I finally got around to listening this. I decided that Halloween month was a good excuse to do so. Especially since it’s coming to an end.
This is an audio comic book.
That’s the short version.
It kinda breaks my heart to post the rest of my thoughts. I know Eric Busby is a respected name in modern audio theater. And I’ve been meaning for a long time to listen through this and was ready to love it.
But, I don’t love it.
There’s no denying it’s a cool universe/mythos. (Though, it owes a lot to Doctor Who and Underworld and doesn’t bother to hide it very well.) The sound design is good enough most of the time to take me into that world. The music is a great touch (when usually I’d complain about so much music) and the effects usually get the job done, though many are obviously from free sound effects libraries. But, they’re mixed well so I don’t think about it much. It’s an experience that’s more immersive and atmospheric than most stuff out there.
Much of the casting is disappointing. Strictly amateur hour. Most of the acting is pretty unremarkable – sometimes just bad – but David Ault is at his most dull here. I’ve heard him in a few things and he’s just kinda boring. I often wonder if he’s the only English accent for hire in American low budget audio theater. What he does is reciting lines but not really performing. And that’s even more true in this show than usual. I think it’s supposed to be the character’s flat affect? But that’s not what it sounds like to me.
The character of Byron doesn’t interest me much, either. The writer gives him plenty of dialogue but it’s written rather blandly. Not really any depth or nuance. Though, most of everyone’s dialogue is pretty color-by-numbers and predictable. That doesn’t give him or anyone else much to work with. But, I think the character is written inconsistently. For instance, how much time he spends explaining himself to other characters. Yet so much of the rest of the time, he’s written as someone who wouldn’t bother explaining himself to people. Since these are his chronicles that he himself is writing, the information could have been given to us that way – in the form of narration – and it would be more consistent with the character, I think. (To be clear, descriptive narration is used quite a bit and I applaud that but expository narration is used much less.)
Oh yeah, and Byron seems genuinely unlikable. And that makes me disinterested. He’s not a cool antihero or even intriguingly dark – he’s just kind of an ass hole. His smart-ass demeanor is probably supposed to come across as wit. But, as someone says in 2.10, “Your melancholic enigma routine doesn’t work on me!”
Yeah, me neither.
Even with all that said, though, there’s still a lot to like. It does a lot well. I’ve pretty much listed everything bad about it above. The dislike I felt toward the central character and the actor playing him just can’t be ignored, no matter how much else is done well. But I certainly didn’t hate it. I give it a C- just to barely tip the rating to the negative half of the scale. It was a mostly satisfying way to spend my Halloween month listening but once was enough.
Imagine if the world as you know it… was nothing more than an illusion. What if creatures like elves, dragons, vampire, zombies and werewolves walk amongst you every day… But you never see them. This is the world I walk in. I am called Byron and these are my chronicles.