Archive for the Darker Projects Category

~ 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Enterprise and her crew is that he thinks he’s found his long-lost adopted daughter Dalonna after picking up a faint, outdated signal coming from a backwater planet.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 Judah’s memory is outdated, however, and his batteries are running low.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

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The Byron Chronicles Season 2 Finale, AKA: Can I Start Crying Now?

Posted in Darker Projects with tags , on December 10, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

I make jokes about being at a loss for words when it comes to writing reviews for The Byron Chronicles. Those jokes are based in truth, but are still slight exagerations. I’m never at a loss for words, and yet it’s taken me quite a while to figure out what to say in this review. It’ll probably be quite disjointed and make only a little sense, because even an entire day later, my brain is still going up and down and around and around like a frog on a trampoline in a dryer. Oh, and the frog is drunk, blind, and made of rubber.

The Byron Chronicles: The Hour of Portland begins with widespread chaos and news anchors being devoured, and pretty much gets better from there. Byron goes after Chris, leaving Dmitri’s vampires and Katherine’s Order operatives to protect the city. As soon as he leaves, however, Katherine decides to pull out and take the Order’s favorite approach to solving problems: bombs. Yes, just like in ‘The Taint’, the Order’s troops plan to firebomb Portland to remove the threat once and for all.

Meanwhile, Dracula is being a bad person, trying to make Chris feel better about the fact that she’s about to facilitate the rise of the greatest evil known to man by telling her that she’ll be a martyr, revered and seen almost as a goddess. Obviously, this doesn’t make her feel better at all, since…it still means she’s going to die.

Meanwhile, Byron encounters a dramatic pointing figure which dramatically points…and then Slate turns up. Good old Slate, Steward of Winter, who never interferes and always stays out of the way, has finally decided to stop playing Switzerland. He finally admits that the concept of brotherly love exists for him, and that he actually cares about Byron a great deal. He says that he doesn’t want to lose Byron, since they’ve already lost both parents…and a sister. Wait, rewind quickly. A sister? Which one? Who died? This makes me sad inside. Anyway, though, I’d like to point out this scene in particular and say this it is one of the best in the episode. We’re used to Slate being pretty uptight and all, “Follow the rules, gah!”, but now, he is, in a word, badass. I was a little bit in shock hearing it, and afterwards, I went back and listened again. I like Slate.  This scene also raised some questions…as in, who is this mysterious pointing figure, what is he pointing mysteriously at, and why won’t he talk to Byron? Either he’s extremely important, or he’s the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come who wandered onto the wrong set. I’m inclined to think it’s the former…

Now, for the instance of most surpreme awesomeness: Did I mention the fact that there’s a sword fight? A. Sword. Fight. Well, a sword-and-poisioned-metal-spike fight with a side of insults, but still. That made me happy on the inside. I will now move on to the next paragraph, because I think the words “Byron has a sword fight with Dracula” say everything that needs to be said. (Unless you add the words, “so Byron can stop Dracula’s Doomsday device.” right after them.)

Meanwhile, the Order is setting up their bomb, Dmitri makes a treaty with Lycan leader Ryuk after saving his life from a Revenant, and Felix is mean to Katherine, who definintly deserves it. This is all very important stuff, but I’ll come back to it later.

Dracula buggers off. Byron tries to save Chris, but he’s too late. She’s become a part of the machine opening the portal, and there is no way to free her. No matter what he does, she’s going to die. So, he has to kill her in order to stop Leviathan from entering the world.

Wait.

Stop.

Rewind.

Let’s get that one more time, ’cause…I don’t think I heard it right.

Byron is stuck between the hardest of all hard places (as in, say, a mountain made of adamantium-covered dimonds, reinforced with titanium) and a rock the size of the entire universe. He has to kill Chris. THERE ARE NO WORDS FOR HOW SAD THIS MAKES ME! As I mentioned before, I have formed emotional attatchments to these characters over the last two years. It also makes me sad, because its one more person Byron cares about that he’s had to kill.

