Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Podcast Zone

Podcasting. It's the 21st century's answer to talk radio, only you aren't limited to sports, news, or advice for the lovelorn. For every topic, even the most specific of interests, there's undoubtedly a podcast only a Google search and a couple of mouse clicks away. Happily, The Twilight Zone is well represented in this arena. A quick search on iTunes reveals no less than five distinct offerings:

Tom Elliot's The Twilight Zone Podcast, originating from the UK, is a rather sober, quite intelligent episode-by-episode analysis. Half-lecture and half-fireside chat, it's probably the most scholarly of the podcasts I've sampled. After a prolific launch in May of 2012, Elliot has unfortunately slowed down considerably: he's only released three episodes so far in 2013, and he hasn't even finished season one yet. Still, there's a lot to enjoy here, and he certainly tops the bunch when it comes to prestige (his most recent installment found him interviewing Rod Serling's daughter Anne, so color me impressed as hell).

The oldest TZ podcast out there, Sharon Hawkins' Twilight Zone Club, launched in 2007. Sadly, it folded after a scant four episodes, so I'm not going to bother with it.

TJ's Twilight Zone, despite the logo, has nothing whatsoever to do with TZ, so don't waste your time.

The Twilight Highlight Zone, the newest offering on the block, is an interesting animal. Jeff Cork and Ben Hanson discuss five episodes per half-hour installment, which has allowed them to finish season one in two short months. Their enthusiasm is refreshing; however, the superficial, cursory nature of their program is frustrating to say the least. There's no time for any meaningful analysis, so really, what's the point?

Talking Twilight Zone is a fairly informal group discussion format, webcast live every two weeks, which debuted in 2009. They just finished season four's "Death Ship," so they're well on their way to completing the entire series. While I admire their efforts, I find their program problematic due to the terrible sound quality but, more importantly, I find the podcasters deeply annoying (particularly "Kitty"). 

My personal favorite TZ podcast is The Twilight Pwn, which launched in February of this year and is already 20% through the entire series thanks to its weekly release schedule. Eschewing episodic chronology for listener requests, they discuss each episode from a comedic standpoint. The uninitiated may mistake their efforts for mean-spirited condescension, but there's actually quite a bit of love for the show between the lines (and, in all honesty, there's quite a bit to make fun of throughout the series' run). Further, their tumblr page features various humorous tidbits to augment the 'cast. New episodes surface every Thursday. Do check it out.

I've actually toyed with the idea of launching a TZ podcast of my own but, frankly, it's a crowded field with more or less all the bases covered. Add in the numerous commentary tracks on the DVDs/blu-rays, and there's more than enough audio analysis of the series out there. And damn, I don't think I could take on that kind of commitment (I wouldn't be averse to participating in an existing podcast, though). Hey, if nothing else, you can read this blog out loud and imitate my voice.

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