Moonbase Theta, Out
Episodes: 18 episodes
Length: 5-7 minutes
I’ve listened to… All there is so far!
The Premise: The crew of Moonbase Theta are preparing to return to Earth. Roger provides weekly updates to the corporate
overlords leaders sponsoring the trip. However, communication starts to get spotty and things aren’t going according to plan.
My Review: This was a wonderful surprise of a podcast. I have seen a few audiodramas try to pull off very brief episodes, but this is the most successful application I have seen thus far. The format and structure of the episodes work really well, packing a lot of punch in the few minutes they put out each week. They also masterfully balance tension with what they say and, more importantly, what they don’t. What is unsaid is just as important in this story, and it is this fact which allows the story to delve so deep in just a few minutes.
Beyond having a refreshingly well-developed plot, there are some deeply emotional moments. It takes some very careful planning and creativity to build an intro, bit of intrigue, emotional punch, and outro within just a few minutes. I think it is a testament to the idea that sometimes restrictions lead to great creative leaps. The voice acting is also strong, leading you through the moments and carefully using tone of voice, rate of speech, and other verbal cues to help develop the full story. And they unashamedly keep the story relatively serious, not breaking the carefully crafted tension with jokes. But it is an engaging serious story being told.
The narrator is engaging and sympathetic. As someone who works within a large organization, I can feel the frustration when you don’t receive communication about things that seem vital for successful completion of your job. I mean, my leaders don’t have the excuse of being a whole moon away, but hey, I’m not bitter. That said, I definitely feel connected to Roger, the man running the communication updates. The glimpses of his life offered by the personal messages at the end serve to deepen the character in just a few lines.
As someone who enjoys writing, I am in awe of the creators ability to create such an amazing story in a very limited space. I’m wordy. It’s my flaw, and I own it. So seeing the impact of a few minutes/words is inspiring. In a thirty minute format, this story would still be good. The plot and idea is still intriguing. But the format adds a level of realism that makes the world feel more real. It also seems to highlight how limited and distant communication is, allowing me as the listener to feel just as isolated for those few minutes as Roger and the rest of the crew. I’m only going to get 5 minutes to hear the update. They only have 5 minutes to ask for help.
There is no excuse not to listen to Moonbase Theta, Out. Even if your queue is running behind, you will definitely be happy if you make a little time to catch up and keep up with this impressive, minimalist audiodrama.
You can find them here: Moonbase Theta, Out