Since we last spoke of podcasts, months ago, I finally got caught up on both Literary Disco and Welcome to Night Vale, and it turns out that when you’re not binge-listening to two shows, there’s suddenly a lot more time in your week. The solution: moar podcasts!
I had been hearing about The Thrilling Adventure Hour on a semi-regular basis, usually from other podcasters talking about things that they like, but it wasn’t until I had all this extra listening time that I was willing to give them a chance. I think I was mostly concerned about listening to yet another hour-ish-long show, but despite the name most of the episodes are less than 30 minutes, with some coming in less than 10! These 160 episodes are not going to take as long as I thought!
The show itself is fashioned after “old-time” radio, which I have basically no experience with so I cannot vouch for accuracy. But basically there are lots of different story segments, and you get one installment of one story per week, and each segment starts with a cute little theme song and some previouslies and then there’s the story and then there’s a cliffhanger ending and a “tune in next time” with a little description of what’ll happen next. Thank goodness I’ve got a while before I actually have to wait any significant amount of time to find out…
As with any set of stories, there are some I like a heck of a lot more than others. The very first episode is part of the “Beyond Belief” segment, and if I hadn’t needed to listen to another episode I might have given up there, which is a shame because I do heart Paget Brewster. Luckily, the second episode was from “Sparks Nevada”, which has turned out to be my favorite of the series, so I’ve managed to stick around.
I’m only about twenty episodes in, and some of the segments show up more than others, but here are my first impressions:
“Beyond Belief”: I want to like this segment a lot, what with it being about a married couple that can see ghosts and spirits and such, and the latest episode I listened to in which Peter Pan steals a dude’s family and he kind of only really wants some of them back was pretty entertaining. But the conceit of the segment is a play on the word “spirits”, with the main characters being absolute lushes and drinking all the drinky drinks and after the first spoken “clink!” I am like, I get it. I’m pretty sure if you took out all the alcohol references this show would be thirty seconds long. Alas.
“Jefferson Reid, Ace American”, “The Cross-Time Adventures of Colonel Tick-Tock”, and “Down in Moonshine Holler”: I’ve only gotten to one episode of each of these segments, but they’re okay so far. Jefferson Reid is played by Nathan Fillion, so that’s like plus infinity points in my book, and the first episode of “Tick-Tock” had Neil Patrick Harris, so that’s redemptive of the rest of the episode. “Moonshine” was actually kind of awful, and I chalk that up to Gillian Jacobs acting like Britta trying to act, which is a terrible horrible thing. Fingers crossed for future episodes!
“Amelia Earhart, Fearless Flyer”: I have also only listened to one episode of this segment, but in it Amelia Earhart bit zombies to turn them into humans and loaded a gun with empty shells to shoot a ghost (spoilers!) so basically SOLD SOLD SOLD.
“Tales from the Black Lagoon”: This segment is the shortest one, and is narrated instead of… acted?, but still with a full cast (if that makes any sense). It’s a noir mystery based around the “memoirs” of the dude who played the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and it is very very odd.
“The Adventures of Captain Laserbeam”: Like “Beyond Belief”, this segment (well, the first two episodes, anyway) gets kind of caught up in its own conceits, with a little too much time devoted to repetitive gimmicks. It’s about a superhero who defeats bad guys with willpower, basically, so it’s not high on my list of favorites, but the second episode was a lot better than the first so I have hope.
“Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars”: OMG I love this segment. Sparks Nevada, as you may have guessed, is the Old-West-style marshal on a colonized Mars, and he’s got a Martian sidekick, Croach, who is under “onus” to the marshal for… don’t remember, don’t care. Sparks and Croach have this great old-married-couple relationship and Sparks is delightfully snarky and there’s this science alien with an inside-out-inating gun and if the podcast were just Sparks Nevada for the rest of time I would not mind. (Amelia Earhart can come, too.) (THE END!)