Archive for February, 2010

Leviathan Chronicles Chapter 24

Posted in The Leviathan Chronicles with tags , , on February 15, 2010 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

Leviathan Chronicles Chapter 24: The Showdown at Mt. Chenglung, Part 1

To express my feelings on this latest installment of The Leviathan Chronicles, allow me to quote Roman Emperor and Shakespeare star Julius Caesar:

“I came. I listened. I thought it was badass.”

I don’t know if Julius Caesar actually said that. Probably not in those exact words. (He probably would have said it in Latin.) But if given the opportunity, he definitely would have said it about Leviathan 24.

But enough with me being clever in Latin, ’cause this particular chapter is full of enough epic to keep me going for longer than you’re probably willing to read…

Ok, I have to get this out of the way now and never speak of it again, because I was immensely freaked out. I may be many, many things, but squeamish is not one of them. With that out on the table, I think you can now fully appreciate the gravity of the situation when I say that certain parts of Chapter 24 had me curled up in a ball on the chair going “Ah! No! What? What is he– AW DOOD DON’T DO THAT! AH! PAIN! OMG WHAT?!” and making other such grammatically incorrect exclamations of shock. If you listened, then you’ll know what I mean and probably had similar reactions yourself. If you haven’t yet listened, well, you’re in for a surprise. Things rarely disturb me enough to the point where I have to pause the show and do the Heebie-Jeebie Jumping Jacks, but I think it happened at least twice in this chapter. Aargh.

On a related note, some things need to be said about Bennu.  I always knew that Bennu was no good. People who go around in white hooded robes are either assassins or evil, and I’m pretty sure that Bennu might actually be a bit of both… but one thing’s for sure, he’s definitely a traitor, and he obviously let Harlequinn escape after the OMG bit with the blowtorch: These are both not good things. I dislike Bennu. It’s kind of how I feel about Whitt Roberts — I want them both to die a slow, painful death, possibly smothered in jellyfish, but at the same time they’re both such great villains that I’d miss them too much… the more hate I have towards elements of something, be it audio, TV/movie, or book, the more I love the thing as a whole. It’s a complicated system, but it works.

Now that we’re past the bits that still make me shudder, I want to take a brief moment to point out Leviathan’s educational value. All my life, I thought that a Sherpa was a fluffy dog, kind of like a husky. I was very surprised and a little relieved to find out that Sherpas are in fact a Tibetan ethnic group, and that Leviathan didn’t all of a sudden feature talking fluffy dogs. See, you learn something new every day. With that said, let the plot summary commence.

The penultimate chapter of Leviathan Chronicles’ first amazing season is full of twists and surprises and scary things and squee-worthiness, capped off by an ending I never saw coming in a million years. The episode begins at of Mt. Chenglung with Oberlin, Mai Lee, and Whitt Roberts. Whitt is being an a complete arse to the Sherpa guides (who, at this point, I still believed were dogs), and pretty much to everyone in general. No surprise there. He’s a mean person. In fact, he’s pure evil, to the point where he has the guides chased down and torn apart by the group’s new porters: giant blood-red genetically engineered monstrosities called ‘Enforcers’, presumably of a similar variety to the ones that chased down Macallan and Tulley about a dozen chapters ago. These appear to be Enforcer 2.0, however, since they take orders and fetch and carry instead of just rampaging Hulk-style, and they proceed to carry Oberlin, Mai Lee, and W.R up the mountain in cushy heated style.

Now, I remember quite clearly the first time Leviathan Chronicles really made me spazz out completely — I was on the way home on the school bus (lifetimes ago) listening to (If I remember correctly) Chapter 16, which involved a ginormous kung-fu battle. I was spazzing out for a solid ten minutes afterwards… and now, a year and a half later, Chapter 24 finds us back at the scene in the temple where the Chinese government took the Starstone. Whitt Roberts reveals that while the government thought that the alien artifact was the most important part of the temple, they were sorely mistaken… the most important part was the base the Starstone was sitting on — it turns out to be a giant transmitter that leads deep underground to the biggest Keyhole in the world. Whitt opens the Keyhole, and something unbelievable is awaiting on the other side…

In between all of that, there’s my favorite part of the whole episode. It’s on a much lighter note from everything else, and it featured my second largest squee-moment of the chapter. Down in Leviathan, Tulley goes for a walk and discovers a wonderful ‘dive bar’ tucked away in a corner. After displaying a bit of nautical fanboy knowledge to the proprietor, the two hit it off and begin sharing drinks and spicy squid chips. (For the record, those sound delicious…) This is the part where he reveals that he has feelings of some sort for Macallan, which made me have a little bit of a moment, but it’s also the part where a certain reference is made that caused me to be very happy.

