Archive for Gaia’s Voyages

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Enterprise and her crew is that he thinks he’s found his long-lost adopted daughter Dalonna after picking up a faint, outdated signal coming from a backwater planet.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 Judah’s memory is outdated, however, and his batteries are running low.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

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!

Gaia’s Voyages Episode 5 Parts 1 & 2 Episode Review! — It’s Heeeeere!

Posted in BrokenSea with tags , on November 2, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

I have a shirt. It’s blue. On it, there are words, and the words say, “Procrastinators Unite! (Tomorrow). I feel as though I should be wearing that shirt right now, because I am a procrastinator of epic proportions. See, the reason this review is a twofer is because…gulp… I never actually reviewed Part 1 when it came out back in the beginning of September.

Well, it all worked out, because now parts 1 and 2 can be united together in one review of shiny goodness and oh, the happiness overwhelms me in great joyful waves of joy. Sigh.  

So, without any more ado, here’s the review of Gaia’s Voyages, Episode 5: Grumbles and Jump Starts, Parts 1 & 2. (To simplify things, I’ll just review episode 5 as a whole, and pretend that it was never split into parts.)

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Let me begin by saying that one of my favorite things about this series is the the charcter Zeet (James Rossi), Gaia’s robot caretaker and devotee. Every time he makes an appearance, I have to pause the show so I can giggle madly. This episode was no exception — poor Zeet suffers a nervous breakdown after his robot staff goes on strike. Robots. On strike. Try to even think about that and keep a straight face. I dare you.

 This episode is called ‘Grumbles and Jump Starts’, and I can tell you straight away that there’s a whole lot of the first and really only one of the second…and that the characters do a little more than just grumble.

It seems like everyone has a bone to pick with someone, and they don’t tend to pick it very quietly or peacfully… and that’s good, because if all the characters decided to sit down and settle their differences over a nice pot of tea, the show wouldn’t be half as good and we’d all get very bored. Some not-so-nice but very shiny examples of lovely conflict are: By-the-books Commander Mycroft Beckert (David Ault) and the Vengari assassin Armarok (Mark Kalita) get into the first of many arguments. Armarok and his new underlings, the Firestorms, have a not-so-nice little confrontation in which leadership is questioned and ass is kicked. This was a very exciting episode, but the best part is that based on the few behind-the-seens peeks I’ve gotten into the future of ‘Gaia’, I can tell you that the actioness and excitement keeps getting better and better. (Notice the fact that I had to invent a new word, ‘actioness’, to describe this and future episodes. I’m quite proud of it.)

I abhor spoilers, and that certainly makes me a hypocrite because I include them in pretty much every review regardles of the fact that I usually put disclaimers at the front. I don’t know why I put those disclaimers there. I don’t read them. Why should I assume that anyone else does? Anyway, I suppose my point is that beyond this point, I will be discussing specific things that happen to a specific character, so if you haven’t listened to either part (although you’ve had plenty of time to listen to the first one, so I won’t apologise there), I suggest you stop reading right about here.

Another of my favorite characters who pretty much makes the show for me (Other than the two obvious ones, that is,) is little Natty. (Played by the talented Natasha Damroth.) One of the things that bothers me about other series and about audio drama in general is the fact that the child characters are very rarely played by actual children. I understand that it can be difficult to find a kid who fits the part, can enunciate, and has the attention span to record lines, but still, it’s kind of annoying to hear people pretending to be small children. This is one of the reasons I don’t like anime much. It is also one of the reasons I like ‘Gaia’ so much. The character Natty is actually voiced by a very talented 7-year-old girl, and she’s another one of those characters whom I usually have to stop the show and giggle over. I started liking this character even more in Episode 5, when she ceased to be an adorable and amusing plot point and became an important and pretty epic main character. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that I love the fact that a 7-year old, albeit a very special 7-year-old, saved the day pretty much on accident while everyone else failed. That makes me happy inside.

There’s another point I wish to make, and I feel odd focusing this entire review on the characters, but wow, do I love Mark Kalita as Armorak. He redefines the term “Creepy Badass”. I’d have to say that all in all, my favorite part about Gaia so far and this episode in general is the characters…and there are a lot of them to choose from. There are so many shiny examples of great writing and acting throuout, especially here in Episode 5. There’s some great talent here, both behind the scenes and in front of them. The only problem is, there are so many characters that it’s hard for me to keep track of them all. A new character will be introduced, and I won’t remember them the next time they start talking. I blame this partially on my poor memory and my tendancy to to do other things while listening to these shows, but for me, at least, the enormous cast somtimes gets tanged up in my head like shoelaces that have been victimized by little knot-tying creatures. That’s my only gripe about Gaia, and it’s small beans compared to the big picture.

Overall, I’m liking each new episode of ‘Gaia’ more than the one that came before… this show is absolutely nothing like what it’s made out to be in the trailer, and it’s heading in entirely strange, new, epic, creepy, and exciting directions.

To listen to Gaia’s Voyages Episode 5: Grumbles and Jump Starts, Parts 1 & 2, click this wonderfully lovely glowing link. –> This one. <– (In case there are any other wonderfully lovely glowing links around.)