Oh, one more reason it makes me sad: Laura Post is brilliant. I’m going to miss Laura Post. Let’s everyone give Laura Post a big round of applause for being awesome as Chris Sparrow, and just in general.

Oh, and one more reason why this makes me sad. I mentioned somewhere up there that Dmitri and Ryuk formed a tentative alliance against Dracula.  They killed Branlaven and chucked his head at Dracula (Yay, happy…) and at the end of the episode, the two formerly opposing leaders made plans for a treaty. Dmitri even made a comment about humans, Vampires, and Lycans working together to stop the evil. Here’s what this has to do with the sadness of Chris dying: Byron had been trying to make a new Rome in Portland, where all the races lived together in cooperation. That happened in this episode. So, in a way, he suceeded…but at the same time, he failed to protect Chris. Succeess and failure at the same time. I think there’s even a mathematical equation for that: Enormous Failure + Small Success = Enormous Failure.

Now, I kind of knew Chris was going to die — I had some theories, I asked some questions, I took Piece A and put it next to Piece B, etc… It made me sad, but I’ve had almost three months to get used to the fact that Chris Sparrow was going to die. Did that mean I wasn’t crying when I listened to the end of this episode? No. I was definintly crying. There were tears. Everywhere.

But wait, there’s more! Believe it or not, this was not the big shocker moment in this episode. Hoo, no. Writers Eric Busby and Mark D. Wrenchild aren’t satisfied with pouring three doses of liquid aweome into our brains. They need a fourth, too.

Byron takes Chris’ body back to the tower. There is a moment of extreme sadness and contemplation, we get a glimpse of how wonderfully dark Season 3 is going to be, and then the whole thing is interrupted by a Creepy Gloating Cloaked Guy. He starts talking and being creepy and cloaked and gloating and then, all of a sudden, right at the end, right before the dramatic music and the credits…

Oh, by the way. He’s Leviathan. And he will have his vengence.

I’m sorry. What?

Here I am over the course of the last year or so, thinking Leviathan is, in this order, no jokes at all: invisible, a giant space whale, Lillith, Cthulhu, a group of immortals in an underwater city, a giant space creature again, or Logan.

Leviathan is none of these things. Leviathan is a Creepy Gloating Cloaked Guy.

My brain has now been twisted into a shape rather resembling a pretzel that’s been put through a wringer washer. (i.e, it’s twisty and flat.) Thank you, oh Great Writers, for completely disabling my motor functions for round about five minutes, during which time I sat on the couch opening and closing my mouth like a surprised goldfish confronted with a piece of particularly chewy gum, trying to make a sound that didn’t resemble “Aaaaaaaaarghbpfdbsfisbbv.”

I think that I have nothing further to say.

Oh, wait. Yes I do.

1. My brain. It exploded.

2. I’m going to listen to the episode and again and again and again and—

3. Thank you so very much, cast and crew of The Byron Chronicles. All the writers, mixers, actors…everyone. You’re all brilliant and wonderful. You’ve also destracted me from finals studying, but I can lay most of that blame on the shoulders of Hulu and Monty Python, so nevermind that. This show is quite possibly at the top of my list of favorite things, and now, it’s been stuck there with industrial-strength cement. Made out of adamantium.

This story may be ending soon, but my obsession with all things Byron is not. Oh, and by the way: You guys got three or four standing ovations from my end alone. I’ve gotten my friends hooked. So, congratulations on a job well done. I wish I had more thumbs, so I could put them up.

I can’t wait for Season 3.

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Download or stream The Byron Chronicles: The Hour of Portland, the wonderful Season 2 finale episode, by clicking here.

Doctor Who: Dreamers, Part 2

Posted in Darker Projects with tags , on December 4, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

There seems to be a rule about the middle episode in trilogies. No matter how awesome and epic it is, it just seems like a bridge between parts two and three.  Middle episodes don’t have their own beginnings or their own endings, and because of their spot plunked right in the middle, they have to work extra hard at being memorable. However, like the yummy goodness in the middle of a sandwich that keeps it from being more than just two pieces of bread in a little stack, middle episodes can make a trilogy awesome.