See, a while back my other most favorite audio drama of all time, Darker Project’s The Byron Chronicles, referenced Leviathan Chronicles. (In case you didn’t know, the Big Bad in that show is a creature called Leviathan, so…it’s funny.) Ages ago, when I first heard the trailer for Leviathan Chronicles (on the end of a Byron episode, no less) my little conspiracy-theorist mind went wild and rabid over the possibility that the two shows were connected and had some evil world-conquering scheme. It might not have been true at the time, but it definitely is now.  Probably. Anyway, all I know is that one second, two characters were discussing different drinks, and the next, there was an epic Byron reference that utterly made my day again.

Tulley is a great character — he (and originally Macallan) serve as audience surrogates, asking the questions we all wish we could ask,  and generally being awesome. It’d be impossible for me to single out one character out of the entire cast whom I could point to as my favorite, but Tulley is definitely in the running… but, since bad things usually happen to characters I particularly like, (case in point, Oberlin and Harlequinn — it’s almost eerie) it’s only a matter of time before death happens. On that note, I usually try to keep my wild theories in check, but this time I’m gonna spew out a couple about the finale episode. I’m pretty sure that a major character will die, and that we’ll find out more about Evangeline’s mysterious project. (My money’s still on “spaceship”, but we’ll see…) I’m also going to throw out there the fact that I’m pretty sure Sienshun and co. are the “bad guys”, instead of Evangeline as we’ve been lead to believe. I’m also looking forward the the ‘showdown’ mentioned in the title… I’m planning the Leviathan Listening Party now… it will be spectacular.

This episode was an hour and six minutes long, but it seemed too short for me — I think I can safely say that this was the best episode of the series to date. Anything that makes 66 minutes feel like 6 minutes definitely deserves the title of ‘best thing ever’.  I can’t wait until the next chapter, even though it means that there’ll be no more full-length episodes for a while. However, we won’t be left completely without Leviathan goodness after Chapter 25 drops — among other things there’s the launch of the new website, new merchandise, Leviathan minisodes, and last but definitely not least, Season 1 Director’s Cut. Those are in the ranking of the four best words I’ve ever heard, right up there with  ‘Here, have free bacon!” and “Snow day, no school.”

I don’t think there’s much else I can say, except WOW. I was left speechless, something else that doesn’t happen on a daily basis, and judging by the fact that Chapter 25 is shaping up to be about 400 times better, I’m worried about my sanity as the day approaches…

To listen to this episode, click the pretty picture up at the top!  Coming soon are Gaia’s Voyages Episode 7 (BSAP), Twilight Theater, and hopefully, The Byron Chronicles Season 3 premiere!

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~ META-REVIEW of DOOM ~

Posted in BrokenSea, Darker Projects, The Leviathan Chronicles with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2010 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

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(c) Darker Projects

Lost Frontier: The Valiant, Parts 1& 2

I recently got a friend to listen to Lost Frontier, and in the  process of converting a new fan I got another chance to re-listen to the series that rekindled my interest in Star Trek. The  two  most recent episodes, The Valiant Parts 1 & 2, are  probably two of  the best of the series. Sure, I love Lost Frontier  as much as any  rabid Trekkie, but I also love it’s  parent series The Section 31 Files. While I realize that Lost Frontier is it’s own show, it’s still good to see it return to it’s roots with the re-appearance of S31 characters Emperor Korg, Bishop, and…the Judah hologram, hereafter referred to as Judahgram.

Part 1 starts out with the Enterprise recieving a message from Emperor Korg, asking for their help and requesting to meet with Captain Trask and Mak as soon as possible. When the ship arrives at the Klingon homeworld, Trask has to give Korg the bad news that not only is Mak dead for good, murdered by another Novachron, but also that he got body-snatched by Equity Corps. It’s not all bad news, though: Korg reveals that the reason he needs the help of the Enterprise and her crew is that he thinks he’s found his long-lost adopted daughter Dalonna after picking up a faint, outdated signal coming from a backwater planet. When  they  arrive at the signal’s planet of origin, they find an abandoned camp, a crashed shuttle, and a  holo-projector containing the Judahgram. Judah’s memory is outdated, however, and his batteries are running low. He doesn’t remember what happened to Dalonna, but he does know that she’s no longer on the planet.

