The Call of the Flame initially worried me that it would be a repeat of my usual concerns with Epic Fantasy. In my very recent review of The Legacy Saga, I talked about how stories in this genre can lack strong inciting incidents or story hooks because it’s too busy with worldbuilding. And several times, The Call of the Flame almost fell right into the same trap but miraculously continued to pull back and keep things understandable.
Before listening to The Storage Papers, I never thought a podcast could scare me as much as The Magnus Archives. That the mind-melting, the dark-is-dangerous thrill it gave me was the peak of horror storytelling.
The Legacy Saga taught me an interesting lesson about tropes, genre conventions, and storytelling methods that I simply cannot enjoy. In the grand scheme, there’s nothing terribly wrong with The Legacy Saga, no glaring sin, but it was a slog to listen to for any amount of time. The minor issues stack up quickly, and what could’ve been a fun experience turned into a malaise.
Campfire Radio Theater is an anthology horror series tied to no apparent central themes, no reoccurring characters, and as a bit of foreshadowing: not a consistent approach to storytelling. I picked the episodes semi-randomly, going mostly off if the title or premise seemed interesting.
Civilized is a first for me as a reviewer: it’s an improvisational podcast. Meaning the actors are just playing off each other. And as such, I can’t really judge it on its plot progression. Narrative, themes, writing quality: all out the window. There really isn’t even a storyline to speak of yet, just a premise.
Alba Salix, Royal Physician is such a departure from most podcasts I’ve come across in my career as a critic. It’s basically a cartoon but in an audio-only format. Each of the first three episodes is an isolated, silly situation with very little seeding for any future plots. It’s episodic, is what I’m saying—the point is to be a fun distraction and to make you laugh.
Weeping Cedars promised in its description to be a slow burn. And they weren’t kidding. The first three entries have a glacial pace, relying on their other strengths to carry the listener through. Basically, not a lot has happened yet.
The Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Morality is, for one thing, the piece of media with the longest title I’ve possibly ever reviewed. It’s also a podcast series with a premise I love. Though I have no idea how well Warehouse 13 holds up in quality or how well it has aged with its content since 2009, I used to be a massive fan of that series, and The Mistholme Museum feels like its cousin.
The Domestic Life of Anthony Todd puts me in an interesting conundrum. The early episodes have a negative quality that, as the story continues, turns out to be intentional and basically a plot point. But that didn’t make the first few episodes not annoying for its inclusion. Mulling it over almost becomes a question of artistic intent over general podcasting practices. Is it a good inclusion if it serves the story but risks the impatient listener simply bouncing off?
Unwell is a somewhat enigmatic listening experience, and I mean that complimentary. Unlike The Cellar Letters or even the much better The Storage Papers horror podcasts, the mysteries in this series are intriguing. It doesn’t feel like the answers to the proposed questions were only vaguely defined before the story began. This feels planned.
The Cellar Letters is the first podcast I’m reviewing that I didn’t like. Its first few episodes have many problems that ejected me from the narrative. Because of limited review time and well over forty episodes, I’ll concede the podcast may leverage its ideas later to great effect, but the initial impressions were medium to bad.
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