Welcome to Just Another AIO Blog, a site that is dedicated to the popular radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. We provide news, reviews on the latest episodes, articles, features, and we also are home to Adventures in Connellsville, a unique look at the town next to Odyssey through book form, We also provide a U.S.S. Response page that gets updated every other day. This page provides a response to recent comments on The Soda Shop Message Boards. And just recently, we started a unique Adventures in Odyssey podcast: called JAAIOP, or Just Another AIO Podcast. Feel free to post comments or subscribe to this site by email or with Google Friend Connect. Thank you!

Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Review: For Three Dollars More 10/27/12

     I will be writing Installment 10 today, as well as (finally) releasing the links page. But for now, here's my review of For Three Dollars More...

     Dave of Dave's AIO Blog once said, "I think by the end of this album (Album 56) I'll be quite machined-out. The IS and ROC are best used occasionally, and having around five episodes (three with the IS and two with the ROC) featuring these inventions will probably be too much, especially since recently taking trips in Whit's inventions has become a somewhat rare occurrence in comparison with when these inventions were newer."
      I'm not sure if I completely agree with this statement, or that I completely disagree with it. I just thought I'd start with it. I will say that having the first four episodes in an album be machine-related was not the smartest idea, but AIO still made these episodes interesting enough for me to not be too "machined out" by this fourth episode. I also think this episode exceeded "Great Expectations" (I'm sure Ben Warren would disagree. ;)) and came close to the greatness of "The Perfect Church".
     The episode begins with Matthew and Connie. Matthew has become the standard AIO kid, as Jimmy, Sam Johnson, and Mandy Strausberg were before him. He's appeared in 38 episodes, and while his siblings seem to be fading away, he and Jay are only getting more popular. And I like him. He has a sense of humor not seen in previous Odyssey kids, and his personality is likeable and energetic. He rivals Jay for best kid character, and his sense of humor shined in this episode.
     Barret walks in (with a seaseme seed stuck in his teeth) and explains his moral dilemma. I didn't realize that the Get in the Show! scene would actually be taking place in an episode, and I couldn't help but think of the kids when Barret was talking. And I have to say, some of the kids did it better than him! (And some, not so much...) I couldn't exactly sympathize with Barret's situation, but I was interested.
     Matthew's adventure was overall rather predictable. I knew almost exactly what would happen a couple minutes before it happened. But I suppose the point of his adventure wasn't to be shocking and unpredictable, the point was - wait, what was the point? After all, there was really no need to have two adventures that basically communicated the same thing. Connie's adventure was funnier and more interesting, so I felt they could have removed Matthew's and the episode would have had the same effect. And so, having three adventures came off as a filler, as if AIO didn't know what to do in the first half of the episode, so they concocted two unrealistic yet funny stories. But, considering neither of these adventures taught anything worthwhile, I thought one of them could have been omitted. But, oh well. They were still funny.
     Connie gives Barret the trip of his life! This line = priceless epicness-

     Robber: If only someone had given three more dollars! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!

     I was literally laughing about that for five minutes afterwards! And I love that Brandon Gilberstadt is back! I was just listening to a Jared episode (It's All About Me) last night, and I missed him. And though Matthew doesn't have Jared's humor, it was still great to hear Brandon's voice. He did a great job! And though it seemed to take Barret's older brother Jeremey a scene or two to get into the part, (His first scene seemed boring mostly because of his "Where am I? I'm old!" talking to himself bit.) I thought his performance in Whit's adventure was stellar.
     It's interesting that, during Barret's third and final adventure, AIO would take ROC and turn it into more of a movie. I liked the new format, and, though I don't think it should be used too often, it worked well for this episode. I think Whit's version of the adventure made a valid point about tithing, one that should be taken to heart. I'm noticing AIO is experimenting with new morals and themes, instead of going back to lying and salvation, themes that they've done many times before. I admire this and hope it continues for future albums.
     So overall, this was quite a great episode, with a few flaws. I enjoyed almost all of it, and look forward to more episodes like it. We'll just have to see if the remainder of the album lives up to the first four episodes...

