Is it that hard to think of an explanation?
By - yukaia7
Minnow Beats Whale feeling very attacked right now.
It's not an easy thing to understand. It's......complicated.
Don’t forget about the socks.
"You'll have to find out yourself...." -flips table-
The main characters even call out the vagueness but they don't make the other. characters. any. less. cryptic.
And then they bang in the series finale instead of solving the mystery that would save the universe from lovecraftian horrors.
They should. I loved Tanis. One of the first audio dramas I listened to. I barely made it through last season and couldn't make it through the first episode of this one.
I still love Tanis but it’s just good bedtime stories tbh. I put an episode on and it’s weird and the guy drones on and Kat deus ex’s some shit off the dark web and I’m asleep before you know it.
Which sounds bad but it’s not sleep out of boredom it’s just…idk. Sleep because it’s a random story that kinda just…BSODs my brain. And it’s a good change of pace when I get tired of Sleep with Me (my usual insomnia nuking podcast)
It is aimed at them, I'm pretty sure, yes. I never bothered with Tanis after listening to the first two episodes. It all sounded like a dull copy of TBT tbh.
There are some good albeit shorter audio dramas with a lot of mystery that end well: Video Palace, Larkspur Underground, The Harrowing and The Left and Right Game (and that one is even from the dreaded QCODE!).
Whenever anyone asks for something similar to r/PNWS (which are all written by Terry Miles, including The Black Tapes and Tanis), I always recommend Video Palace. It has a satisfying ending and the characters actually communicate. (Imagine that!)
I’ve hated the ending of everything by QCode, but Blackout starring Rami Malek is reportedly getting a second season, so there’s hope for them yet.
The Left Right Game is based on this: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/7asz8x/has_anyone_heard_of_the_leftright_game_part_1/ and Borrasca is based on this: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/3e2zje/borrasca/
And if you don’t want to read it, there are pretty good narrations (complete ones) on YouTube.
I’d love to check them out, what are some of your favorites?
I feel like when an audio drama gets popular, they’d rather string out the story to maximize revenue. Which is totally understandable, but it often makes the episodes less interesting.
If you're going to go indefinitely, you have to have a format that allows you to do basically anything that you want at any given point, both to prevent burnout and to spice things up for the listener. The Magnus Archives and Night Vale both do an excellent job of slowly building a story while keeping things entertaining.
> The Magnus Archives
Which funny enough, had an ending.
I don't think it is a stretch to say that TMA went "indefinitely" even though it ended. There was a plan, but the episode-to-episode plan was one that ensured a very VERY long series.
Oh very much. Just was laughing at the discussion of how wildly successful podcasts will begin with a mystery story, get successful, and try to cling on as long as possible as the above…
TMA began more SCPish, gained a story but managed to stay pretty episodic and yet still knew to wrap up the story and step off before overstaying it's welcome or as so many do just quitting in the middle.
So, same as any episodic story? *cough*LOST*cough*
Tv shows definitely used to do this, but I feel like they don’t do it as much any more since there’s consistently more appetite for new content.
"Stranger Things", "Game of Thrones", "Twin Peaks: The Return", and several others would disagree
I feel like with Stranger Things, they actually mapped out 5 seasons before the first was even produced. GOT definitely, and see how annoyed people were.
The Walking Dead checking-in
Oof, I forgot about that one
TWD feels like the epitome of this. The show became unbearable to watch.
GOT got cocky and went awry from the books, their fault.
Yeah I agree. I’ve been thinking recently that the “What happened? We’ll never know. But we hope you enjoyed the 50 hours of enigmatic music, half-deciphered messages and eccentric characters saying cryptic things. Byeeeee!” podcast series been done-to-death.
I just want answers! Please let them come back into fashion!
This is precisely why shortform is my favourite. So often, massive length series are just fluffed out, which is why every production needs a producer to go "can you cut this down by like half?".
I made this meme in reference to various audio dramas. I'm not going to name which ones, but this has happened various times to me. I love the mystery of it all but what's the point of listening to a long story if there is no explanation? Anyone can think of strange and mysterious things and then say "we will never know at" the end. It makes you feel like you wasted your time, especially when there was a lot of filler or boring parts. It frustrates me every time ( BTW this is not aimed at Tanis, I couldn't finish it because it kept dragging itself out and I have never listened to The Black Tapes so it's not aimed at that one either)
You say it’s not aimed at Terry Miles but you legit just lobbed a grenade in his back yard. Lmao.
I'm okay with not having an answer for everything at the end, but you need to answer *enough* in the middle. Four seasons into Tanis I literally don't know anyone's agendas, what any of the stakes are, I can't recall any revelation that had a *clear* impact on the plot or characters...
There's only so long that vibe can carry a narrative.
This is why I only fuck with the BBC Lovecraft audio dramas or playthroughs of an RPG. The people behind the BBC are top tier professionals (and also funding) and a lot of DMs I've listened to and even played with at the table have crafted better stories than what I've heard on *most shows*.
