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The Legacy Saga Is Antithetical To My Personal Media Tastes
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.
And, at least for the pacing aspect of this issue, the culprit is obvious. Epic Fantasy, as a genre, is well known for its massive cast, its sprawling worldbuilding, and more—and in a vacuum, that’s fine. Lord of the Rings feels transportive; Mistborn: The Final Empire feels grand in scope. But there’s a skill to sprinkling out such information—a restraint that must be adhered to—and The Legacy Saga ignores it completely.
The basic premise is that six adventurers, collectively called Aurora Nova, will become legendary heroes. We’re told this in a fun little song as an intro and then by a purported bartender who’s interrupted a few times in the first episode by a pair of comedic characters. But then that same episode’s whole point is to throw more terms, locations, and especially character names at you than you could possibly remember—and then follows with the haymaker of a second and third episode that just keeps adding more and barely gives a reason to care about any of them. The only main ones that stuck in my mind were the elf with parental issues and the archer who’s frequently bullied—and that’s because the tropes evoked were at least recognizable. The expectation The Legacy Saga seems to have is that an audience will be interested in this world simply because it’s a new fantasy world. There’s no hint of a unique magic system. No strange or wonderful twists on the genre. It’s not terribly mature or adult, and it’s not terribly comedic or lighthearted. There are a few jokes and a few fun moments, but it’s so generic as to be almost annoying.
And this is a tragedy because the non-writing technical competence is present. The voice acting for almost every single character was on point. I can’t find a written cast list, though, so I don’t have a reliable way to credit all of these skilled voice actors. But the main five (the sixth didn’t get enough time for me to make a judgment) and the narrator all do a good job. I’d love to hear them in other projects. Furthermore, on the mixing and production side, the soundscapes are varied and fun. If this is stock audio, I never noticed—it’s blended in seamlessly. There’s a moment with a fortune teller and then later some sort of mystical being—in the same episode, no less—that sounds great. Tarot cards being shuffled, interesting audio distortions: stuff that can elevate a podcast to high heights. But let this be a lesson to all you fiction writers reading this: if the story and characters fail to engage, it doesn’t matter how good everything else is.
The Legacy Saga Barely Has Anything Resembling A Narrative Hook
And not to be too aggressive, but this lets me springboard onto the other issue with The Legacy Saga that I couldn’t stop noticing. The inciting incident (the thing in a story that kickstarts the story) doesn’t happen for a long time. Too long. Self-sabotaging long. I’ve reviewed several slow-burn podcasts lately. Unwell, Weeping Cedars, and The Domestic Life of Anthony Todd, to name a few. But the difference with all of them is they at least started a story. Sure, all three of them involve going to a new town, but at least it wasn’t all foreshadowing. As has been well-documented at this point, I usually only interact with the first three episodes of a given piece of media for reviews, but I broke that rule just so I could listen to the episode that appeared to be the actual start of this story. And, unsurprisingly, it was the best episode—by far. The worldbuilding mysteries felt mysterious. There was a sense of the plot getting on with things. I understand stories need setup and some introductions, but there had to be a more efficient way to do things here.
If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, I don’t recommend The Legacy Saga for anyone who isn’t a die-hard fan of Epic Fantasy hungry for any content. The podcast’s story does appear to be completed (or has stopped production, hopefully for normal, non-tragic reasons—the production companies’ website no longer exists), so you don’t have to wait to listen. You can binge it. But if you do choose that path, I hope you have more patience than I do.
Possibly Related Posts:
- Friday Fiction: Snowperson’s Life
- Limetown: Should’ve Been A One-Shot?
- Doctor Who Special Reviews: Wild Blue Yonder
- Friday Fiction: Every Leaf The Same (Part 2 of 2)
- It’s Magic Systems All The Way Down