The Magnus Archives Gets Somehow Even Better
Four months ago, I reviewed The Magnus Archives. I’d only listened to ten or so episodes and thought I understood how the series would go. Now, approaching the 100th episode, I’ve gone deep into the series, its lore, and eagerly await what’s coming next—both what I’ve spoiled for myself and the mysteries yet to come.
And while I stand by a lot of what I said in that review, I wanted to amend my take.
The first amendment is I had no idea how interlocked the worldbuilding was. Fearing spoiling it for you, I can’t say just how deep the rabbit hole goes, but The Magnus Archives has plot points specifically tailored to the medium it’s in, the characters it uses, and the tropes it employs. Even if chunks of the story weren’t planned, the holistic nature of it is impressive and makes similar projects seem disorganized. Details as far back as episode one matter and are extremely important.
Listen Closely: Every Little Plot Detail Could Matter
And this complex narrative extends to the sheer size of the cast. Named characters pile up quickly, and a lot of them gain unique and delightful voice actors. Johnathan Sims is good as always, but Sue Sims kills it as Gertrude. Luke Booys and Jessica Law both play incredible villains with delightful vocal styles. Some of the best scenes in the show consist of just conversations. A slight critique is the acting can come off as a little stilted or cheesy, but then something spectacular makes me not care anymore. The interview with Jurgen Leitner (played by Paul Sims) that unveils a ton of the overarching plot is a game-changer. The resulting monologues from Jude Perry (played by Hannah Walker) and Michael Crew (played by Guy Kelly) open the world in such a short time it’s electrifying.
And that’s not the only improvement related to audio. I complained in my original article that the podcast had only a few audio tricks to scare the reader. That’s no longer true. As episodes continue, the show picks up more layers of soundscape it can use to enhance scenes. You can hear the budget constraints sometimes and that mounting creepy music is still used, but it’s a treat to see how each new episode will mess with the listener.
The Magnus Archives Just Steadily Improved Itself
The thing that boggles my mind even this deep into the episodes though is how scary it is. Tropes, rhythms, patterns, and in-universe cliches are stacking up, but it’s still one of the most disturbing pieces of fiction I’ve experienced. I don’t think something like this could ever get a one hundred percent hit rate, but this consistency of quality is astounding.
The Magnus Archives contains jolt after creepy moment after nightmarish visual with not a lag in sight to its overarching pace. It’s so easy to get lost in its world and delight in its twisted reality. If you haven’t gotten on this train since I last mentioned it, then you’re missing out on one of the best horror productions in a long time.
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