     For Three Dollars More Rating: 7.7/10

     Hope you enjoyed that. Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 22, 2012

AIO News 10/22/12

     Well, I officially have over 100 comments on this blog. I thank all of you for responding to my ramblings. Speaking of ramblings, I'm hoping to write some reviews using that site I told you about. I'll keep you posted on that. Anyway, here's the news...

     Hello, I'm Alex Jefferson, reporting live from the Official Site, where there is a new Official Podcast involving last week's episode, Great Expectations. Also, the three finalists for the Get In the Show! contest have been chosen. I won't give them away, but I'll say I was a bit surprised. The reviews of episodes are also flooding in, with three AIO blogs (JAAIOB, The Voice of Odyssey, The Changing Times) reviewing episodes week by week. Other than that, most unofficial blogs are not churning out the number of posts they usually make. This is surprising since the new season just started. Let's hope we get news from TNT, UAIOB, and BBP soon. Well, that's about it. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... AIO News!
     (P.S. I'm going to start work on a grand article, longer and better than anything I've ever done soon.)
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekly Review: Great Expectations 10/20/12

     Alright. Today I shall be reviewing the episode Great Expectations. I'll be releasing Installment 10 and working on JAAIOP tomorrow, so expect more from this site in the near future. I will also try to get my links page going today. But for now, here's my review...

     Young Whit episodes are always fascinating. Giving a peek into a character's past is something these writers, particularly Nathan Hoobler, do best. And I can let go of my bias for Emily quite quickly to sit down and listen to a truly good episode exploring the past of Whit further.
     The episode begins with Whit and Connie at Whit's End, discussing Whit's list of things that he wanted to do as an adult that he compiled as a child. This was a good opening scene; I really have no thoughts on it. The episode progresses to Emily Jones and her relate-able predicament.
     My first thoughts are: Joanne is back! Simon is back! Jim Custer is back! Following the trend there seems to be in this album, this episode seemed reminiscent of other episodes. And that's a good thing.
     Emily's voice seems different to me. Almost... (dare I say it) less annoying. It seems higher-pitched. There was some discussion on SS (The Soda Shop) on whether or not this episode would show us Emily's true character. However, it did almost the opposite: it made us more confused about her. She is now unsure of what she wants to do. This is unsettling, and it makes me wonder where Emily's character will end up 3 or 4 years from now. Will she go back to solving mysteries and following her father's footsteps, or will she follow a different path? Or will she be dropped altogether by then? We don't know. Emily is quite possibly the most  confusing character AIO has currently. I only hope she will become less confusing as time goes on.
     But I'm ranting. The episode goes along nicely, with appearances by Joanne and Simon. I almost laughed at the scene in J & J Antiques. It was almost pointless to the story. I think AIO just wanted us to hear Joanne's voice, or to clarify she and Jack were leaving. But that's fine with me. I wanted to hear Joanne's voice, even if she had no incredibly significant role in either the episodes she was in.
     Then, Emily gets into the IS to experience, though she doesn't know it when she steps in, Whit's past. I must say, I'm loving the new IS! The sound effect they use to transport the character from place to place is mindblowingly epic! And the doors are a very cool new feature, (pardon my use of the elementary word 'cool') as they allow characters to go places they could have never gone before, making the IS seems more like a time machine than ever.
     I don't have very many thoughts on the young Whit scenes, except: they were pretty good. A couple tiny flaws, though... I'm wondering why the writers are showing us this. It seems as if we really didn't learn anything about Whit that we didn't already know, aside from that he wanted to write for National Geographic and went to a University in California. But these are minor details. I didn't get to see any experiences that Whit had; the whole episode was talking about what he did with his life, while not really showing what he did with his life, only mentioning various things. If that makes any sense.
     But though that may seem like a big problem, it's really very minor. I loved Jim Custer's performance. When he was coming out of the Junior High School, he had a hint to his voice that made him really sound like a 50-year old. He sounded old yet young. And that was brilliant on Mr. Custer's part.
     And at the end of the episode, we have yet another great moral that AIO hasn't exactly covered yet. I actually never really thought about this either. I suppose we all think as children that we will do exactly what we are dreaming of when we are an adult. But the truth is, in most cases, none of us end up doing what we thought we wanted to do. It's interesting to think about, and it's important. So I give an extra star for the great moral.
     In conclusion, (it seems as if that's always the way I wrap up my reviews) this is a good episode, though not flawless. It gives a peek into Whit's past, which is always great, but I don't think it is even close to The Triangle in greatness. But that doesn't mean it isn't good...

