Review of Superman Lives! AUDIO DRAMA

August 3, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Superman Lives! from TimeWarner AudioBooks

Superman Lives!
Written and directed by Dirk Maggs
Cast: William Hootkins, Lorelei King, Vincent Marzello, Garrick Hagon, Kerry Shale, Eric Myers, Denica Fairman, Liz Ross, Stuart Milligan, Bert Kwouk, Leon Herbert
Publisher: Time Warner AudioBooks
Released: 1994 BBC Enterprises Ltd/2005 Time Warner AudioBooks
ISBN: 1594830738

Synopsis: Daily Planet loves birds Clark Kent and Lois Lane finally get engaged. Lex Luthor dies in a plane crash, and Metropolis is thriving with prosperity and happiness under the infinite protection of Superman.

Or so it seems…

Follow the story of Lex Luthor’s true fate, and the fate of the new woman in his life…Supergirl. Listen to the heart-pounding fight to the death between Superman and a monster called Doomsday. Discover the truth about four new mysterious Superman.

And take a journey into the heart, minds, and unpredictable future of the Man of SteelTM everybody can count on…

…until one day, when he’s gone.

As with Star Wars, this is another of my “gold standard” shows against which other audio dramas are weighed. I mentioned it before in the standards post.

Helmed by the incomparable Dirk Maggs, Superman Lives! (known across The Pond as Superman: Doomsday and Beyond) features a stellar cast who give stunning life to some of the classic characters in the DC pantheon.Link

This is what Kingdom Come should’ve aspired to be.

From the opening funeral procession to the stirring fight to save Coast City at the end, we are treating to a veritible feast for the ears. Within just a few seconds of beginning, you know instantly that you’re in the hands of a master audio drama craftsman. When I first heard this back in the mid-90s, I was hooked right from the start.

I guarantee you will be, too.

The cast is simply fabulous and the acting is top-notch. As Clark Kent and Superman, Stuart Milligan initially evokes Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the character (slightly bumbling Everyman Kent vs. commanding and authoritative Supes) through vocal quality then immediately makes it his own. Lorelei King gives Lois Lane a kind of quiet strength–part Margot Kidder from the original film, part Katherine Hepburn from The African Queen. William Hootkins as Lex Luthor is simply delicious in the role. I got an Alan Rickman-Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves vibe from his performance.

Superman’s titanic fight with Doomsday is the highlight of this production. In my view, at least. Music, sound design, and acting all come together in a breathtaking sequence that still, even after multiple listenings, make me wince, cringe, shudder, and leave me with a lump in my throat. I have to applaud Stuart and Lorelei for their performances in this section.

Bravo.

Overall, fantastic. Simply fantastic.

If you don’t own this yet, I highly suggest you get it now from Amazon or Audible.

Posted by Abner Senires

The SFFaudio Podcast #055

April 19, 2010 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #055 – Jesse and Scott talk to Jack J. Ward of The Sonic Society podcast about audio drama.

Talked about on today’s show:
Electric Vicuna, The Library Of Jack And Shannon, Sonic Gold, Shannon Hilchie, audio drama is the hardest kind of podcasting, Phil Morris: Celestial Lawyer, Robert E. Howard, Conan, The Muse Of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft, The Deadline, The Twilight Zone, Darker Musings, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wavefront, Rod Serling, recording methods, BrokenSea Audio Productions, Decoder Ring Theatre, community theater, modern audio drama, amateur audio drama, Sonic Gold, paid subscription podcasts, Colonial Radio Theatre, Radio Repertory Company Of America, Jim French Productions, AM/FM Theatre, Powder River, Captain Blood, King Solomon’s Mines, adapting public domain stories to audio drama, CPI vs. BrokenSea, adapting modern novels, Voyage by Stephen Baxter, BBC, licensing Zorro, Erle Stanley Gardner, Perry Mason, imagine Ringworld as an audio drama, LibriVox, The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley, Rick Jackson, The Time Traveler Show podcast, Science Fiction Oral History Association, Spaceship Radio podcast, Dimension-X, X-Minus One, OTR Swag Cast, The Radio Memories Network, Sci Fi Friday podcast, Wander Radio interview with Jack Ward, J.C. Hutchins, Commentary: Amateur Audio Drama & What’s Wrong With It, generational differences, Sage RSS for Firefox, Sonic Society in the Summer, Gate, The First Nighter Program, Bill Hollweg, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Howard Hawks, Bringing Up Baby, Audio Drama Review blog, James Snowe, Jerry Stearns, Sound Affects, KFAI, the Audio Drama Talk forums, carpeting the audio drama world, Jerry Robbins, Groucho Marx, audio drama or audio theater, subtract the narrator, Dirk Maggs, Superman: Doomsday and Beyond |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Adventures Of Superman |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Hunter, Kung-Fu Action Theatre, Star Trek and Star Wars audiobooks, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski, serial storytelling, Full Cast Audio, Graphic Audio, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson |READ OUR REVIEW|, Searcher & Stallion, audiobooks with sound effects SUCK, podiobooks.com, Tom Swiftians, J.K. Rowling, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark, the Elmore Leonard school of writing, audio drama vs. audiobooks, Matt Watts, The Gemini Apes by Drik Maggs, Batman: Nightfall, Christopher Lee, An American Werewolf In London |READ OUR REVIEW|, BBC radio drama, The Lord Of The Rings, The Bradbury 13, A Sound Of Thunder by Ray Bradbury, Brigham Young University, A Gun For Dinosaur, CBC radio drama, Nightfall, Vanishing Point, Booster McCrane, P.M. by Paul Ledoux, Alan Maitland (aka Fireside Al, Frontporch Al, Graveside Al), The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth, Paul Gross, H2O, Due South, strong>Psi Factor Chronicles Of The Paranormal, Matt Frewer, Intelligence, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Men With Brooms, The Trojan Horse, Johnny Chase Secret Agent Of Space, Jeffrey Adams, The Adventures Of Apocalypse Al, Cato the Elder.