This is one such Part Two of Three.

I, for one, am very glad to see the long-awaited return of ‘DP Who’.  It’s been several months since the release of The Dreamers, Part 1, and since I have an extreme dislike for cliffhangers and would like them to be resolved as quickly and epically as possible, I was greatly saddened by the lack of updates.

Ohhh, but it was worth the wait. It was definitely worth the wait.

Here’s a quick re-cap of Dreamers, Part 1: The Doctor and Emma land in London, circa 2011. The TARDIS is experiencing technical difficulties, and so are the Doctor and Emma. Odd things are happening in the city; Scary, shiny, mind-reading  horses roam the streets abducting people, there’s a ghost train in the tube, and…oh, yes, the evil horses want the Doctor. The episode ends with the horses seemingly poised to get exactly what they want…

Part Two picks up right where Part One left off: With the horses vs. the Doctor and an unfortunate civilian. In true Doctor style, everyone’s favorite Time Lord agrees to go along with the pretty, shiny, deadly horses in order to avoid the loss of human life.

Meanwhile, Emma is getting homesick for the home she can’t go back to as she flees the museum via the tunnels. Her dislike of the Doctor is outweighed by her dislike for their present situation, and she decides to find him and get the hell out of 2011. The Doctor is with those pretty shiny horses, though, and those horses know who and what the Doctor is…but, being the Doctor, he also recognizes them. Turns out they haven’t always looked like horses, and are actually creatures called Taibhsi (it’s Celtic). The Taibhsi are using the energy from people’s dreaming minds and their imaginations to open a portal to bring them fully into our world, but they’ve encountered some difficulties. They need more energy to keep the portal open, and they want to get that energy from the Doctor’s mind.

Emma shows up to rescue the Doctor, but when she wakes him up, Jason wakes up instead…for a few moments, anyway. Unfortunatly, he turns back into the Doctor as soon as she starts kissing him. Then they start having a stubborn contest, which ends with Emma beating up the horses’ meatpuppets. The stubborn contest continues in the tunnels but gets interrupted by a Tube train, and the Doctor and Emma take a detour that plops them both right into the Taibhsi’s horsey clutches. The Taibhsi take control of Emma’s brain, and attempt to take over the Doctor’s… and then come the credits. Guess we’ll have to wait for the conclusion…yay, waiting.

The only ‘issue’ that I had with this episode is that the weird echo-y quality that the horses’ voices had in part 1 is gone…part of a re-mixing of the first episode. (Remember when it was taken off the site right after it was first put up, and then a while later Part 1 2.0 appeared? Yeah, I got lucky and downloaded the original version.) The scary horses are less scary now, for me anyway, and I miss the old voices. That’s all I’ve got, though. Everything else was brilliant.

The only thing I know for sure is that Dreamers Part 3 is going to be pretty amazing. It’ll be the final piece of bread on this sandwich of awesome.

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Download Doctor Who: The Dreamers, Part 2 right over HERE, or from wherever you usually get it.

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The Byron Chronicles 2×08: When the Storm Breaks, AKA “AARGH! WHY?”

Posted in Darker Projects with tags , , on November 30, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

Yesterday night (or was it very early this morning?) I experienced the familiar sensation that all of my blood was instantly replaced with helium. No, that’s not actually what happened, but I’m pretty sure the sensation of one’s heart suddenly starting to pump lighter-than-air gas through one’s veins is similar to the sensation I felt when I discovered that a new episode of The Byron Chronicles had been out for a whole entire hour and I didn’t notice. Sure, I had a perfectly wonderful excuse (I was watching the movie ‘Equilibrium’; If you have not seen this movie, rent it soon. It has Christian Bale and a puppy, and katanas and epic gunfights. I digress.), but that didn’t change the fact that I, the rabid fangirl who usually pounces on each and every release  like a sugar-high kitten on a defenseless baby mouse about fifteen minutes after the episode goes live, nearly missed what I’m pretty sure is the Season 2 Finale episode.