     Great Expectations Rating: 7/10

     I hope you enjoyed that. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AIO Article: The Music of AIO 10/18/12

     Having listened to a lot of music in the past couple weeks, I figured I should do an article on the music of AIO...

     In the special episode 500, they (the Odyssey team) did a short documentary on the creation of the Odyssey theme song. Apparently John Campbell, AIO's brilliant composer, stumbled upon those seven signature notes while at the piano one day working hard at composing the Odyssey theme. Since then, those seven notes have been incorporated into every one of Odyssey's theme songs over the years. Let's take a quick look at all five theme songs, shall we?

     #1: Classic Theme: This is the theme most Odyssey fans generalize the series with. It's a grand, loud affair, with Whit talking in the background. This is probably not my all-time favorite, but it's still good, if only because it's the first one. It was used from Albums 1 - 12

     #2: Golden Theme: This is the theme used from Albums 13 - 31. It includes the seven notes familiarized with Odyssey and a preview of the episode. This is quite possibly my favorite theme, though I enjoy them all. It has a nice intro and closing.

     #3: Jansen/Novacom Theme: This is the theme used from Albums 32 - 38? I'm not entirely sure where this theme stopped. This is a nice fast-paced modern theme, but it almost seems too fast-paced, so I'm quite honestly glad Odyssey dropped this and went for something more classic.

      #4: Classic-Modern Theme: I call this the Classic-Modern Theme because it combines elements of the more classic Odyssey theme and the modern one. It is genius on John Campbell's part and was used from Albums 39 - 49. (Album 50 had a different theme song to itself, essentially.)

     #5: Modern Theme: This is the latest theme now, but in 20 years, they'll probably be calling it the 'Classic theme'. It is a nice homage to the original while still sounding incredibly different. It's short and sweet, and I like it, though not as much as the Golden or Classic-Modern. It was used from 51 - I don't know, we'll find out when AIO switches themes.

     Yes, I'm aware that was brief, but I only wanted to give a quick, simple rundown. But naturally, the themes at the beginning have not been the only music Odyssey has ever put out. Let's examine some other musical episodes...

     The Great Wishy Woz: This was really the first episode with real songs, original songs I might add. It gave the classic Kids Radio episode a nice feel, as though you were watching a Broadway rendition of The Wizard of Oz. All of the remixes of the original Oz songs were brilliant and catchy. I sometimes find myself singing "Follow the Big Fat Road" instead of "Follow the Yellow Brick Road". And the performances were all outstanding as well. Aria Curzon has a nice voice, though it was obvious she wasn't a professional singer.

     Odyssey Sings!: This is the golden standard for all Odyssey episodes having to do with music. It's nearly perfect in every way, from the songs themselves to the performances, to Cryin' Bryan Dern's hilarious interruptions. I particularly loved Bart and Harlow's songs. And Eugene's performance at the end was a nice introduction to the Eugene Sings! CD. (Which I still haven't heard...) I only wish I could've heard Connie's song! The "I tripped" line was intriguing...

     A Thankstaking Story: This is another nice little musical episode. Though the songs are not as grand as in The Great Wishy Woz, they are still fun and catchy. I think the song Good News was the best, with some sweet performances by Katie Leigh (who knew she could sing?) and Will Ryan. And Whit Hertford was surprisingly good as well.

     Of course, there's always M'kalister Park, (which I'm listening to as I write this) but that's another article. Anyway, the music in Odyssey is amazing. Enough said.
     Hope you enjoyed the article, and thanks for reading!