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC Radio 2: The Adventures of Sexton Blake

July 23, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

BBC Radio 2This just in… The Adventures Of Sexton Blake starts broadcasting on BBC Radio 2 next Friday night (July 31st at 9.15pm U.K. time) for six weeks.

Sexton Blake may not be a super familiar name to everyone today but according to wikipedia and a few fansites that wasn’t always the case. Created in 1893 Blake was an instant hit when he was born and made resident of Baker Street in the very month Sherlock Holmes was “killed off” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Perfectly Normal productions said this new production should also be available on the BBC iPlayer – and we checked, it’s already showing up as a Radio Downloader subscribable show.

Here’s the trailer |MP3|

The Adventures Of Sexton Blake

Sez Weir (who did the sound design and composed the music for the show):

“Whilst [The Adventures Of Sexton Blake is] more fantasy and crime than straight science-fiction, it stars Simon Jones, better known as Arthur Dent from the classic radio series, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Following broadcast, the show will then be available in a much extended form on CD and as a high quality special edition download from our site.”

COOL!

The Adventures Of Sexton Blake The Adventures Of Sexton Blake
Based on the character created by Harry Blyth; Performed by a full cast
6 Parts – Approx. 90 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 2
Broadcast: Fridays @ 21:15-21:30 beginning July 31st 2009
Britain’s iconic and most prolifically chronicled sleuth explodes back into action in a brand new series of thrilling Adventures packed with incident and hilarity! – The name that spells HURTLING ADVENTURE! –
SEXTON BLAKE, (Simon Jones, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) and his plucky assistant TINKER (Wayne Forester, Captain Scarlet), aided by MRS BARDELL (June Whitfield, Absolutely Fabulous) battle Diabolical Masterminds, Beautiful Thieves and Dastardly Assassins. – The name that spells DOOM for VILLAINY! – Nearly four decades after his last public incarnation, Sexton Blake remains an icon, a contemporary of Sherlock Holmes who outlasted his fellow Baker Street Sleuth to become hugely popular through books, films and radio during the 20th Century. In his 100-plus years of existence Blake has been portrayed in every possible way, from jobbing detective to Britain’s Saviour. This new series weaves new, fantastical and very funny tales set in a brightly coloured early 20th century world such as that portrayed in the 1920s Union Jack stories, where villains are inevitably dastardly and it’s a matter of course to resolve a case in a sabre-duelling climax atop an exploding zeppelin. – The name that spells … SEXTON BLAKE!

Cast:
SIMON JONES……Sexton Blake, Adventuring Detective
WAYNE FORESTER……Tinker, his Plucky Assistant
JUNE WHITFIELD……Mrs Bardell, their Doughty Housekeeper
GRAHAM HOADLY……Professor Kew, a Spindly Cackler
LORELEI KING……Miss Elizabeth Mary-Louise Tarabelle Beauchamp
SIMON TREVES……Inspector Coutts Of Scotland Yard
FELICITY DUNCAN……Miss Terry, Window-Leaping Adventuress
SUSAN SHERIDAN……Mrs Hudson, Housekeeper To A Neighbouring Detective
MALCOLM BROWN……Count Ivor Carlac, a Villainous Juggernaut
PHILIP GLASSBOROW……Cyril, A Grim Assassin
OSCAR SHARP……The Frantic Caller
WILLIAM FRANKLYN……The Mysterious Waiter

We got vids too…

I’m really digging this!

[Thanks to Paul Weir and Roy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #031 – NEW RELEASES/AUDIOBOOK: Founding Fathers by Robert Bloch

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #031 – Jesse (that’s me) and Scott (my buddy) are again joined by Rick Jackson of Wonder Audio. We talk about audiobooks, new and newer, a little about radio drama, throw in some politics, some Canada bashing, and then add in two complete short stories. The first short story is read by me (it is only two sentences long) and the other runs about 40 minutes and is performed by a professional narrator. Enjoy it folks!

