Posted on August 01, 2006 at 06:40 PM
I liked "End of the Rope". It has great potential but it needs a lot of work. I think the producers can get there easily, though. The show is very close to something great.
First of all, the production values and sound quality is EXCELLENT, including the SFX.
I thought the music was generally dull and sounded too "canned" at times.
The acting was professional but, I thought, uninspired, as Daws Butler would say. The pace is too slow and some of the bits go on too long. There needs to be much more change of pace and dynamics, fast against slow/loud against soft.
All in all, I found the humor pleasant, NPR-ish, genteel which is a little too slow for my tastes and the sketches (the cowboy and duck bits come to mind) were silly fun but seemed pointless.
There is great potential here to create something that adds up to a real story thread throughout, so that the sketches become cumulative. If a listener hears only one sketch, they should be able to get the whole show. Conversely, if a listener is attentive enough to stick it out the entire show ( a rarity these days), they get a gift at the end--a plot tie-up that also helps the show make sense.
The best stuff was the simple women's help spoofs interstitials. Excellent. Make the interstitials longer and the sketches shorter. I thought the interstitials were the most true, real and direct humor on the show. Sketches are really tough to pull off. It is very difficult doing "voice" and "dialect" characters that sound like real people not just caricatures.
I did not get why there was a political commentary at the end of it. It seemed out of place to me. Perhaps it was an attempt at summing up the theme of the sketches, but it just seemed tacked on to me, and more appropriate to a news magazine show.
Generally, it needs a lot more energy, pace, enthusiasm and PUNCH, and some more transitional narration moments that tie it all together better.
Posted on January 07, 2005 at 11:05 AM
Good writing, acting and sound effects add up to an entertaining and though-provoking look at our possible future. Like the best the ideas of such SCI-FI visionaries as Huxley, Wells, and Verne, "H20" creates its own world, a world complete enough to make us wonder if this is our fate.
A bit heavy on narration and with an opening setup that could have been cut in half, the story's potential for preachiness is leavened by a light touch that manifests itself in brief moments of punctuated humor.
The characters are just interesting enough to raise the level of the writing above the "horse opera" style SCI-FI futurism typical of, say, "Star Trek" and even "Star Wars," and its many lesser off-spring. I would like to see even more attention paid to character interaction that extends beyond the advancement of the plot or the occasional joke.
Overall, this is some of the better SCI-FI radio I've heard in a long time.
Posted on December 29, 2004 at 06:20 AM
This one-hour audio journey begins with the sound of a typhoon before the central figure's voice emerges, soft and close to the microphone. Her personal story is soon intermingled with the voice of her mother speaking and later some radio theater storytelling techniques are employed in very small doses and to great effect, with an ethereal Asian voice punctuating several key moments. But always, the story is anchored by the intimate voice of the narrator.
This is a personal journey told in a highly effect and engaging way. It is documentary that is not afraid to stray from the straight-forward.
As one who is trying to learn and practice the Buddhist traditions, I was riveted to this hour. But even the uninitiated will find "The Journey of Lady Buddha" a fascinating one.
Dmae Roberts is always an amazement to me. A documentarian with a true ear for the beauty of aural storytelling is a rare thing.
Posted on December 27, 2004 at 05:06 AM
Fun use of stereo. Vibrant compelling opening. I liked the tone. It was much brighter and humorous than I expected. I enjoyed how it was made to sound like a 1960s grade school film strip. It is so refreshing to hear a serious subject done in less solemn tone. This happily sounded nothing like Ira Glass, which so many shows are trying to copy. I love "This American Life" but every show does not have to have the same tone.
Fun use of old sound (Groucho, etc.), familiar music and electronically altered voice.
I thought the introduction went on a bit too long and the RealAudio clip ran out before the end, in mid-sentence.
But beyond that, I really liked what I heard and hope to be hearing A LOT more from Bill Palladino and "Radio Anyway". I plan on listening to other pieces on their website. This show has national distribution potential, for any station looking for something a bit more imaginative than just talking heads or record-spinning.
Posted on December 04, 2003 at 02:08 PM
Geo Beach is one of public radio's most provocative commentators. In "The Power of One" he not only succeeds in deftly describing the extra quirkiness of Alaskan politics but also taps into the universal theme that even one vote can make a difference. Then, he turns the tables on this cliche and makes you almost wish that wasn't the case. Thought provoking and humorous. A welcome addition to any program, especially as the next Presidential election draws near. - Joe Bev.
P.S. - Geo's piece would work very well in 2008, more so than when first reviewed this. I encourage station to run this election piece.