Monday, October 15, 2012

AIO News 10/15/12

     Here I am again! And here is the news report...
     Hello, I'm Alex Jefferson, coming at you live from... various - websites. *cough* Anyway, there have been a couple new sites popping up lately. That's why I'm organizing a links page! The first one is The Odyssey Gallery, a brilliant site dedicated to AIO and art. The second one is actually a site that I just created about five minutes ago. It has nothing to do with AIO, but I thought you might like it. Here's the link to it: Ranting and Raving Reviews.
     Well, that's about it. Until next time, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... AIO News!
     Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


     I'm sorry, but I don't have a feature. But that's the only bad news I have...

     I just wanted to make a random post stating that JAAIOP Ep. 1 is finally out, as well as Installment 9. And, well... I'm back. For good. I want to post five times a week at least. So expect more than ever during the next few weeks. I thank all my readers for sticking with me, and I hope you all enjoy the new features.
     Also, my Chain Links page is coming soon!
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

AIO Review: The Perfect Church, Pt. 2 10/13/12

     I'm back! I do hope this blog doesn't turn into something like The Changing Times or The Voice of Odyssey, that pretty much specifies in reviews, but, for now, reviewing Album 56 will be just about all you'll hear from me. But here's my review of The Perfect Church, Pt. 2 anyway...

     After the cliffhanger ending of pt. 1, I was eager to hear this episode. Whoever came up with two-part radio and television episodes was an absolute genius. Not only are these super-sized episodes great for suspense, they can open up a story and take it to new heights. The Perfect Church, Pt. 2 is a perfect example of this. This next installment expanded on the original and illustrated some of the best stories in the New Testament, even if, as Ben Warren said in his excellent review, they were not witnessed by Matthew, but were told secondhandedly.
     However, I feel as if the first five minutes were the worst minutes in the episode. They seemed rushed, as if there were so many stories to tell in the Book of Acts, that the writers decided to jam about three into five minutes of audio. This was probably a bad idea. I'm not saying they should have gone larger and made it a three-parter, but they could have shortened Stephen's speech and expanded on these stories. I didn't particularly love the prison scene for this reason. (Though the voice of the angel sounded pretty cool)
     But the episode picked up after that. I enjoyed the deep discussions that the characters had. The argument between Stephen and Seth was done quite well, and some of the conversations that Matthew had with Rhoda were very interesting, and really illustrated the moral more than any scene in the first episode.
     Speaking of the moral, I was a bit puzzled about what exactly the moral would be in pt. 1. I knew Matthew would see that the church wasn't perfect, but I wasn't sure what Whit would tell him at the end. And I have to say, this is one of those life lessons you don't really think about. But it's true that I do sometimes picture the saints and patriarchs of the Bible as nearly perfect. So I'm glad this episode is out there, as it points out a moral that's not quite as obvious as lying or stealing.
     Anyway, I thought it was interesting that AIO would decide to stone Stephen... again. I honestly think that this episode bared a striking resemblance to St. Paul: The Man From Tarsaus, but I suppose AIO has illustrated many Bible stories twice, so I can forgive that. Besides, the trial was illustrated better here, I thought. Stephen's speech was fascinating and brilliant, but, as I said, it could have been shortened.
     I really, really enjoyed Georgina Dolenz's performance in this episode. I am hoping she can appear in future episodes, and have a feeling she could become a fixture on AIO. I would even say her performance as Rhoda is better than her performance as Sue. She has the perfect voice for the part, and her emotion was well conveyed in every scene she was in. I could genuinely feel scared for Stephen, though I knew of his fate, because of her tone in the scene before the trial.
     But, I said in the first episode that I noticed Matthew didn't play a big role in the episode and that I hoped he would at least do something in pt. 2. Well, I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. Matthew's role was to spectate and learn a lesson, and I suppose that's enough, though I do wish he could have gotten involved as Sam and Rodney did in St. Paul and Eugene and Connie did in Back to Bethlehem.
     Whit's talk at the end was perfect as usual, and it wrapped the episode up nicely, before hearing the closing music, and those classic 6 notes. Those 6, beautiful notes! Ah... Never mind.
     In conclusion, these are strong, inspirational, classic Biblical AIO episodes. And though I honestly preferred Pt. 1 to pt. 2, both were well-done, though they had a couple minor flaws. But I believe we as critics can forgive minor flaws and just sit back and enjoy an episode.

