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Archive for September, 2019

A Listener Reviews: A Scottish Podcast

A Scottish Podcast

Episodes: 30 episodes, plus some specials and mid-break bonus epsiodes.

Length: Generally around 10-20 minutes

I’ve listened to… All the episodes released so far. Season two just ended #whereslee

The Premise: Two friends acquaintances people who live in the same general area, Lee and Dougie, decide to create a spooky podcast about paranormal events in the hopes of becoming famous. Well, to be fair, Lee wants to create it, and Dougie just kind of gets roped in. So if you want to listen to them bicker while spooky stuff happens, you’re in for a good time.

My Review: I’ll be completely honest, I did not get this podcast at first. I went in thinking it was a fictional podcast about a podcast. What I learned after a few episodes of head scratching is that this is a podcast about a handful of characters who sometimes are focused on creating a paranormal podcast and often end up falling into impossibly terrifying, supernatural experiences. And then they just go on about with their lives.

It is irreverent, ridiculous, bizarre, and fascinating. The paranormal aspect, which is what I originally came for, is more of a backdrop to the relationships and realities of life encountered by the characters. Uncovering amazing, terrifying realities is most notably lauded by how it affects downloads of the in-world Terror Files podcast, rather than the unsettling nature of the discovery. In fact, once uncovered, stories are mostly left. And that is wonderful. The story weaves and drunkenly swerves from situation to situation because that is the unpredictable path of its unstable narrator whose main focus is fame.

This podcast hinges entirely upon the cast of characters. They are all unlikable at times with major flaws. And that is so refreshing, because it feels so real. There are not nicely polished, inquisitive, altruistic characters delving the depths of the world. They are just who they are with all their imperfections and (at times) downright infuriating character quirks. And yet I cannot help but look forward to stepping back into the story and seeing where it is headed next.

The main cast is definitely well developed and complex. The secondary characters are also each very unique, with their own voice, motivations, and styles. They add a really nice bit of variety to what is going on. Also, a lot of funny moments. The podcast overall is pretty humorous, in my opinion, with some more serious moments sprinkled throughout. But it never seems to take itself too seriously, always maintaining a tongue-in-cheek approach to whatever is happening.

Overall, I find A Scottish Podcast to be a unique ride. The thread running throughout the plot is the creation of the Terror Files, but the real focus seems to be on living life alongside the characters as they go on this strange journey. And the broad view it takes provides so many opportunities to learn about the characters, which enhances the tension during moments of stress or danger. I think this is one of those stories you have to listen to in order to fully get it, but give it a few episodes and I think it will win you over with its charm. Just don’t tell Lee that.

You can find them here: A Scottish Podcast


A Listener Reviews: Project Nova

Project Nova

Episodes: 15 current episodes, with the final episode of season 2 coming soon!

Length: Generally around 15-20 minutes

I’ve listened to… All the episodes released so far. Eagerly awaiting the season 2 finale.

The Premise: Four strangers wake up in a strange place and begin to try and figure out how to live and survive in the world they’ve woken into. Their companion in this is the AI, designed to administer trials to help them learn to survive. But things begin to take a dangerous turn and more questions about who they are and why they are here surface.

My Review: If you are looking for something to scratch a good sci-fi/thriller itch, this will do it. The episodes generally focus on how the four characters manage to respond to tests designed to help them learn to survive. Along the way, of course, things begin to go off the rails and some uncomfortable realities begin to surface.

I think season one of this was good, but season two is where they really have hit their stride. There is so much depth in each episode, so many clues and trails to follow as the listener tries to puzzle through all that’s happening. I think what is impressive is that season one answered a lot of the original questions, but presented so many more that have been churning throughout season two. And given the direction for season two so far, I anticipate much the same experience: we’ll get our answers, but only to the degree that it makes us question so much more.

One strength is in that very fact. Yes, there are moments and solutions that are telegraphed a bit in advance. But in general, I have found myself repeatedly surprised by the scenarios and their solutions. The titles tend to give a bit of a hint, and so I enjoy trying to figure out what might be coming. Nevertheless, it has always been an exciting story to follow along with.

The main cast is the four subjects (and the AI). The four have a really great dynamic together. There are moments of levity and moments of intense stress. It will keep you on the edge of your seat, but does provide some moments of respite and aptly timed humor. The subjects shine in moments of crisis, but the “downtimes” provide so much opportunity for character development. Personally, I think the danger gets my heart pumping, but the more personal, heartfelt moments of real human connection and uncertainty are what have helped me feel connected to the characters. Those moments are the ones that keep me rooting for them to overcome all the messes thrown their way.  In the midst of chaos, there is a lot of about finding who you are, following your strengths, doubting yourself, and pushing forward. And the importance of teamwork. 

Overall, Project Nova is a podcast that makes me smile and lean forward in anticipation every time I hear the intro. The writing is sharp and creative, introducing new and unexpected elements throughout. The characters are human, endearing, and resourceful. It makes for an exciting and enjoyable listen where I can’t help but keep rooting for success, even when things seem grim. Fingers crossed for the season two finale. I’m sure it will deliver.

You can find their Patreon here: Evil Kittens Patreon