Talked about on today’s show:
Full Cast Audio, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Hugo Nominees, Young Adult novels, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins |READ OUR REVIEW|, On Basilisk Station by David Weber, Grover Gardner, Shards Of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, Barayar, The Honor Of The Queen, Paul W. Campbell, Honor Of The Clan by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane, Cally’s War, Audible Frontiers, Brilliance Audio, Paperback Digital, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, The Canterbury Tales, The Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas, Black Library Audio, Warhammer 40,000: Heart Of Rage by James Swallow, Warhammer 40,000: Slayer Of The Storm God by Nathan Long, Infinivox, The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction edited by Alan Kaster, Ted Chiang is awesome, Zombie Astronaut posts 5 adaptations of Knock by Frederic Brown, Earthmen Bearing Gifts, Expedition, Arena, Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men On The Moon by Craig Nelson, Penguin Audio, 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11, Digital Apollo by David A. Mindell, MIT Press, Wernher von Braun, I Aim For The Stars (1960), Ascent by Jed Mercurio |READ OUR REVIEW|, Voyage by Stephen Baxter (and adapted by Dirk Maggs to radio drama), Four Sided Triangle by William F. Temple, Ray Bradbury, Damon Knight, William Coon, The Fabulous Clip-Joint by Frederic Brown, The Alcoholics by Jim Thompson, Audible.com/wonderaudio, Rule Golden by Damon Knight, Worlds Of The Imperium by Keith Laumer, Mark Douglas Nelson, This Crowded Earth and Other Stories by Robert Bloch, overpopulation, James Powell, The Vanishing Venusians by Leigh Brackett, noir, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lawrence Kasdan, Body Heat (1981), Wolfbane by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, Plague Of Pythons by Frederik Pohl, Passengers by Robert Silverberg, The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi, Old Man’s War, Zoe’s Tale, The Sagan Diaries, Lord Valentines Castle by Robert Silverberg |READ OUR REVIEW|, Stephan Rudnicki, Greg Margarite, LibriVox.org, Deathworld by Harry Harrison, Philip K. Dick, Andre Norton, William Coon, Amazon Kindle, ebooks, where the great lakes came from, Comics, The Iliad by Homer; Adapted by Roy Thomas, The Punisher: From First To Last by Garth Ennis, The Golden Slave by Poul Anderson, The Lies Of Loch Lamora by Scott Lynch = Lankhmar meets Oliver Twist, Harry Potter, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert, messiahs, clairvoyance, the dangers of charismatic leaders, Dune, Harkonnen government was poor management, BBC versions of the Falco books by Lindsey Davis, Radio Downloader, the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters, The Name Of The Rose (1986), Umberto Eco.

And last, but not least, a complete short story, courtesy of Wonder Audio, by Robert Bloch:

This Crowded Earth and Other Stories by Robert BlochFounding Fathers
By Robert Bloch; Read by William Coon
Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: The SFFaudio Podcast
Podcast: July 20th, 2009
A humorous time travel tale.
First published in Fantastic Universe July 1956.

Get more Robert Bloch read by Willam Coon HERE.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul RADIO DRAMA

September 23, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4 Page for Dirk Gently Radio Drama

Here’s a tasty item culled from next week‘s Radio Times…

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective AgencyDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul
Based on the novel by Douglas Adams; Dramatized by Dirk Maggs; Performed by a full cast
Part 1 of 6 – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Thursday 2nd October @ 23:00-23:30
In Episode 1 Dirk Gently loses a secretary and Odin sells his soul.

Have a listen to the trailer |REALAUDIO|.

[Thanks Roy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency RADIO DRAMA

December 17, 2007 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Radio Drama - Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective AgencyDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
By Douglas Adams; Performed by a full cast
3 CDs – 3 hours [RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: BBC AUDIO
Published: 2007
ISBN: 1405677430
Themes: / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Comedy / Mystery / Physics / Music /

Most people think of the more famous The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy when they think of Douglas Adams, but in some ways I prefer his Dirk Gently series because of its more coherent plot and wide-ranging discussions. Of course it is still mainly a rather absurd (but still clever) comedy with a number of sci-fi/fantasy elements and still finds time to explore such diverse subjects as quantum physics, Coleridge’s poetry, computing and Bach. In fact it is described on the book cover as a “thumping good detective-ghost-horror-whodunnit-time-travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic”.

The story revolves around Richard McDuff who finds himself accused of murdering his boss and seeks help from his old friend Dirk Gently who runs what he calls a “holistic detective” agency. As the investigation unravels events become increasingly strange with ghosts, time travel and an electric monk, but Dirk is convinced of the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things” and is therefore confident of finding the answer.

This drama is directed by the talented Dirk Maggs (who also directed many of the Hitch-Hiker’s radio dramas) and has many well-known British actors. I was a little unsure about the casting of Harry Enfield as Dirk, but he was very good in the part, as was the rest of the cast. For those who are familiar with the novel be warned, there have been a number of changes made, both structurally and in various details – I thought that it was all in keeping with the spirit of the book, but purists may be disappointed. The ending does feel rather rushed and not fully explained (maybe because of time restraints), which may be a bit may be a bit confusing for those who don’t know the story. On the whole though, this is an enjoyable adaptation of a great and much missed author.

Posted by Laura

[editor’s note – This is the first post by our new reviewer Laura, a British expat living in the USA. She comes to us from her Audio Drama Blog, a visit to which will find you returning to again and again, like a moth to a very yummy flame. Moths do like the taste of flames right?]

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