Although I first encountered science fiction while digging through my father’s bookshelves as a child, he first discovered tales of distant worlds, strange beasts, and unusual scientific “discoveries” through his family’s radio. Before television radio dramas and serials were what family time was all about and science fiction was a popular topic for these radio dramas. Television, of course, eclipsed television in the 1950s and the art of the radio drama (both scifi and otherwise) was all but lost. However, with the coming of the internet, broadband connections and podcasting has brought a return of the “radio” drama and SciFi has gone home again.
The most recent science fiction serialization I’ve discovered on the web is The Leviathan Chronicles. The production values on this podcast are amazing. Different actors (or at least different voices) are used for each character, appropriate sound effects help set the stage perfectly, and the website is both gorgeous and helps set the mood perfectly.
Unfortunately, the core of any entertainment medium is the writing. And this is where The Leviathan Chronicles tends to fall apart. While the acting in the first episode is a bit wooden, it’s the writing itself that I found plodding. The writers feel the need to explain, and re-explain, every little detail, interminably. Science fiction is rarely consumed by idiots, yet the writers seem to think that we have no imaginations or memory. The story told in the first 40 minute episode could easily have been told in 30 minutes or less. Not only would it have been a smaller download, but it would have been more compelling as well. Hopefully the writing tightens up in future episodes.