This is not an episode to miss.

As always, this review contains some pretty nasty spoilers, almost on the “Luke, I am your father!”  level this time.  (Well, at least on the “Luke, she’s your sister” level…) So, if for some reason you have not yet listened to The Byron Chronicles: When the Storm Breaks, close this window and go listen. I’ll be here when you get back.

For the rest of us, the review follows.

So much awesome happened in this episode that I don’t know where to start. Well, I suppose the beginning is the very best place to start, so I might as well begin with the fact that Dracula makes his first non-flashback appearance, and starts off strong with the whole Big Bad thing, speaking mysteriously about a ‘machine’ to that evil little drug-creating sewer-dweller Branlaven from way back in Season 1. 

It then cuts to Byron and Agent Katherine having a friendly chat, still in the clutches of the vampire lord Dimitri. (And when I say friendly, what I really mean is that there are minimal threats and no actual attempts at murder.) It is revealed that it was the Order who freed Byron from that nasty little buried-alive-with-dragon-venom trap Dracula sprung on him back in Bar Harbor, and that it was immediately after this that Byron was betrayed by the Order and locked up in another underground prison, albeit one with a chess-playing zombie, a little more breathing room, and a notable lack of dragon venom.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, the two of them begin to discuss Leviathan, and thank you Eric Busby for including the other reference I’ve been waiting for all season! Mention is made of a certain other brilliant audio drama by Christof Laputka…Oh, you know the one. The Leviathan Chronicles. And, I’m not talking about just a passing reference, here — I’m talking about an epic shout-out. (Oh, and…you didn’t hear this from me, but we may be hearing a lot more than just references in Season 3 of The Byron Chronicles…but I’m not sayin’ anything else. Just in case.)

Then comes the truly dis-gus-ting scene with some impressively gruesome sound effects. Suffice to say, I was significantly disturbed by the sound of two vampires  trying some of the…local cuisine, if you get my meaning. I firmly believe that things are scarier when you can hear them but not see them, which is the reason audio drama scares the crap out of me while horror movies only make me laugh. So, congratulations to whomever mixed that scene (and the entire episode in general, actually…) because it was brilliant.

Oh, and the Rush-crazed Revenents turn up again. Mmhmm. Like I said before, everyone who’s anyone from Season 1 pops back up in Season 2, and they pop back up with a vengeance.

Ok, now, here comes the big one, the one that literally made my jaw drop.

Dracula is an insane puppet-master! He’s pulling every string, and he’s been pulling every string, throughout the entire series!  Branlaven was manufacturing Rush under his orders. Chris Sparrow was bitten and infected under his orders. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d even had some dealings with dear old Mr. Logan. The Count has been orchestrating everything to serve his own purposes in a way that puts Byron’s machinations completely to shame. Why was he playing this long game? He’s trying to tear open an interdimensional rift so that Leviathan can enter the world and wreak havoc, and he’s going to use Chris Sparrow’s blood to do it. That’s what the machine is for. It opens a rift.  Dracula is serving Leviathan. Gyah!  For the last three episodes, we’ve been led to believe that he is Season 2’s Big Baddie, but then, with just a minute left on the clock, we find out that he’s actually working for the biggest Big Bad of them all…

Then, just when the plot had progressed from ”great” to “skull-shatteringly epic”, that blasted theme music began to play and the credits started up! It was a cliffhanger! I hate cliffhangers! They drive me out of my mind! Part of me is hoping that there’ll be another episode between this one and the Christmas Special, because this is a cruel, cruel way to end the season. Heartless, I tell you. It’s a violation of my Constitutional rights, the ones that say cruel and unusual punishment is a no-no.

