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 or on twitter.
This week, I reviewed the riveting Darknet Diaries, a true crime podcast about hackers, Anonymous, and other intriguing stories about our current digital era. I also reviewed Potterless, a Harry Potter fancast about a grown man reading the series for the first time (that winds up being about a lot more than it seems). I also got to have a conversation on Radio Drama Revival about War of the Worlds, The Polybius Conspiracy, and the ethics of calling your fiction nonfiction in podcasting.
I also announced a livestream AMA for Podcast Problems’s first birthday this upcoming Friday at 7:00PM AZ! Please join me to ask questions and hear about all of the big changed coming to Podcast Problems in its second year.
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It should be noted that subscribers to the newsletter will be getting a special Thursday edition to hear about all of the new things coming to Podcast Problems a day early!
Join the Party
“21. Bachelorette Party I”
The start of Join the Party‘s newest arc marks one of the most emotional episodes to date. The episode’s main plot is interspersed with letters from the show’s player characters, each one sweet and at least a little devastating. Michael Fische’s Johnny B. Goodlight has an especially powerful letter, showing a more troubled inner monologue than the audience (or the other characters) usually get to see. DM Eric Silver’s development of main NPC Alonzo felt inevitable but still surprising and just as heartbreaking as the letters.
“Chapter 8 – Jacki”
In the last two episodes of its season 1 finale, Marsfall has proven itself one of the new greats of the audio drama medium. I gave the series a First Impressions review, but this podcast has continued raising my expectations episode after episode. “Chapter 8 – Jacki” is beautifully acted, written, and edited–and set to haunting cello pieces that backlight everything to feel more morving, more intense, and more human. Marsfall has proven that action sequences can work in audio, and the show balances showing and telling perfectly to make sure the audience isn’t lost in the woods but isn’t handed all the details, either. To avoid spoilers, this review is going to be brief, but know that these last two episodes have already landed themselves in my document of episodes not to forget when I write my Best of 2018 lists in December.
The Adventure Zone
“Dust – Episode 1”
The Adventure Zone is one of my favorite podcasts, and I think what current GM Travis McElroy is doing with his mini-arc is exciting and intriguing. The characters created by the players are great concepts, and they’re played well. The plot is mysterious and suspenseful. I wanted to like this episode so much–I really did. I was just so distracted by the breathy, airy voice Tavis and Clint McElroy both use when playing women. This could be worse: I’ve heard so many other actual play podcasts in which a male player or DM will use a high-pitched voice for a female character, which is exhausting. Still, this breathiness isn’t good even if it is better. One of the things I loved about the Balance Arc was that Griffin McElroy didn’t seem to voice female characters any differently than male characters. He seemed to understand that women talk like any other human person instead of sighing everything they say. Again, everything about this episode was great, but this problem was so distracting I could hardly pay attention to what was going on.
This Week’s Ratings
- 2298, “ENTRY NINE / HABITABLE OR NOT”: B-
- Hello from the Magic Tavern, “INTERLUDE – Hey Kids, It’s a Magic Tavern!”: B-
- Potterless, “Ep. 36 – Order of the Phoenix Ch. 36-37 w/ Julia Schifini”: B
- Han and Matt Know It All, “Hannah and Matt Ask a Manager II: The Squeakuel”: C+
- ArtCurious, “BONUS: Jennifer Dasal on ‘Genius’ at CreativeMornings RDU (August 2017)”: B
- The Sporkful, “How To Be a Good Ice Cream Citizen”: C+
- Heretic, “8.28.1968”: C+
- Reasonably Sound, “40: Helpful Mom Voices”: B
- Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, “101. English Idyll”: C
- Terrible, Thanks for Asking, “28: Revenge of the Porn”: B
- Love and Luck, “Episode 26 – Wards”: B
- Join the Party, “21. Bachelorette Party I”: B+
- My Brother, My Brother and Me, “MBMBaM 395: Diagnosis: Onions”: C
- The Amelia Project, “Prelude: Water”: C+
- 99% Invisible, “297- Blood, Sweat, and Tears (City of the Future, Part 2)”: B
- Pop Culture Happy Hour, “The Regrettable Television Pop Quiz”: C+
- This Is Love, “Episode 3: Always Tomorrow”: B-
- ars PARADOXICA, “30: Volunteer”: B
- Join the Party, “Afterparty: Bachelorette Party I”: C+
- Han and Matt Know It All, “Opinion Overflow #30: ‘Should You Hijack a Friend’s Baby Shower to Campaign Against Circumcision?'”: B-
- Spirits, “Episode 66: Your Urban Legends VI – Yule Lads”: B
- Song Exploder, “Natalie Prass – Short Court Style”: C
- Kind World, “#52: New Ink”: C
- Making Obama, “Obama 4: Wait Your Turn”: B
- Wooden Overcoats, “Season 3 Episode 2: Altar Ego”: B
- Darknet Diaries, “#OPJUSTINA”: B
- Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services, “Case Three: Music”: B
- The Adventure Zone, “Dust – Episode 1”: C-
- Heretic, “Episode Eight”: B
- The Amelia Project, “Bob”: B
- Pop Culture Happy Hour, “Our 2018 Oscars Preview”: C+
- The Splendid Table, “652: Good News for Chicken & Post-Wildfire Foraging”: C
- Marsfall, “Chapter 8 – Jacki”: A
- 2298, “ENTRY TEN / IN ITS RIGHT PLACE”: B