LISTENING

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I found a new modern radio drama podcast: The Black Tapes. It is one reporter – Alex Reagan – investigating supernatural happenings that have been collected by Dr. Richard Strand, some dude who collects cases of the supernatural in order to disprove it’s existence. Most of the cases he gets he is able to disprove, but The Black Tapes are all the cases he receives that he has no plausible explanation for. (Also there’s maybe some love thing developing between Alex Reagan and Strand, which is just hilarious to hear play out on the tape.)

It’s all fictional, of course, but takes the format of Serial. In fact, most of the modern radio drama I’ve listened to and enjoyed (The Black Tapes, The Message, Limetown) recreates the Serial format. All of these also include elements of sci-fi / fantasy. I’m curious why that is. Why have I not heard any long-form radio fiction that does not involve some unreal element? (Sorry if you believe in ghosts/demons, I don’t.)

The acting in The Black Tapes is not as good as Limetown, but there are many more episodes of The Black Tapes, so what they lose in quality, they make up for in quantity. It’s enjoyable and if, like me, you’re dying for radio fiction, it hits the spot.

 

WATCHING

The Imposter (Layton, 2012) was expiring from Netflix, so I watched that. The cinematography was beautiful and the narrative was much more thrilling than I thought it would be. Especially since from the beginning you know that this guy impersonates a lost kid, you can’t really use that to build tension. I was thoroughly impressed with how the director found another thread of conflict within the story to drag us viewers along on the edge of our seats. It also helps that the film relies heavily on dramatized scenes. There was practically no verite footage at all, just dramatizations and interview. But it was still compelling and enjoyable.

I also continued binge-watching The Legend of Korra (from the beginning this time). Having already seen the last season, I figured that maybe things wouldn’t be as interesting. For example, there are a couple individuals in the first seasons that I knew would not die or that I knew did horrible things. So you’d think that might ruin it, but it actually is still wicked compelling! This just proves the theory that endings don’t matter as much as the journey. My only dislike after having watched the first two seasons is that at each finale, there’s always this bad thing that happens… I don’t want to give away too much, but I don’t like how it always seems like Korra is defeated and loses something and then VERY QUICKLY (TOO QUICKLY) somehow she ends up defeating the evil and reclaiming whatever she lost in the earlier battle. I would rather see some larger arc of struggle from these battles. I think there’s a little bit of that from season two to season three, and maybe more from season three to season four. But I would appreciate more. I think this deficit could be from the fact it’s a kids show and maybe that’s how they roll (don’t want to make things too horrible for the kiddies) or possibly because the showrunners didn’t know if they’d get another season, so they wanted to make sure things were wrapped up into a nice enough bow after season one that if there was no season two it wouldn’t end horribly.

 

READING

As a lazy human who is binge-watching a TV show, I have not been reading a lot. But I started reading Virginia Woolf‘s Orlando. I watched the movie (Potter, 1992) a while ago, so I thought it would be a good introduction to Woolf’s books. Her prose isn’t quite my style. I like a lot of dialogue, or if not a lot of dialogue, then a lot of first person. But I’m pushing through. I think there’s a certain amount of pages of most books that I just don’t enjoy because I’m getting used to the writing and the plot is developing, so if I can just get past that page number then I will start to enjoy and want to read it all the time (like with Beloved; or maybe Beloved was just such an amazing book, everyone should read it!).

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