Sigh. Well, if there’s anything that listening to audio drama has taught me, it’s how to wait patiently. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

So, despite (and partially because of)  the fact that the cliffhanger ending made me want to tear apart my desk with my teeth, and because of the yummy plot-twistiness and wonderful continuity, I hereby deem this episode one of the best yet. Season 2 itself was beyond brilliant, and everyone associated with this show should go give themselves a giant hug from me, since everyone is so spread out and my arms aren’t that big. This episode reminded me of why I cyber-stalk the DP website, and why I rant and rave and theorize and squee over this show. I can’t wait for Christmas. I can’t wait for Season 3.

Bring it on.

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Download or stream When the Storm Breaks by clicking on this little interdimensional portal of my own making. Don’t worry, you won’t summon Leviathan. Just a boatload of epic. CLICK ME!

Oh, and you can find the equally brilliant Leviathan Chronicles at www.leviathanchronicles.com.

Well, DP’s Doctor Who: The Dreamers, Part 2 was also released last night, so expect a review of that as soon as my stupid computer lets me download it! 

Batman: No-Man’s Land Has RETURNED!

Posted in Darker Projects with tags , on November 4, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

We seem to be living in a time of reboots and comebacks…for example, words cannot describe how excited I am to watch the ‘V’ reboot. I am even more speechlessly overjoyed over the comeback of Batman: No Man’s Land.  Yes, that’s right; Laura Post’s adaptation of the novel of the same name has returned after a nine-month hiatus with a brand-new installment.

I did a review on the entire series earlier (a lot earlier) but let me re-cap anyway: No Man’s Land, based on the book by the same name by Greg Rucka, tells the story of a Gotham City devestated by natural disasters and disease, cut off from the rest of the world, and worst of all…abandoned by Batman. The events following the beginning of what comes to be called ‘No Man’s Land’ are faithfully chronicled by The Oricle, aka Barbra Gordon, aka the former Batgirl, who was crippled by the Joker and now relies on a trusty network of spies to get her information. The baddies are out of Arkham Asylum and have divided up the city, and whatever’s left has been claimed by various gangs. Gotham has never been more in need of Batman, but he’s nowhere to be seen.

Episode 3 picks up 90 days after NML went into effect. The former officers of the GCPD, led by Commissioner Gordon, are reduced to the level of the street gangsters who have claimed various parts of the city. They are kept bust defending what territory they have and trying to stay alive, but after Gordon begins planning to take back Old Gotham, the ‘Blue Boys’ plot to spark a war between two rival gangs in the hopes that their enemies will wipe eachother out, thus making the takeover much smoother.  On top of all this, a new tag has been spotted graffitied onto several buildings. It isn’t just any gang sign, however: it’s in the shape of a bat. While the former officers wonder hopefully whether this means Batman has come back, Gordon becomes extremely angry. He’s harboring a grudge against Batman for abandoning them in the first place. Across the city, a pair of looters poaching on another gang’s territory are rescued from almost certain death after they’re caught red-handed, and their rescuer is, at first glance, Batman. The theives realize their mistake when one notices that ‘Batman’ is actually ‘Batgirl’, and that the Dark Knight hasn’t returned to Gotham after all.

Since I read the book over the summer before listining to the other episodes of No Man’s Land, I can’t help making comparisons between the two while I’m listening. It’s pretty easy to do, since this is a very truthful adaptation. That alone moves it up very high on the Ladder of Epic. Really, the only thing I don’t like about this series is that the episodes are very, very short… one clocks in at under 10 minutes, and other than the introductory episode, average length seems to be about 11-12 minutes. It makes me sad inside, since as soon as I start getting into the story, it goes to credits. Still, all things considered, No Man’s Land  meets all of the requirements on my List: True to source material? Check. Brilliant cast? Check. Shiny Music? Check. (And there’s one particular piece that plays right before the end of this episode that’s driving me CRAZY, because I recognize it but I don’t know what its FROM!) So, that makes three out of three checks on the List, leaving Batman: No Man’s Land as one of the shows you should be listening… even if it does update sporadically.