All in all, two of my favorite episodes. Not just because Bishop and Judah(gram) are re-introduced, but because these two episodes just seem bigger and more epic than the rest, which are wonderful and epic enough in their own rights. I’m not entirely sure where this show went (I’m not one to talk, though, and this is infinitesimal compared to the amount of work that goes into a single episode of well-done audio drama) but I hope it comes back soon to make my ears happy and get my conspiracy motor running… I needs me more trekkie goodness, and this is one of my favorite Star Trek fan works evar.

(c) Brokensea

Gaia’s Voyages Episode 6: Love Is In The Air (BrokenSea)

I loathe Valentines Day. I really do. Everything is pink and fluffy and covered in glitter, and there’s a distinctly nauseating sense of mushiness everywhere. No, I’m not disgruntled over the fact that I’ll be spending Valentines Day with just a bag of Reese’s chocolate and Gaia Episode 7 for company. Don’t look at me like that. Gaia’s Voyages Episode 6 deals with something infinitely more badass than pink paper hearts, though: Valentine’s Day…in Space. I’d take that over Reese’ s any day.

So much greatness happened in this episode, I don’t even know where to begin…Duels and dances, serenades and soon-to-be sword fights… oh, and Valentine’s cards. Speaking of which, my absolute favorite moment of pretty much the entire episode was the bit where Natty is handing out Valentines, including a sparkly one for Armarok, whom she promptly glomps and dubs her adopted brother, saying that maybe if he got more hugs he wouldn’t be so grumpy. Gratz to writer/creator/ Elaine Barrett for giving us something to giggle about, ’cause as mental images go, that one’s pretty great. So is the one of Andre, musketeer wannabe, challenging Zeet and then, somehow, Mycroft to a duel in the name of love.

This whole episode was straight-up fun, and Episode 7 looks like it’ll be just as good if not better. Can’t wait for St. V’s Day, and the hour long episode (!!!) that awaits!


(c) Darker Projects

Doctor Who: Dreamers, Part 3 (Darker Projects)

And now, for the stunning conclusion to the DP-Who three-parter “Dreamers”! I love DP-Who, even the older episodes, but in comparison to the rest I’ve got to say that the ‘Dreamers’ story is a thing of beauty. I mean, come on: Doctor Who + Celtic mythology = pure concentrated win in a jar. Also, there’s the freak-out factor: I’m rarely seriously disturbed by anything that doesn’t involve fish, and yet this tale of shiny evil horse-creatures, ghostly trains and hijacked minds never failed to give me the shivers.

In the finale episode, the Doctor Time-Lord mindlocks the Taibhsi’s minions. They start claiming they’re gods, the Doctor loses patience, and takes a look through their memories to find out the truth. They’d been seduced by the Taibhsi, who are using the power of Ley lines to come back into the human realm. The London Underground follows the path of these mystical lines, and the Taibhsi are exploiting it. The Doctor gets annoyed with people selling out their own kind for their own benefit, and they show him how to open the doorway. Jason Tate’s personality is still vying for dominance. Emma “wakes up” back in her apartment in present-day London with Jason Tate, and seems to be having a pretty good time until the Doctor shows up and tells her that it’s all in her head. The Oneirosphere is nearly ready with the addition of so many new minds, but something is impeding the link — they need the Doctor’s mind, and just in time, the Doctor shows up makes them regret it by proceeding to frak up the Taibhsi’s plans AND Emma’s dream before sending the dreamers back to the waking world. The Taibhsi (that’s just a fun word to type) try to take over the Doctor’s mind, and get a nasty little shock when they find out that he’s got an extremely powerful one, far too powerful for them to begin to comprehend let alone dominate. The Doctor skips over all the ‘angst’ right to the actiony bit, banishes the Taibhsi to wherever it was they were before, frees the dreaming minds, and restores London. Looks like it really is “New Doctor, new rules” — except for one rule, at least: No second chances.

Upon re-listening to this episode, I noticed something that I missed the first time: the minions tell the Doctor that Gallifrey is coming back, and that they saw it in his mind. Now, that is something I’m really looking forward too, even more so after coming away from the TV version of that same event feeling a little disappointed. Gallifrey rises? Again? Hopefully.

The conclusion of the Dreamers storyline definitely didn’t disappoint in any aspect from the writing (crazygood) to the mixing (gorgeous) to the acting (great work by David Ault and M Sieiro Garcia, and the entirety of the ensemble cast). I’m definitely liking the direction Season 3 is going, and as always, I’m drooling onto the keyboard in anticipation of more. … no, really, there’s actual drool.

