Bite-sized podcast reviews

It’s really hard not to compare things to Welcome to Night Vale, so I deeply apologize for the repetition.

TANIS: I want to write something longer up about this show. Figure out all the ways it works for me where the Black Tapes didn’t. Then again, maybe as it goes on it’ll disappoint me too! The first few episodes of the Black Tapes drew me in pretty effective, after all. But Tanis! In episode two there’s a bit of a House of Leaves homage, and a numbers station, so brownie points are earned handily. However! I will say there’s still some small bits of failure when it comes to verisimilitude or believability or the stupidity of the characters or something.

I mean: “You can search text in a PDF?” “I can,” Meerkatnip says smugly. GIRL, ANYONE CAN.

I am hella suspicious of Meerkatnip, by the way. This is unreasonable but a fun way to live.

WORMWOOD: Old Fashioned Radio Drama. The acting is so far over the top that I think it might be in low-Earth orbit. The writing too. But! I am fairly into it. I like Xander, and sometimes Sparrow too. Everyone else? Eh. There’s a lot of overacting and unnecessary accents, as mentioned before, but it’s still fun. There’s a good balance between Creepy Things, Terrible Violence Off-Screen, and People Being People, so I don’t feel hit over the head with the horror, despite some nonsense about “evil staining the souls” of whoever. I also deeply appreciate that this is archived. There are several seasons to get through, and then it’s over. Three storylines, from what I can tell. I like endings. I like serials, but I also want to know that the creator is working toward something.

KING FALLS AM: This one stands out to me primarily because the acting of the two main characters is pretty good. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. It’s kind of vignette-y, and there’s no clear throughline. The most recurring plot is the producer’s crush on the new librarian, which I do like, though. I saw it described as Night Vale but darker, and I don’t know if that’s accurate. Night Vale gets plenty dark. It’s Night Vale but less philosophical, less inured to the weirdness that’s happening. It’s early days on this one. We’ll see if I keep listening. I don’t have the greaaaatest track record.

SAYER: Moments of trying to be like Night Vale and failing; attempting to imitate the surreal horror delivered in a calm, detached voice, the AI enumerating terror and threats as though they are neither of those things. Except the delivery is terrible. It leans on the punchline too hard. The voice is processed, the threats are too obvious, and the thing that is horrifying is emphasized with an echo, or a slight reverb, or a pitch change. It is too overt. And it lacks something that Night Vale has, which might be heart, or empathy.

ESCAPE ARTISTS/APEX/SELECTED SHORTS: I have tried more standard fiction podcasts, like the Escape Pod/Podcastle/Pseudopod group, and Apex, and Selected Shorts, but the format doesn’t work well for me. For fiction, since I’m not coming back for the week to week discussion between personalities I like, it needs to have something else to make me remember it the next week. Otherwise I’ll just ignore that little blue dot in Stitcher. So a serialized form, or at least somewhat recurring characters, is necessary. And the lack of a consistent authorial voice hurts it too; not being familiar with every author on these sorts of podcasts means I’m gambling every single time.

NOSLEEP: The NoSleep podcast has yet to draw me in, though I haven’t tried terribly hard. The narrator turns me off completely and I can’t take it seriously. Come on, guy, you don’t need to be so ridiculous. Stop putting on a “creepy” voice and telling me how scared I’m going to be, and actually scare me. He’s like an old midnight movie host. I bet he wears a dracula cape. And the episodes are terribly long.

Basically, I’m just saying: TANIS and LIMETOWN need to update faster.