Saturday, October 14, 2006

Shadowfalls and Claybourne

I've been listening to two pod-dramas over the past few weeks. The first is Shadowfalls from Podshow ; the second Claybourne, from ThePodCastNetwork. I've enjoyed both and over the past few days I've been comparing and contrasting them.

I listen to podcasts while traveling. (I do still listen to the radio in the car, but far less often than I used to. Unlike the radio, I can always find something good on my pod player). I also listen to podcasts in bed - buds in ears, pod-player set to single track. I'll nod-off with something playing in my ears. (I find Radio Clash particularly sleep inducing - sorry Tim). Why mention listening in bed? Because it makes me very sensitive to the one problem with Claybourne. Claybourne is too short; each episode lasts for about five minutes only. When I'm listening in bed, the show ends and I'm still awake enough to want to listen to the next episode. Selecting the next episode wakes me up a bit more so that when it finishes I'm still awake enough to want to hear the next episode. You get the picture. In every other way the show is great; good stories, well interwoven, and high production values. The acting is uniformly good and the characters convincing (well, almost - Thomson's speech patterns don't sound 100% genuine American to me). Overall excellent so far - I'm thirty one episodes in - about a third of the way through.

Shadowfalls shares themes with Claybourne - isolated communities with strange goings on; death and the supernatural. However, Shadowfalls is clearly set in 21st century USA, whereas Claybourne is set in New Zealand in what could be the 1950s if it wasn't for the mobile phones. (But then they used to stay "step off the plane in New Zealand and step back twenty years"). Although I find Shadowfalls over-produced and the plot hard to track with a couple of weeks between episodes - it has been genuinely scary at times. The hairs on my arms have stood on end more than once. Great stuff.

I'll keep listening to both shows. I've great hopes that Shadowfalls will get even better as it matures. Unfortunately I know that the final episode of Claybourne finishes without resolving everything. Maybe mistakenly, I've sneaked a peek at Alan Dubber's "The End Of Claybourne " which tells how the series was never really completed (despite winning an award) and tries to tie up the loose ends.

Shadowfalls and Claybourne - stick them in your pod.


cameronreilly said...

Thanks Roger, appreciate the comparison! As you probably already know, Claybourne was produced for NZ radio in the 90s, hence the 5 minute episodes. I like the idea of longer dramas and will be looking for more this year.

Cameron Reilly
CEO, The Podcast Network
MOBILE: +61400455334
SKYPE: cameronreilly

Dubber said...

Glad you're enjoying Claybourne - and I'll definitely have to check out Shadowfalls on your recommendation.

You're right about Thompson. He's played by Jim McLarty, who is actually Canadian, though we've adopted him as a kiwi. For the purposes of radio drama, his accent is sufficiently American-sounding for most New Zealand ears... but Americans and Canadians will of course pick up the inconsistency immediately.

Even though the show never quite does the full story arc we had in mind - it does complete one of the two major ones - so I hope it's sufficiently satisfying.

Give me a shout when you get to the end and let me know what you thought.

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