Review of The Red Panda Adventures – Season 3

SFFaudio Review

Superhero Audio Drama - The Red Panda Adventures - Season ThreeThe Red Panda Adventures – Season 3
By Gregg Taylor; Performed by a full cast
12 MP3 Files – Approx. 6 Hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Decoder Ring Theatre
Podcast: September 2007 – May 2008
Themes: / Fantasy / Superheroes / Mystery / Adventure / Magic / Time Travel / Robots /

“None of the other heroes kiss their sidekicks!”

You’d think after thirty-six episodes The Red Panda Adventures would have become formulaic – to have settled into a well-worn style. It sure doesn’t feel that way, RP shows no signs of becoming anything like a mere dry routine. The familiarities are only in the iconic lines of character dialogue that are heard in every episode – bits like: “Kit Baxter, behave yourself!” and “He’ll face justice at the hands of The Red Panda!” If there is a formula, it must be a magic one secretly possessed by Gregg Taylor and the Decoder Ring crew. There’s really no other way to explain how bloody wonderful this show really is.

Plotlines from Season 3 still obviously follow the ‘heroes fight injustice’ thread, but other than that the storytelling is extremely varied. In one show the story is told very heroes-light, with the twin leads barely showing up, in another it’ll be very hero-heavy with barely another actor on the stage. One show will showcase a new villain up to old tricks, another will offer an old villain up to very new tricks. Injustices too run the gamut: from arson, to bootlegging, to racketeering, to pickpocketing, to mysterious and seemingly profitless industrial accidents. Heck, there was even a Christmas show performed entirely in rhymed verse (“Tis The Season!”). Other favorite episodes from Season 3 included the locked room style “A Midwinter’s Murder,” the series of three short adventures chronicled in “Now, The News,”. Scenes too standout, there was a certain scene on Sunnyside beach in “The Rat Lord.” that is utterly classic. And finally, there is the shocking (and I do mean shocking!) season ender – “The Field Trip.”

Voice talent abounds in the Decoder Ring troupe, there’s hardly a performance that isn’t spot on. Although, I should say, there was one actor, who obviously wasn’t very experienced, as he was playing a kid, and obviously was a real kid! But this is an aberration, normally, the child characters are played by female adult actors (as is done on The Simpsons). My favorite returning villain for Season 3 was the Mad Monkey (voiced by Christopher Mott). But this time he’s returned with his own assistant, but just like RP, he can’t seem to wrap his mind around an aggressive female sidekick. New characters like The Red Squirrel (played by Denise Anderson) also charm – I do hope to hear more of her! One thing I’d been missing from the show by listening to the podiobooks collections in the past, was the wonderful commercials. Every episode in the regular Decoder Ring feed has some sort of commercial endorsement. This could be from a website or a company, but often they are just the cutest little skits paid for by family members wishing each other a ‘happy birthday’, or ‘happy anniversary.’ How cool is that?

In the final episode of Season 3, old villains like Professor Von Schlitz are aligning themselves with new enemies like the Third Reich (!) but that isn’t the half of it. See, on the personal front, the blossoming romance between Panda and Squirrel is brought to the fore in the last epsiode. I imagine every longtime listener to the show who’s heard it is just freaked-out to the max about the final scene. Will where the show has now gone ultimately bring the end of the show? We’ll have to wait about two more months to find out.

Happy Canada Day everybody, go celebrate with some RED PANDA!

Posted by Jesse Willis

5 thoughts to “Review of The Red Panda Adventures – Season 3”

  1. There is nothing QUITE like Canada’s Greatest Super Hero. And what better day to crow his achievements (and those of The Decoder Ring Theatre led by the indomitable Gregg Taylor) than on the holiday celebrating this country to the North.
    Cheers! Here’s to the next three seasons and beyond!!!

  2. Oh yeah, it’s good! I am a comic book fan (for over 35 years) and for a series in the radio drama format (kind of Green Hornet with a bit of the Shadow, with the added dynamic of male/female lead characters) – it holds up surprisingly well in comparison with some of the best of the “more sophisticated” modern superhero stories.

    It is intentionally for all ages, but that doesn’t make it childish. When a new episode is available, it is always my favorite podcast of the day (and this is out of well over 70 active podcasts in my podcatching queue).

    The Red Panda is a must listen, it packs more storytelling goodness in it’s ~ half hour episodes than most audio dramas do in longer formats! If you haven’t heard it before, go over to Decoder Ring Theatre or Podiobooks and download away, you won’t regret it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll want to hide behind the sofa – many thanks to Gregg and the gang!

  3. Decoderring Theater is GREAT! I have collected hundreds of hours of old time radio programs, and Gregg Taylor’s RED PANDA and BLACK JACK JUSTICE are among my most favorite shows, even tho they’re not really “old”. The shows are so much fun that I’d expect the cast to pay Gregg for the pleasure of being in them! If you haven’t listened to these shows, you’re missing a sure bet!

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