Think of it this way, however: If you got a piece of candy every day, would that candy taste as good as it would if you only got one piece every six months? Would you enjoy it as much when you got it? (If you answered yes to these questions, then you probably missed the point entirely.)

Listen to Batman: No Man’s Land Episode 3 by turning on the bat-signal here.

Halloween Review Spectaculathon! DP, BSAP, & MORE!

Posted in 19 Nocturne Boulevard, BrokenSea, Darker Projects with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

 Halloween is my favorite holiday. It has everything: Free candy, the chance to dress up in a strange costume and frighten people,  free candy, 2 episodes of The Byron Chronicles in the same week, free candy, costume parties, free candy… you get the picture.  The other thing I like about the Halloween season that I only truly started noticing this year is the holiday specials, both on TV and in the audio drama world.  Yes, last year I was in paroxysms of glee over the Byron Chronicles special, but I didn’t know how many other similarly brilliant things were out there.

So, I’m going to ignore SyFy’s ’30 Days of Halloween’, and I’m going to somehow manage to ignore Nathan Fillion dressing up as Malcom Reynolds on ‘Castle’, (at least for the moment,) and focus on a few of my favorite things: Halloween, Audio Drama, and some good old-fashioned creepiness.

The Byron Chronicles Halloween Special: Dead Time (DP)

Last year’s TBC Halloween special featured a demonic 2-way plot and some ridiculously quotable bits of dialogue, but I think this episode might top it. While attending a live performance of a staged show called Psychic Detectives, Byron encounters an actual demonic spirit from his past in the midst of all the elaborate fakery.

This episode has it all: Evil creepiness, Byron being badass, and, in the trend of the last few Season 2 episodes, a flashback. It also has Leviathan Chronicles author Christof Laputka making a cameo appearance, which bumps this episode up a couple pegs on the Epic-O-Meter ™. They also reference Stephen King. Oh, speaking of references and of things that make my little bibliophilic heart feel all warm and fuzzy, something was mentioned in this episode that I’ve been waiting to hear ever since I started listening to this show two years ago: “My name is Byron, and no, I don’t recite poetry.” Thank you for that, episode writer Mark D. Wrenchild. I like you a lot.

So, for the Stephen King reference, and the aforementioned line about the other Lord Byron (the one who did write poetry,) ‘Dead Time’ joins the ranks of my favorite episodes. The fact that the story is very well-written and well-acted helps, too.
Now… bring on that Christmas special!

To listen to Dead Time, ring the doorbell here.

Kolchak the Night Stalker — All Saints Archive (BSAP)

I don’t just celebrate Halloween on October 31st; I celebrate it for the entire month leading up to the special night. I’ve even been known to start making my costume as early as September. Even August. The nice, creepy people over at BrokenSea Audio Productions and I are alike in this respect: We know that one day simply isn’t enough to get all of the Halloween out of our systems. BSAP started the celebration on October 1st with a host of Halloween madness, including the introduction of a new miniseries, Kolchak The Night Stalker — All Saints Archive, based on the cult tv series that inspired The X-Files. . Since there’s so much Halloween goodness goin’ on at BSAP, I’m not even going to try to review everything. Instead, I’ll just point you in the right direction and stand back…

To listen to Kolchak — All Saints Archive, get your bag of candy ready and say, “Trick or Treat!”

If you’re in need of more Halloween goodness, try Zombie Cheerleaders 2: Pom-Poms of Death, and/or The Robot With A Human Brain Vs The Insidious Octpoids, which has the greatest title of all time.** The Insidious Octopoids can be found at Brokensea.com, while Zombie Cheerleaders 2 comes to us courtesy of www.grindhouseaudio.com.

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Making Book (19 Nocturne Boulevard)

This is by no means a new release, but I think it deserves mention in this Halloween Review Spectaulathon for two very important reasons: 1) It’s creepy beyond words, and 2) Every single thing I’ve listened to from these people has been brilliant, and it’s about time I started reviewing some of it!

