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.