     The Perfect Church (Pt. 2) Rating: 7/10

     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weekly Review: The Perfect Church Pt. 1 10/6/12

     I never thought I'd take a two week break. Let's just say an alien attacked me and I broke free this morning. Anyway, here is my review of The Perfect Church Pt. 1...

     The Imagination Station has been a staple of the Adventures in Odyssey canon ever since it was first introduced way back in the good ol' days, when AIO was new and the Barcalys were still around. It was used many times after that, taking Odyssey kids (and adults, in Back to Bethlehem and Moses, the Passover) back in time to witness the action-packed stories of the Bible, as well as history.
     However, though the IS was always used infrequently, after The Imagination Station, Revisited, it was never given a second look, except in the rather dreadful Fast As I Can. Until now...

     The Perfect Church is, in many ways, unlike any recent AIO episode. I notice, after listening to 8 of the 12 episodes in Album 56, that Odyssey is really going back to their roots with this album more than any album since... oh, I don't know when, with nostalgic episodes for the fans who have been listening for 10 years or more. The Perfect Church is one of these nostalgic episodes.
     The nostalgia (I love that word!) started in the very first scene. I don't know if anyone agrees with me, but seems as if Whit hasn't been at the counter listening to one child's problems in a long while. But someone might find another recent occurrence.
     I also noted that Matthew's voice had changed a bit, or was at least starting to change. I don't know how this will affect the character, but I hope he can stick around. I sure like that kid.
     I noticed that Eugene replaced Mabel! I wonder what made the Odyssey team decide to do that. Perhaps so he could be the one to state the word definitions, very fitting for his character. I almost missed Mabel, but who knows? She could be back next time.
     At this point, Matthew is meeting Seth and Rhoda. I was expecting a Georgina Dolenz role in this album, as Paul McCusker mentioned that she would have one in a podcast, and I think she did a fine job. Her voice was well-suited to the part, though it could get a bit annoying at times.
     I originally thought Ananias would have a larger role in this episode, but it turned out he was just in two scenes. Perhaps in part 2 he'll be more prominent...
     Anyway, Matthew is navigating the area and finding that this church isn't so perfect. I loved Eugene's dictionary, but I do hope it will be used sparingly. It could become overwhelming in a future adventure if Eugene comes on to give us a definition every couple of minutes. Thankfully, however, Paul McCusker didn't go overboard with this plot device.
     I loved the scene where Steven talks about Pentacost, though I had already heard it from the podcast preview. It was brilliantly done, and the music was terrific during that part. Bravo to John Campbell for this episode! He went above and beyond and composed some truly great music that fit the mood of the story.
     Later in the episode, (bear with me while I skip ahead a bit) Seth has an interesting breakdown of sorts after the blind man is healed. I think it was well-done, and truly showed the magnitude of spreading the gospel. I honestly thought that after that, Seth would stop following Jesus, so what he did next surprised me.
     I actually feel like Matthew had almost no role in this episode. He was a mere spectator, watching everyone else while not really doing anything himself. This irked me, as I believe he could have had a big role in the adventure, as Sam and Rodney did in the Saint Paul episode. But, considering that's essentially my only complaint for this episode, it's pretty minor. And perhaps Matthew will have a larger role in the story in pt. 2.
     I was simply captivated by this church, all the twists and turns of this church. Seth selling his house and giving the money to the poor was unpredictable. And the appearance of Saul was quite exciting at the end. I'm not sure whether they'll show his conversion experience again in Pt. 2, but, considering they already showed it in the Saint Paul episodes, I hope not.
    In conclusion, this episode was a terrific season opener, with great music, great acting, and an interesting moral. I'm eagerly awaiting pt. 2 and have high expectations. I just hope Paul and Marshall don't let me down.

     The Perfect Church Rating: 8/10

     Well, that's it. Until next time, Thanks for reading!