of the world, because it was too long and had me asking why would they do that?

Other than that little nitpick I enjoyed the production value. Having once mixed episodes of an audio drama myself, I know it’s hard to get pacing right when the lines you receive don’t always flow with the other ones. But despite this setback that is common among almost all online audio drama groups, the mixer did the best they could. And that’s all I, or anyone can ask of them.

Acting

The acting was good all around. But the scene where the King “finds” out about the death of the Queen kind of confused me as I thought they added another character. H Keith Lyon’s performance as the guard is great, but during that scene he had a completely different voice that was more nasally. I’m not sure if it was to show panic. If that was the case I would believe it. However, when the guard talks to the king about Prag and the Kings prerogative, it sounded like he knew about the plan all along. I’m not saying that H Keith Lyons performance was bad, far from it. I was just confused as to why there was a sudden change in his voice. At first listen I thought it was an entirely new character, maybe it was? The credits on the company website mentioned a voice in the hall. I suppose the argument could be made that there was more than one guard in the Queen’s chambers after the murder.

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