I had two ideas for an article, but I figured I should use this one first, as the other idea will probably be more in-depth. For some of you readers who have been reading my blog pretty much since its creation, you'll remember I did an article several months ago that showcased the "classics" of AIO from albums 1 - 5. I wanted to do a Modern Classics article, but I hadn't heard all of Album 51 yet, so I held back. But, I heard the rest of Album 51 about a month ago, and so, I shall now write the article...
Most people complain about entertainment at some point in their lives. Specifically, people like to tear down music, movies, and TV that have been made in the past 10 years. I think this is, in most cases, quite biased and unfair. Sure, entertainment might have been better 50 years ago, but why does that have to mean it's awful now? I think there are many great music, movie, and TV alternatives that are being produced now. I believe many elderly folk (Like 40 and up. LOL (that may seem unprofessional, but I had to put it.)) are used to the entertainment back in the "good old days" and simply can't confront the fact that entertainment has changed. It hasn't necessarily changed for the worse, it's just moved on. It's for a new generation now. And I personally find both old movies and new movies great, both old songs and new songs great, and so on. And so, the same is true for radio dramas. Radio dramas like... oh, I dunno - AIO?
That's enough ranting about entertainment, I suppose. For this article, I shall acknowledge the new era of AIO, and put up a lengthy list of episodes that I believe embody it from Albums 51 - 55. Here goes...
The Inspiration Station: Ah, yes. I remember first hearing this episode. I was just 9, and still a relatively new AIO fan. I remember being confused about all the changes; I didn't really understand why the AIO team was doing what they were doing. I was frustrated that there was a new Whit, as I had listened to Paul Herlinger for three years. Also, I had just figured out AIO was producing new episodes, and the ones I had at my library were not the only AIO episodes out there, so to be plunged into an unfamiliar setting with an unfamiliar Whit was a bit perplexing and annoying to me. However, I quickly got into the episode, and soon discovered it was actually pretty good. It's not perfect, but it was a brilliant introduction to post-50 AIO. And for that, I certify it a Modern Classic.
The Jubilee Singers: The illustrious Avery winner is still just as great as it was 2 1/2 years ago. I recently heard the episode for the first time, and I must say it was a refreshing reminder that, in the midst of Emily Jones and all the other atrocious things going on around Odyssey, there was still good old-fashioned historical fun. However, this episode and Sgt. York have a different feel than previous Odyssey historicals. Dave Arnold treats each history episode more like an epic, and I like this approach. Ultimately, you can not simply ignore this choir of Christ, as they're absolutely amazing in nearly every way, and the episode they star in is without a doubt a Modern Classic.
The Owlnapping: Where's The Mystery of the Clock Tower? you may be wondering. I considered putting it on here, but I finally decided it had too many plot holes and cliches to be put on a list of classics. As I said before, Album 52 is the worst AIO album in history, but it includes this little gem called The Owlnapping. The thing I adore about this episode is its ridiculousness. Of course it's ridiculous to rely on an stuffed owl for athletic victory, but that's Marshal Younger, and Odyssey in general, for you. It was rather funny as well, and Adam Wylie's vocal performance was stunning. And so, though I believe this album as a whole is mediocre at best, this episode is really quite grand, and is a definite classic.
The Green Ring Conspiracy: I didn't really want to post this on here, as it would be incredibly predictable, but I really have an obligation too. This is such a great series of episodes, I can't really praise it enough. I have very little flaws with this, as everything from Monty's appearance to the finale was handled almost perfectly. I truthfully don't know what else to say, except this is absolutely a classic.
The Amazing Loser: I probably just love music, and that's why this episode really struck a chord, (pardon the metaphor again) but I really believe it's one of the best of the new era. Barret and Priscilla's classic flirting is something AIO hadn't really fully explored until this episode, the musical trivia was exciting and interesting for both music fans (like me) and people who would prefer to sit on the couch and eat. And Jay topped the whole thing off. So, I truly think this is a Modern Classic.
Childish Things: Penny + Wooton + Jacques Henri + stupid book about body language = BEST EPISODE OF ALBUM 54. Enough said there...
The Labyrinth: Jason is an interesting character. I'm gonna quote PF on this one:
"Jason, Jason, Jason! Every darn person around here (The Soda Shop) is Jason-happy! Jason
is fantastic as an AIO character, but he fails to stand out much as a
fun agent action character. A good children's comic writer or cartoon
making team could've constructed his behavior and character when he's
being "James Bond."
I would like to say that PF is absolutely right when he says a children's comic writer could've constructed his personality as an action-adventure hero. But isn't that exactly the point? Jason's supposed to be cliche and goofy, and it's put in a funny, interesting way. Most 8 - 12 year old listeners of AIO aren't allowed to see James Bond, so Jason is an interesting alternative. And The Labyrinth is truly him at his finest. And so, I award it the highly-coveted "Modern Classic" award.
Mistaken For Good: This is just a nice, nostalgic, relatively slow-paced by AIO standards, touching, and amusing AIO episode that stands out. It's my favorite post-50 episode, as I think it combines some great chemistry and emotions, and is just plain great to listen to. Jay is the highlight of the episode, and with the comic foils of Olivia and Mrs. Kramer, as well as his fascinating relationship with Mrs. Wilson, he is entagled in many things, and Whit Hertford does a stellar job of capturing these complex emotions. And the moral is an interesting one as well. Everything is pitch-perfect and this episode is a certified classic.
Sgt. York: This episode is everything The Jubillee Singers was... and more. Dave Arnold is a very excellent writer. He managed to pull out a diary and a few books on York along with extensive research, and turned it all into a full-blown epic drama, complete with parental warning, great moral, and relateable, fun characters. The sound design was top-notch, as well as the accents. Overall, Sgt. York is a highlight of the post-hiatus era and deserves the last spot on this list.
Well, that's it for now. I want to work on my links page, but I shall be busy this weekend, and won't have access to a computer. So, for now, I hope you enjoyed the article.
Thanks for reading!
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
Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog