Home » The Dial-Up Podcast: Time Travel Through Telephone

The Dial-Up Podcast: Time Travel Through Telephone

“The Dial-up” fiction podcast is currently two seasons long with the first one being four episodes of bite-sized episodes. The second adds an additional episode, giving the audio drama a total of nine episodes at the time of this writing. Its take on time travel is both simple and heavy-hitting in its theme of human connection and technology.

Dial-Up Podcast S1: AOL has Logged into the Chat in 2022

In a lot of ways, the first season of “The Dial-Up” podcast is the indie version of “Ad Lucem.” At least in terms of the shows’ thematic message. While the QCODE audio drama needlessly complicates the message it tries to send about the dangers of technology on human psychology, this podcast goes a more simplified route. The story stars David Hepburn as Lewis—a tech support for an undisclosed company living in 2022 for season one and 2023 for season two. Co-Starring in the first season is the character of Callum (Craig McDonald-Kelly), a recent purchaser of Windows 98 in the year 1999. He also has internet.

The only unbelievable thing about this whole story set-up was the fact that a phone call didn’t interrupt their conversation. Later on, the method of how they’re able to talk to each other across over two decades is hand waved away with science rather than magic.

Characterization and Two Types of Banter

“Dial-Up” did something I’ve seen not seen pulled successfully in so many different ways in a variety of media. That being forced development between characters. On the page, skipping a budding relationship between two characters and go straight to them being friends or lovers is hard to justify conceptually, let along execute. Yet, writer Phillip Catherwood does just that. We see glimpses of Callum and Lewis friendship start to bloom, but between episodes they go from being simply friendly to being best friends across time. A lot of it is the performances and the banter one would expect from a person trying to describe 2022 to someone before the 21st century even began.

Between seasons one and two or during the production of the latter, the show got picked up by Apollo and their premium subscription service on their audio drama listening app. The premium features on the app are non-existent at this point in time. There’s no difference between that feed and the regular one. The show is working on its third and final season. No release date has been announced, but the second season ended on September 14, 2023 with episode five. With what will become the middle episodes of this series, “The Dial-Up” podcast once season three releases, the story for season two puts a crack in the box containing Schrödinger’s cat and proceeds to break it by the season’s finale.

Season Two: The Future is Female

The introduction of a third person to the two male characters temporal tech support calls adds just enough variety to stop the show from becoming about two Irish men from acting chummy and spontaneous. This character comes from a different time than the other two, but the same place. The season two finale feels like an off-the-rails Edgar Wright story. The quips and humor reliant on outdated and nostalgic pre-2010s software and technology may be a one-trick pony, but that doesn’t stop most of the jokes from landing. Imagine explaining social media to someone from World War II, but instead of banging your head against a brick wall, you feel a sense of accomplishment. Words are a hard way to qualify my thoughts on this audio drama, but I look forward to the final season regardless.

8.5/10+ Stars