This Week in Podcasts is a weekly roundup of mini-reviews of all of the podcasts I’ve listened to in a week. If you see any podcasts that you feel are missing from my list, there’s a good chance I haven’t listened to the show yet! You can see my current list of podcast subscriptions here. Feel free to give me recommendations–as well as any feedback or discussion!–in the comments below, in my asks on tumblr, or on twitter.
What a week! This week, I reviewed the first three parts to Spirits‘s anniversary Spaghetti Factory audio drama as well as hilarious post-apocalyptic audio drama The Pack. In podcast news, Love and Luck announced their Kickstarter for Season 2, PRX partnered with Gen-Z and Night Vale Presents, American Public Media announced their upcoming podcast on Japanese American Incarceration, and Lauren Shippen announced her book deal with Tor Teens for a trilogy in The Bright Sessions‘s universe.
Podcast Problems also started posting casting calls and other help wanted ads (but free) for podcasts. If you’re in need of producers, editors, actors, etc., please use the Contact page to send us your listing. If you’re looking for work in the podcast community, be sure to check it out!
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“Episode 62.1: Spagghost Rising” – “Episode 62.5: The Confrontation”
While I reviewed the first three episodes of Spirits‘s anniversary audio drama–see link above–I couldn’t have expected how fantastic the final two installments would be. Written by beloved Join the Party‘s DM, Eric Silver, the conclusion of the Spagghost story was surprisingly sweet and moving while still being hilarious. This audio drama interlude was the perfect anniversary gift for Spirits fans and has me eagerly awaiting the day Multitude launches their own true audio drama.
“Chapter 6 – AN(D)I”
Marsfall‘s return has been long awaited; not only is the show a beautiful and interesting new take on the space opera genre, but the plot has only become more riveting and successful. This week’s episode focused on the AI character, ANDI, a crowd favorite for good reason. Following in the footsteps of characters like Wolf 359‘s Hera, ANDI shows that the most human characters can also be, at first glance, the least. Elena Fernández-Collins’s review of the episode explains in depth what made it so stirring. I live-tweeted listening to the episode, and no, I did not make up the part where it was so impressive it got my husband to stop playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to listen.
The Amelia Project
The Amelia Project has been a delightful new find. This comedy audio drama is about a company that helps its clients fake their deaths and come back with a new identity. The client of this week’s episode was a super-intelligent AI robot, Siiri–to to be confused with Siri, kind of. The banter between Siiri and the Interviewer (as played by Elisabeth Dahl and Alan Burgon, respectively) is quick, witty, and often borderline absurd. The reveal of what Siiri wanted her new identity to be had me laughing out loud. What captivated me most in this episode, though, was the sound design and production work by Fredrik Baden. In the episode, the Interviewer’s minimal responses–things like “hmm,” “right,” “okay,” and other confirmations of listening–are allowed to happen while Siiri is still speaking, as they would in an actual conversation. The gentle clinks of the Interviewer preparing himself another cup of cocoa as he becomes more intrigued by Siiri’s story adds both immersion and characterization. The Amelia Project is the perfect example of how paying attention to production is just as important in comedy.
“Ghosts of Football Past”
This isn’t a traditional pitfall for Podcast Problems. The episode itself was lovely–the usual well-written, well-produced quality fans have come to expect from Radiolab. The story in its first half was an important one to tell. My complaint here is that I no longer have any idea what Radiolab really is. Perhaps it’s time to embrace the fact that Radiolab is no longer about science, or themes on a story, but instead following single stories the hosts and producers find interesting–and maybe this evolution is for the best. Still, the transition has been jarring, especially given most of what Radiolab releases anymore, including this episode, is selected moments from past episodes.
This Week’s Ratings
- The Hilarious World of Depression, “Ted Leo Stops Beating Up File Cabinets, Songs, Self”: C+
- Pop Culture Happy Hour, “The 2018 Grammys”: B
- Hannah and Matt Know It All, “Hannah and Matt Romance Dr. NerdLove”: B-
- Spirits, “Episode 62.1: Spagghost Rising”: B
- Potterless, “Ep. 34 – Order of the Phoenix Ch. 30-33 w/ Hannah McGregor”: B
- My Brother, My Brother and Me, “MBMBaM 391: Jeff Wolfworthy”: C
- More Perfect, “One Nation, Under Money”: B-
- 99% Invisible, “293- Managed Retreat”: B-
- Spirits, “Episode 62.2: The Expert”: B
- Join the Party, “19. Pool Party VII”: B
- Love and Luck, “Episode 22 – Radio Interview”: B
- The Amelia Project, “Prelude: Espresso”: C+
- Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services, “Case One: Transformation”: C
- Song Exploder, “Bleachers – I Miss Those Days”: C+
- Wonderful!, “Ep. 20: Energy!!”: B
- Spirits, “Episode 62.3: Your Spaghetti Warehouse Stories”: B
- Hannah and Matt Know It All, “Opinion Overload #27: ‘My Mother-In-Law Is Trying to Kill Me and My Child Maybe?'”: C+
- Join the Party, “Afterparty: Pool Party VII”: B
- Code Switch, “The State of Our Union Is . . . Uh, How Much Time You Got?”: B
- The Adventure Zone, “Amnesty – Episode 4”: B
- Spirits, “Episode 62.4: The Inside Man”: B
- The Amelia Project, “Siiri”: B+
- Dining in the Void, “2. They Were One Light Too”: C
- Greater Boston, “Patreon Sneak Peek: Mallory on Groundhog Day“: B-
- Marsfall, “Chapter 6 – AN(D)I”: B+
- Spirits, “Episode 62.5: The Confrontation”: B+
- 2298, “ENTRY SIX / OFFLINE”: B-