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As soon as I manage to get The Robot With A Human Brain vs. The Insidious Octopoids to download properly, I think I might  be doing a quickie review for it later this week. I’m excited. I really am.

Gaia’s Voyages — Initial Series Review

Posted in BrokenSea with tags on September 13, 2009 by Random Frequent-Flyer Dent

Before I begin the review of Gaia’s Voyages from Brokensea Audio Productions, let me make two brief statements:

1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Holy Flying Monkeys, Batman. I can’t BELIEVE some of the people who are reading this blog! It’s crazy. I feel like a  McDonalds worker who suddenly realizes that the person who just ordered a Big Mac is actually the guy who owns the whole company. Some of the people who write these shows, produce them, and act in them actually read this blog. I’m honored, but also terrified.

2. A note to anyone who intends to take college level Psychology: Don’t. I mean, unless you intend on actually going into that field, in which case, go right ahead. Maybe you’ll end up treating me in the future, because this class is going to make me go crazy.

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OK! On to the review!

I’m trying to remember where I heard the trailer for Gaia’s Voyages. I think it was on The Byron Chronicles and The Leviathan Chronicles. Going by the trailer, this show seems a little cheesy. I was a little iffy on the premise itself, which seemed a little, well, one-dimensional. I was wondering, “How far can they carry a show that’s about extraterrestrial wildlife conservation?”

Note to self: Don’t go by the trailer. Never ever.

When I started listening to Gaia’s Voyages, my initial reaction was “Wow, this is funny!” Even though that humor continues well past the first episode, that isn’t all there is to the story. Nor is ‘Gaia’ only about protecting wildlife and ecosystems on distant planets; there’s a sub-plot worthy of The X-Files or Section 31, there’s assassins and conspiracies, dark pasts and darker futures, and friendship and even romance that is found in the most unlikely of places. Also, I’m a big fan of character-driven storylines, and Gaia is no exception.

There are only four episodes out so far. Well, five, because Episode 4 is a two-parter. Still, the amount of depth found in the world Gaia inhabits is phenomenal. The aliens are new aliens, not  races regurgitated out of one of two SciFi shows with the word ‘Star’ in their names. Some follow standard guidelines (for instance, a shapeshifter), but for the most part, the alien races and creatures that have been encountered so far have been original, or at least fresh variations on a familiar theme.

The same goes for the characters in general. In Joss Whedon’s Firefly, the running joke is that the ship herself, Serenity, is the 10th character on the show. In this case, the ship is literally a character. The Zoo Ship Gaia has artificial sentience; emotions, opinions, and a personality. Another great example of one of the series’ 3-dimensional characters is Captain Elizabeth Monroe. When we first encounter her in Episode 1, she’s on a vacation in the Amazon and complaining about insects, impromptu anti-mosquito song included. Then, she flies a space shuttle upside-down. But beneath the surface layer of apparent craziness this character, like the show itself, has hidden depths…and a dark side.

I also like the fact that there’s exposition. (Wow, never thought I’d say that.) Usually, I tend to think that having a narrator is the way to go, as long as it’s a good narrator just providing the details and descriptions that the characters logically couldn’t. (Prime example: The Leviathan Chronicles) In ‘Gaia’, however, there’s enough character exposition to provide a foundation for the series, without getting annoying. It may seem to be laid on a little thick in the first few episodes, but that changes once the show takes off.

Now, we turn to the cast. Wow. Just, wow. I have to admit, before I start listening to a new show, I always check the cast list. Not only is Gaia’s cast list huge, but it features a lot of familiar names: Elaine Barrett (also the show’s creator), David Ault, Mark Kalita, Bruce Busby, Melissa Johnson… and those are just a few of the names that I recognise from Darker Projects and can pull off the top of my head. Like I said, the cast list is immense, and it contains some great talent.

The music… in that area, ‘Gaia’ excells. I’m an amateur musician, I love music, and I always pay attention to the score in movies and podcasts. What makes ‘Gaia’s Voyages’ stand out from the crowd in this aspect is that the music in ‘Gaia’ was composed specifically for ‘Gaia’. Its brilliant, and it can be found right here, if I did the link right. 

Finally, my only semi-complaint with this show is that in the beginning, a few of the aliens’ voices weren’t exactly easy on the ears…but I got used to it. Other than that… I’ve got nothing.

Episode 5 should be coming soon, so keep your eyes open for the latest installment. In the meantime, set aside an hour or so to listen to the first 4 Episodes. I’d recommend downloading them from iTunes/Zune Marketplace, depending on your music player, but click the following link to get teleported to the official website:  Engage Internet Teleport.

I’m very glad I was introduced to this series (and that I was introduced to it at the beginning, so that I could get up to speed quickly). I’m looking forward to following it through this season, and into the next.

Next Up: A review of Pendant Audio’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Vegas’, if I can manage to listen to enough of it for a proper review without my brain exploding.

Also: Please don’t be shy; feel free to leave comments in the comments area below!