Review of Black Jack Justice – Season One

September 11, 2008
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

Aural Noir: Review

Black Jack Justice - Season 1Black Jack Justice – Season One
By Gregg Taylor; Performed by a full cast
12 MP3s or podcast – Approx. 5 Hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Podiobooks.com / Decoder Ring Theatre
Published: September 2006
Themes: / Mystery / Crime / Private Detective / Toronto /

“There was no time to explain the extra sensory properties of a truly eye-popping hangover.”
– from “Justice Incorporated”)

Black Jack Justice is a free podcast audio drama available through Podiobooks.com and Decoder Ring Theatre. Set in post WWII Toronto, it follows the cases of a pair of private detectives who right wrongs and investigate the investigateable. This review of the first season started life as a brief mention in an upcoming Five Free Favourites post. But, as I was re-living the show in my mind, and then, fannishly re-listening to the first season, I realized that it was totally unjust to leave Black Jack Justice – Season One without a full and glowing review. Let me put it simply. This is the greatest mystery audio drama since the Nero Wolfe series that aired on CBC Radio in the 1980s. Just like The Red Panda Adventures, also produced by Decoder Ring Theatre, Black Jack Justice is also written by Gregg Taylor. Like Panda, this show is absolutely top shelf entertainment. Not a single episode will leave you cold – every single one is fast, witty and clever. Black Jack Justice – Season 1 is like a good old fashioned cup of java and a slice of cherry pie and the heroes, Trixie Dixon and Jack Justice, are the greatest detective team since Nick and Nora.

The production of any given episode of Black Jack Justice is both an echo of those old time radio dramas like Richard Diamond, Private Detective and tribute to the superior techniques of modern storytelling. Actors Christopher Mott and Andrea Lyons, playing Jack and Trixie, are letter perfect, firing an endless rat-atat-tat of peppy dialogue that delivers exposition and character with equal enthusiasm. Mott’s Jack is hard and canny, but with a soft center shown only to dames in trouble and lost kittens. Lyons’ Trixie is whip smart sexy, she knows what she wants and she takes it – no ifs ands or gun butts. Guest actors, many familiar from their roles on The Red Panda Adventures, are also uniformly excellent – they typically play characters like cops, heiresses, and mob bosses. Audio production is minimal, with music being the main addition to the mix. Both Jack and Trixie have their own musical themes that play as they narrate their cases. The stories are lean and snappy, quick paced adventures. The show even has extremely subtle breaking of the fourth wall (of the style found in The Pirates of Penzance) – I absolutely love it. If Martin Backnell, the creator of Black Jack Justice weren’t totally fictional, he’d be smiling so wide at this series.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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