‘Making Book’ tells the story of a woman who steals an artifact of unspeakable power in exchange for money to pay off her brother’s gambling debts. The artifact in question is a mysterious book that, when opened,  releases horrible, murderous creatures that devour whomever they see. At first, the book seems like the perfect way to resolve her brother’s problems, but he soon discovers the dark truth about using the book instead of using common sense.

While listening, I kept expecting that one guy from Stephen Sommer’s first Mummy  movie to jump out and shriek, “NO! You must not read from the book!” Well, he didn’t, but that’s ok because I did it plenty of times myself. I kept alternating between being freaked out and mildly grossed out, and potential listeners should be aware that my tolerance for grossness is very high. This story is very graphic, with plenty of squelchy sound effects.

 To listen to Making Book and other great offerings from 19 Nocturne Boulevard, knock on this door… if you dare. (You’ll have to scroll down a bit…)

Gothik (Darker Projects)

There’s just something about the word ‘Cthulhu’… it’s fun to say, once you actually figure out how to do it. It’s one of those words that just begs to be screeched out in a public place, along with  “KHAAAN!” and “SNAAAKE!” I’ve never actually read any of H.P Lovecraft’s books, something I will soon remedy, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed Darker Projects’ ‘Gothik’ any less.

Again, this isn’t anything new. It’s actually Halloween Special 2007. I think it was maybe supposed to be the first in a series, but nothing came of it. It works very well as a standalone episode, so that’s perfectly fine. It’s one hour of creepiness, HPL references, and noir elements. Oh, and did I mention the cast? No? Probably because it would take me all day. It includes Laura Post, Mark Bruzee, David Ault, Mark Kalita, Fiona Conn, Judah Friese, Elie Hirschman, Eric Busby, Chris Snyder, Shire Smith…and many, many more. It’s worth listening to for the cast alone, although it’s got a perfectly brilliant plot. It also goes well with popcorn.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn: Listen to Gothik by descending into the crypt.

A Few More Halloween Recommendations…

Age of the Zombies (Necropolis Studio Productions): The very creepy high-quality  tale of the zombie apocalypse. I just started this one myself… brilliant. (2009 Parsec Awards finalist!) Click here.

Alive Inside (Darker Projects): A creepy, gory tale of a band of survivors making their way across a zombie-infested United States in search of the cure to the undead virus. (Note: Contains strong language & adult content.) Click here.

Underwood & Flinch (by Mike Bennett): U&F tells the story of a vampire named Underwood and his caretaker, Mr. Flinch. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far, but that’s enough for me to say that it’s a brilliant show and a fresh imagining of a familiar genre. Click here.

Autumn (Darker Projects): Based on the novel by David Moody. For the most part, it’s your basic zombie survival formula, but it’s so well adapted and brilliantly acted that it doesn’t really matter.  Click here. (It’s much better than the recent indie film adaptation…because it stars David Ault and Mark Kalita, to name a few.)

Well, that’s all I’ve got, so I’ll leave you to enjoy this lovely All Hallow’s Eve… The air is cool, the sky is darkening, and fallen leaves rustle in a  sudden breeze… Unless you live in L.A or something, where it’s probably warm and horribly sunny (if you can see the sky) and the leaves don’t die and fall off like they’re supposed to.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from THE OMNIPOTENT BLOG LADY!


The Asterisks!

Lord Byron (George Gordon), was a 18th century English writer and poet. The literary stereotype he created has become known as the ‘Byronic Hero’, a category DP’s Lord Byron definitely falls under.

** The second greatest title of all time belongs to the Dark Matter episode “Zombie Pumpkinheads from Outer Space!” , which I believe is the first Darker Projects Halloween Special…

 

The Byron Chronicles 2×07: Dracula, Part 2 AKA The Beginning of the End

Posted in Darker Projects with tags , on October 25, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

WARNING: SPOILERS AND SOME WILD THEORIES MAY OCCUR PAST THIS POINT…
… although I’ll try to keep both to a minimum.

