Archive for Episode Review

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!

~ 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

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! 

Gaia’s Voyages, Episode 6 – Episode Review!

Posted in BrokenSea with tags , on November 20, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

Valentines Day has come early, and thank goodness too; I’m not big on Christmas or even Thanksgiving, free food and presents notwithstanding. Of course, Valentines day would be depressing for dateless ‘ol me, if it weren’t for the fact that I get to point at everyone wearing red shirts and snigger about their immanent doom like the blood-crazed Star Trek fangirl I am. Oh, and the chocolate is nice too.

I digress, but only a little, since the most recent episode of Gaia involves love, hormones, and yes, Valentines’ cards with sparkles. More on that last one later. (Not much later, though; bit of a short review this time.)

The episode opens with everything back to relative normal onboard Gaia; no one is injured or dying, but if the tension between characters such as Mycroft and Armarok (or Armarok and everyone, for that matter…) continues, then things won’t remain that way for long. Matters aren’t helped by the fact that everyone seems to want to challenge Mycroft to a duel, and that the variety of different species onboard the sentient vessel have an equally varied methods of flirting, some of which are disturbing while others are just downright gross. On the other hand, things take a turn for the musical when Andre seranedes his lady love… in a Muskateer costume.

Personally, the episode had two highlights for me, apart from the singing: 1) Natty giving everyone Valentine’s cards, including a nice sparkly pink one for the Vengari assassin Armarok, right before she ‘adopts’ him and provides hugs and kisses. 2) The end of the episode, which involves Commander Mycroft preparing for a duel, with a little help… but I’ll leave that bit spoiler-free and let you all enjoy it for yourselves… mmhmm.

Anyway.

Despite the fact that this episode might seem to be simply lighthearted and hilarious, there are several important bits that will be referenced later on in the series…the scene between Natty and Armarok, as adorable as it was, will apparently be very important round about the season finale, and the scene between Desdemona and Undomo explains a bit about the Thylora race. Hooray for girl talk!

And speaking of lots of love and Valentines day and things of that sort, I feel I should point out that David Ault, the talented voice behind characters such as Gaia’s Commander Mycroft Beckert and the one and only Byron,  in addition to waaaay too many other roles for me to mention here, just celebrated his birthday on November 19th. So, happy birthday (again) David!

Well, that’s all I’ve got. Go download the episode and listen to it, since that’s generally what you do with brilliant audio drama. Click this link right here… Or, you know, download from iTunes or the Zune marketplace or from wherever you get your scheduled doses of audio crack!

This review was brought to you by late nights and caffiene. Molto Bene!

Episode Review: The Leviathan Chronicles Chapter 22: City Life

Posted in The Leviathan Chronicles with tags , , , on November 10, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

The Leviathan Chronicles.

It’s a good name, but when I recommend it to friends and random, confused  people I meet on the street, I  refer to it as ‘PURE AUDIO CRACK’ in a voice that sounds almost completely unlike Trailer Voice Guy Don LaFontaine. Why do I do this? Because ‘Leviathan’ is like a highly addictive drug that is free and also comes at more or less regularly scheduled intervals. It’s also a very high-quality drug.

I’m going to stop the drug metaphors now.

The Leviathan Chronicles Chapter 22: City Life continues the tradition of  being at least 2x as epic as the episode before it (even though episodes 20 & 21 are my current favorites ever.) In this episode, Macallan and Evangeline explore Leviathan, meeting and talking with its inhabitants;  most notably, a classical painter and his apprentice (played by Mur Lafferty, writer of the ‘Heaven’ trilogy and a lot of other awesome stuff). Evangeline is forced to cut the trip short, however, once she receives news that a serious security breach has occurred within Leviathan’s main computer, resulting in a virus that could destroy everything, including the pressure shields that make Leviathan habitable. The main suspect? Harlequinn, rogue Immortal, assassin, thief, and Evangeline’s lover. An enraged Evangeline leaves Harlequinn in Bennu’s capable hands for questioning. Oh, and speaking of Bennu–he’s actually evil councilman Kriegerson. Remember him from way back in Episodes 9 & 10? If not, you should go back and re-listen.

This is why I love ‘Leviathan’ so much! Every time I think I know what’s going on and who’s right and wrong, things get changed up. Harlequinn may or may not be the one who planted the virus (a note left inside a globe in Evangeline’s room may or may not indicate this), and he might also be on the Rebellion’s side, Evangeline’s side, or both. Bennu may or may not be plotting against Evangeline, and Sienshun/the Rebellion may or may not be evil. Oh, the ambiguity! It’s wonderfully infuriating. I have a feeling that when the first ‘season’/chunk of episodes ends in the not-too-distant-future, my head will explode.

Also, remember that so-called doomsday device? The one Nathaniel Pratt took the plans for when he ran to the surface? Evangeline calls it a “failsafe device”, and says that they may be able to use it to create a “new Earth”, but she also says that she prays she will “never be forced to use it”. Based on the description of this machine, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think it’s a space ship, but my theories are usually pretty far off the mark, so… it could also be a doomsday device. Or, it could make toast.

 One of the things I enjoyed most about this episode were the guest stars, which included Mur Lafferty, David Ault, and a host of others as the citizens of Leviathan. Speaking of voice actors, I discovered something in this episode that made me feel a little foolish: after two episodes of listening to Evangeline, I suddenly realized that she is voiced by the one and only Laura Post. (DP’s The Byron Chronicles, Star Trek: Lost Frontier, & Batman: No Man’s Land, among others, as well as a myriad of other projects including Metal Gear Solid: Philanthropy.) I had to dig through the ‘Leviathan’ website to find the cast list, but it was worth it. I would have gone crazy otherwise.

So, quick wrap up: Leviathan is awesome; it has a plot that is twisty and wonderful, like a pretzel, or quite possibly a whole bag full of Twizzlers candy.

(I’ve noticed that I tend to compare ‘The Leviathan Chronicles” with food. This is because I really love food, and I really love ‘Leviathan’. I actually think I might love ‘The Leviathan Chronicles’ more, because unlike eating food, listening to ‘The Leviathan Chronicles’ all the time does not result in me needing to buy bigger pants.)

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Listen to The Leviathan Chronicles Episode 22: City Life by clicking here. Or, to get the show on the front of iTunes’ podcast page, download it there! Don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment, too…

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This review was brought to you by the number 22 and the letter L. One, one review, ah ah ah ah…

Yeah. I made a Sesame Street joke.