Doctor Who Special — The Silver Spiral (Darker Projects)

I love space. I mean, I really, really love space to the point where I get tears in my eyes if I look up at the night sky too long. There’s uncountable lifetimes of amazing, beautiful, incomprehensibly magnificent things out there that we can’t even dream of. By looking into space we are also looking backwards in time, since many of the events witnessed by terrestrial observatories and orbiting satellites occurred before the first human set foot upon the Earth, and their light is only just reaching us now.  This is the concept at the heart of the Doctor Who minisode “The Silver Spiral’, written and narrated by Megan Argo, who draws from real-life experience observing supernovae to give a touch of realism to a SF-based show. This episode, based on an actual astronomical event called ‘Supernova 2007gr’, basically consists of the Doctor delivering a hands-on science lesson to Emma about how space works and why it’s awesome, and ends with a supernova-propelled joyride in the TARDIS. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Did I have giggles at the end? Certainly. Do I wish this had come out a couple months ago when we were studying space in science class so I could quote it and look clever? You bet your shiny brass buttons. One thing I enjoyed in particular was the style in which it was told, with an external narrator describing the action. Other than ‘The Byron Chronicles’, I don’t think any of DP’s shows are performed in this way. It isn’t a narrative style that always makes me happy or one that’s suited to most shows, but in this case it fits perfectly. I would be completely overjoyed if there were more episodes like this — it was like one of those amazing cookies that you can eat in a single bite… (Sigh. Again with the food analogies. I don’t mean to, really.)

Leviathan Chronicles Chapter 23: Lhasa

Today, and of course by ‘today’ I mean yesterday, a new episode of Leviathan was released, and I wrote a review for it. This is not that review. No, this is the review for the chapter before that chapter. The other review comes later.

After finally seeing the city of Leviathan in the last few chapters, I’d sadly almost forgotten that there were actually other characters, and that they were important too. Eep. Chapter 23 solves this problem, however, by rejoining Mai Lee and Oberlin on the Tangula railway, which I seriously wish I could use to commute to and from college.  (A guy comes to your door and offers you ice cream from a little cart! How cool is that?!) Unfortunately, they are unable to fully enjoy the ice cream and the open bar, because Whitt Roberts has sneaked his way onto the train, and is busy looking for his two quarries.

He’s more than a little pissed off; this is understandable, since because Oberlin left him with just the one ear, Whitt has lost his ability to blend in and disguise himself easily. Since he’s an assassin, this is not the best thing ever. (Note: The ‘Leviathan Line of the Month Award’ is given to Whitt Roberts for “I need equiptment for my equiptment!”) Apart from wreaking horribly painful vengeance and finishing the job he’d started, he’s mostly trying to get his extremely important briefcase back so that Blackdoor can complete their ultra-secret extraction mission.

Words and sharp, pointy things fly back and forth, but after quite a few death threats and accusations, Whitt, Mai Lee, and Oberlin reach an uneasy temporary truce. Oberlin did something technical and brilliant to the briefcase, and now it’s locked and he’s the only one who knows how to open it. This renders it more or less useless to Whitt and Blackdoor, and gives Oberlin and Mai Lee a valuable bargaining chip: Oberlin won’t open the briefcase until Mai Lee is reunited with her father… and this means that Whitt Roberts is going to have two companions on his trip up Mt. Chenglung.  None of them are very happy about this.

Meanwhile, also in Tibet, Sienshun and Nathaniel have landed and are trying to find Macallan. They obviously don’t know that she’s already in Leviathan, or that Blackdoor is on their way.

The countdown has started leading up to the Season 1 finale, and while Chapter 23 is wonderful and amazing, the long-standing tradition of each episode of the Leviathan Chronicles being better than the last still stands. It’s a brilliant lead-in to the season finale, and has some great moments and wonderful dialogue, especially between Oberlin and Roberts. I still can’t get over the ice-cream cart, though, or the fact that Leviathan is and always will be one of my favorite things on the internet.

Now, excuse me… my brain is still recovering from Episode 24. I have to go lie back down and twitch.

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Weeelll, that’s all for now, folks. I hope that this META-REVIEW OF DOOM made up for the months of absence, and I also hope that I’ll be able to be reasonably regular with reviews from now on. I’m also thinking about branching out into other mediums apart from text-only, but more on that later…

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Note: ‘OBL’ and the nickname ‘Omnipotent Blog Lady’ were conceived by Chris Barnes, aka the Master of Acronyms. Credit where credit is due! =D