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The Byron Chronicles Season 2 started a little over a year ago, back in September 2008. I was overjoyed, because after listening to the Season 1 finale, I honestly believed that the show was over and done with. Now that a year has gone by and Season 2 is rapidly approaching its close, I’ve realized something that I never really consciously thought about before: I’ve become very emotionally attached to these characters.

It happens with pretty much all of the shows I follow, on television or otherwise. After over two years of rapt listening and rabid obsessing over The Byron Chronicles and related characters, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this season ends the way I think it’s going to end, I’ll be in tears.  More on that later, though, down in the section marked “wild theories”; I just felt I should bring it up right in the beginning, so that later when I mention being emotionally traumatized while listening to Dracula, Part 2, you’ll understand why.

The episode begins pretty much where Part 1 left off; Chris, Byron and Katharine are more or less prisoners of Demitri and company,  and are locked up in a room waiting, as we are, to find out what’s going to happen next. Since there’s nothing else to do, it’s the perfect time for some backstory, whether Byron likes it or not. At Katherine’s insistence, he reluctantly continues the story of his encounter with Mina Dracula in Bar Harbor, Maine.  

This definitely an episode I would recommend listening to without looking at the cast list first, because even a few nice little shockers will be a bit spoiled. Also, reading this before listening is a great way to accomplish the same thing, but hey; I warned you.

There are a couple characters that are introduced and re-introduced in this episode, and both instances caused my head to spin a little, like a ballerina playing with a top on a merry-go-round.  Clym Angus Dodds joins the cast as the most famous vampire of all time: Count Dracula himself.  I was thinking that since they’d already introduced Mina Harker as Dracula that the Count himself wouldn’t actually be making an appearance. Let’s chalk that up on the list of things I’ve assumed about this season that have ended up being completely wrong, shall we? Another semi-familiar character also pops back up in this episode; Branlaven, that melodramatic, insane, rush-manufacturing sewer-dwelling vampire who made his first appearance way back in Season 1 Episode 3 turns up as one of Dracula’s followers.

The way so many seemingly incidental characters are making surprise reappearances, it makes me wonder who’ll be next: Caduceus? Max the demon? There have been vague rumors that Jo Penny will be coming back in some respect, although I’m not sure how that’ll work since she was killed in the season premiere… but getting killed didn’t stop Katherine from coming back, so we’ll see.

The overall impression I got from this episode was that it was a bit like The Two Towers:  It’s epic in its own right, but we all know that it’s really just building up to the big, shiny fanfare that’s sure to follow. There’s a story to be told, and there’s space for a few surprises and epic moments, but it’s really all leading in to the conclusion. That doesn’t make it any less brilliant, mind you–it’s just the way it felt while listening to it.

Now, this is the point at which the wild theories and my emotional trauma begin. I have spent the second half of the second season convinced that Chris Sparrow is going to die. It seems logical, since according to series creator and writer Eric Busby, Season 3 is going to be much, much darker… and what better way to make Byron turn to the dark side than to kill one of the few people in creation he actually cares about?  This theory was reinforced further for me by the very last line of the episode; as soon as Byron explained why Dracula was coming to kill him, it was like someone lit up a big neon sign which read, “R.I.P CHRIS SPARROW, YOU WILL BE MISSED.” For now, though, we’ll just have to wait and see, but I know I’ll be keeping a box of tissues handy. As I mentioned before, I’m very emotionally attached to these characters.

 So, in short, listening to this episode made me even more excited for the next episode (and the holiday specials, but that’s another story for another time), but it also made me a little sad inside. For once, I’m actually hoping that my theory is completely off the mark…

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Listen to The Byron Chronicles 2×07: Dracula, Part 2 by clicking the following link, or by going through the middlemen known as iTunes and the Zune Marketplace. THIS IS A LINK. CLICK IT.