On a recommendation from the Angel of Vine account, I checked out The Hidden Frequencies. Ten 30-minute episodes with a sort of Twilight Zone / Are You Afraid of the Dark vibe. All pretty good, some better than the rest. If you’ve experienced enough such stories, figuring out the twist, or at least part of it, isn’t too hard, but I think there’s at least a little surprise each episode.
I must’ve had a brain fart on the last post, but I can’t not mention (for something ongoing) ‘Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe’. Good ol’ edutainment. Episodes about 40 minutes each, updated twice weekly. Daniel (a physicist at CERN) and Jorge (cartoonist of PhDComics fame) discuss various scientific topics (mostly physics-related, as you might imagine). It’s casual and approachable, and there are plenty of dumb jokes to go around. Episodes are generally stand-alone, but they’ll occasionally refer back to previous topics if they’re related.
Many moons later edit!
Just wrapped up Limetown. Eleven main episodes (25-50 minutes, close to 40 average) and several brief interstitial episodes. A reporter from a fictional NPR does interviews in research of a decade old event involving the disappearance of a small town around a research facility of some sort. There’s a small pivot between seasons, but it regains its pacing, and there are some decidedly intense episodes. There’s an associated book and a TV adaptation on Facebook, but I found the podcast content alone enough to be pretty compelling.
Got a new cast lined up. Hopefully it turns out to be worth recommending.
The thread yet lives again.
I’ve apparently found the indie scene of audio drama podcasts. I took a chance on Tunnels. From a technical perspective, it definitely stands out with production and acting quality as a more amateur production. That said, the quality does improve a bit past the first season, and it was interesting enough despite that to work through the three short seasons. As interesting was discovering a community of audio drama enthusiasts supporting each other. Many other interesting podcasts plugged throughout the show, including a show about making shows.
Moving on to another oft-recommended show, The Bright Sessions. Good so far.
Wrapped up the core run of The Bright Sessions (56 episodes). It was great, and I very much enjoyed it. The first season starts a series of recordings of therapy sessions with people with special powers (an empath, a telepath, and a time traveler), but it breaks those format restrictions going into the second season as larger plots and character arcs unfold. Cast is full of interesting people - most of them generally well-intentioned, but each with their own struggles as people and most trying to live with being “atypical.”
There are bonus episodes and a spin-off series in the same subscription feed I’m looking forward to getting to, but I’m not sure what show I’ll check out next. I have several I’ve bookmarked out of interest, so I’ll figure something out before long.
You know, maybe one day someone else will find some value from this topic. In any case, I finally wrapped up ars PARDOXICA the other day. A woman in some soon-ish nonspecific future accidentally invents time travel and gets thrown back into WW2. She works with a government agency to explore this new technology, and of course, secret organizations as they are, abuse is had, and side effects are dealt with. There are a lot of moving parts, but it usually isn’t too hard to follow. Solid minority representation if you’re into that. Was a bit surprised to hear a recognizable name (Arjun Gupta) as a regular cast member later in the show. A few dozen episodes, thumbs up.
Craziness is afoot as I check out two not-overly-long shows. What’s the Frequency? is a noir 40s drama where only one strange show exists on the radio amidst a sea of static, and it apparently causes people to commit murder. A PI and his assistant search for a missing writer, and there are generally strange things afoot, both in the narrative and in the podcast presentation. Cute so far.
In a noticeable shift in topic, I also pulled the trigger on Janus Descending, a sci-fi / horror show. A couple of scientists head to a small world to study the remains of an alien civilization. Except the creatures responsible for the civilization being ‘remains’ are still around. It’s presented as two parallel stories from each of their perspectives - one is told beginning to end, but other is told end to beginning. That unique narrative structure helped pique my interest. I’ve gotten through the few prologues - two are brief introductions to the main characters, and the third is apparently set afterwards, seeming to indicate that terrible things await our intrepid heroes. Looking forward to diving further in here.
Wrapped up both of the aforementioned podcasts. Janus Descending was pretty good. A bit more suspense than horror, but intriguing nonetheless. The odd narrative split leads to some fun reveals. The creatures are more a presence in the narrative, and much of the discomfort comes from the characters’ despair.
What’s the Frequency?, on the other hand, didn’t click with me as much. Not that I didn’t find any entertainment value out of it, but I think the combination of “psychedelic noir” and weird presentation just wasn’t what I was looking for. If you’re looking for something a little more focused and straightforward, probably not the show to look at, but if you’re curious about the weird and unconventional, it might be worth a listen.
Damn, there are a lot of shows. I legitimately don’t know what I’ll look into next. I have a few on the periphery of my radar, but there’s just so much to sift through.