Length: 30-40 minutes
I’ve listened to… all current episodes
Transcripts Available: No
The Premise: The Chronicles of Wild Hollow follows bounty hunter Fandango Boursin (front and center in the image above) as he takes on jobs. However, he unknowingly may be falling deeper into a web of danger with each passing moment. The first trilogy of his adventures is available to listen now, with more content planned.
My Review: If you ever wanted a musical podcast full of adventure, intrigue and sardonic humor, then I have some great news. The Chronicles of Wild Hollow hits numerous notes, creating a serious story in a fantasy world. It creates an endearing cast of characters and a surprisingly complex world. The creators, Shouting is Funny, reached out to me for a review. And I am so glad they helped me discover this absolute gem.
This audiodrama borrows some cues from westerns, noir, and adventure genres. I was impressed with the way it wove in classic genre tropes, and yet turned them around or used them to poke fun at convention. It is self-aware in a pleasant way, calling itself out to deepen characters and the world. The writing is clever, quick, and engaging. It never lingers too long in one moment, but keeps the action moving while still providing ample room for character development. I listened to the Christmas special first, as it was the first in queue. And it had me laughing and shaking my head (in a good way) all the way along my commute. That is a good introduction to the style of the show–dark, but funny. Unexpected, unconventional, and witty.
It uses humor very well to balance out the very serious themes presented, keeping it from becoming too difficult of a story to digest. However, the storylines are well-developed and thoughtful, addressing drug use, conspiracy, community, and crime. It uses these situations to develop a cast of interesting characters, with Fandango being the most complete of those depicted so far. His character wrestles with the reality of his job at times, of money versus compassion, of justice and doing the right thing. This is a fairly classic conflict for such characters, but the execution of this is excellent. As Fandango develops, the listener is kept wondering how he will navigate increasingly dangerous situations while remaining true to who he is.
The background characters are also well-done, but tend to be static and more limited in their involvement. It makes sense given the stories being told, and there are some who get additional development. Even with those brief glimpses, it was easy to like certain recurring characters. I also expect some of those with a briefer role may get developed more as future stories about Fandango are released.
I would be remiss to write this whole review and not mention the musical aspects. This is a charming aspect of the show, using musical numbers to introduce characters, progress the plot, and provide scene development. The music is well-written and placed well throughout each episode. It provides an opportunity for more focused world building, using song to provide background and setting details, but in a way that keeps everything moving at a nice pace. The lyrics maintain the feel of the show and feel consistent with the overarching themes of the show.
Overall, this podcast was one that took me by surprise and quickly became a new favorite. The first trilogy leaves off in a precarious place, so I am eagerly awaiting more. In the span of four episodes, the team at Shouting is Funny managed to create a great character, wonderful supporting characters, a complex world, and fantastic music to go along. I never knew quite how a scenario would turn out, and the clever writing pulled me in right away. I can highly recommend you give this show a listen.
You can find them here: The Chronicles of Wild Hollow
Hello people of the internet! It probably comes as no surprise that life has been rather hectic. No idea why that could be, of course. But, whatever the cause, it has offered me a lot of time with ear buds in to listen to all kinds of wonderful things. I have a quite a few people I want to shout out over the next few weeks, so I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things. But first, something a little different
Songs of the Faithless
This is not a podcast, but a musical fantasy album. The creator reached out to me through the contact form and said that, while it was a little different, he thought it was something I might enjoy. And, honestly, it piqued my curiosity. My normal format doesn’t quite fit, but I’ll do what I can.
Length: Just under an hour and a half for the full deluxe version with 30 songs (15 in the main, 5 bonus tracks)
Premise: Osumare is the daughter of one of the last Speakers to the God of Balance, also known as the Missing God. She lives in a seaside town, enjoying life on the sea. However, a cult arises with plans to bring about a great evil into the world and she must react to stop it.
My Review: So, I enjoy musicals, but I’m not a musical fanatic. That said, I found this a really enjoyable story. I have to be honest, I am completely in awe of anyone who can tell a story through music. I can hardly wrap my brain around the idea of keeping rhythm, rhyme, and music all in sync. The music has a theatrical quality to it, and it made me wish I could see and hear it as a full production.
The world that is introduced in this is really fascinating. There is myth and magic, but all removed from the time of the telling. Or at least forgotten. I found it very interesting how song and magic were woven together throughout, and I think that is an approach that serves this format exceedingly well. The main tenets of the world are clearly introduced, providing a good framework for the main action. I honestly found myself wanting to learn more about this world and hear more stories from it, because it seems like there is plenty of interesting ideas presented that could be developed further.
The music covers a variety of styles and tones, and frankly I’m not musically inclined enough to provide much more feedback. I will say it had me humming some tunes even after I finished, which I consider a positive. The vocal talents are very impressive, and the writing progresses the story while staying in tune with the overall production. Again, I am in awe of anyone with enough talent to balance all these pieces.
I think my main critique would be the length. This honestly feels too short. Now, to be completely fair, this may be partially due to my habit of listening to podcast arcs that span 97 episodes and 15 seasons. However, I think the final act ultimately felt a bit rushed. Given this is an epic hero’s journey story, I wish there had been more struggle and build up. That would have increased the tension for me, keeping me on the edge of my seat. That said, I was surprised by the direction the story ultimately took and found it to be a very satisfying end. I think I just wanted a little more time on the journey aspect.
To be fair, though, my main critique is that I wanted more of the story, so I definitely think it kept me intrigued. It is set in an ambitious fantasy world, and it seems this story scratches the surface of what there is to discover. While I think a few additional songs and scenes may have ultimately filled the story out more, it tells its tale from start to finish effectively. It introduces a main character that I can care about, root for, and journey with. If you enjoy fantasy and you enjoy musicals, give it a listen.
You can download the album here and name your own price. If you are in a position to do so, I highly encourage you to support artists and entertainers out there helping us all get through this one song, one episode, and one day at a time. And check out the creator, Jonah Knight.