Where does one get access to the BBC audio dramas? I assume I'm not lucky enough for them to be on Spotify. If you enjoy Lovecraft stuff and stuff that ends properly you'd probably like The Magnus Archives. Fantastic Horror, ends well after a full story.
Check out BBC Sounds. Quite a few of them are on Spotify.
Thank you, I'll check them out.
Here is the rss for the Lovecraft stories - https://podcasts.files.bbci.co.uk/p06spb8w.rss
And here's aaaaall the BBC audiodrama podcasts - https://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/category/drama
The Lovecraft Investigations podcast is on Spotify.
>Where does one get access to the BBC audio dramas?
I subscribe in Apple Podcasts.
They all have high production values and excellent performances, but I personally hated the ending of The Harrowing starring *Downton Abbey*’s Joanne Froggatt: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-harrowing/id1518315074
It was as disappointing as anything by QCode.
The Lovecraft Investigations is available as an RSS feed. I got it via Podcast Addict. No way I'm going to use Spotify and their shitty app instead of a proper podcatcher.
One of my favorite stories ever is still "the suffering game" arc in TAZ Balance. Also some of my favorite music, Griffin always kills it with the music.
Would you mind recommending some RPG play throughs? I’ve played my share of RPG games back in the day and I’m intrigued!
That's tough. There are so many damn shows. It's easy for folks to get on zoom, play, and record. Also, it's hard to know what your game of choice is, play style, and if that's reflected in the show. So I'll only mention the shows I'm listening to currently
DungeonsDeepRPG - Call of Cthulhu
Demipia - D&D. Only 1.5 seasons as it was disbanded halfway through the 2nd.
Chimera Cast - Dungeon World which is a PBtA stripped down version of D&D
Thanks! Both D&D and Cthulhu are right up my valley
My favorite is Critical Role, it's not for everyone but the stories are amazing, characters are complex and it's made me laugh and cry. There's tons of content and I usually recommend that new people start with Campaign Two as production is better
You might like Encounter Party. It's on my list to listen to but everyone I've recommended it to has enjoyed it.
You should check out the Magnus archives, they did a good job at avoiding this.
If it worked for Lost...
Idk.. Lost vanished as fast as game of thrones for a reason.
it's this exact phenomena that makes me glad the magnus archives exists (it's a problem with television too, and long-running comics. just have a complete story!)
Yeah. Magnus could very easily have been the worst offender of this trope, but nope! Every single thing ultimately loops its way back into the main plot and has a satisfying explanation. *Every single thing.* It’s genuinely very impressive.
>!Well, except for that bag of teeth in like episode 4. But 199 out of 200 ain’t bad!!<
So true! I loved the magnus archives!
That's so true. We know they drag out the story so that they can play more ads, and we sit through it all and listen to it because we really want to here the explanation for it all and after enduring it and having patience with it they don't even give us the explanation that we were patiently waiting for
["Small Town Horror" Intensifies]
Small town horror had all it's questions answered though.
But it was sooooo shitty and contrived
How so? It gave real world and plausible answers to everything
It's fine of there are seasons to binge, but listening weekly is a drag.
I agree! Even with my absolutely favorite podcasts (old gods of Appalachia at the moment which I even support on patreon) I always wait for a season to conclude before listening. Otherwise I forget what was going on before the next episode drops :)
Explanations ruin mysteries
This is especially true and tragic in the wake of King Falls AM falling apart, officially and forever, with all the balls still way up in the air.
I love the ending of the black tapes. It's universally loathed and a person example of how not to end a narrative
I feel seen
I think this is a pretty silly way to judge fiction, to be honest. The majority of a story is spent with its characters their stories, the writing, the emotion it creates in an audience. It's at best a little bit detrimental if a story doesn't manage to resolve some plot, but it's not that important.
Someone else brought up LOST and it's a great example of this. It's a phenomenal show because it has probably created what are the most fully realised characters in a TV show to date. Nobody but overly online people actually cared about the messy, convoluted plot that never went anywhere and basically existed to keep the show running.
People nowadays treat fiction the way they treat reading Wikipedia, if it doesn't give them definite answers to factual questions they're upset. You're supposed to engage with fiction actively, if it doesn't give you some answer, imagine your own.
Agree to disagree, I feel that the ending of a show is paramount. As an example i really enjoyed the 1st 2 episodes of the dracula miniseries, but the final 3rd episode made me hate the whole show. Plenty of people re watched game of thrones every year and haven't touched the show since it finished. Granted everything doesn't need to be textbook told to you, but it should be satisfying.
I'm OK with horror stories that don't spoon feed me the explanation, provided:
1. There is a satisfying thematic or emotional climax for the characters
2. There is an explanation - or a reason - behind the strange happenings, even if the characters never learn it.
(By this i mean there has to be a cohesive and coherent underlying logic to everything).
3. The audience has enough of the pieces that we can put together an approximation of the explanation with a little work.
Like: The VVitch has two readings: Satan is a real and malevolent force tormenting this family, or, everyone has ergot poisoning from eating bad corn and are falling into dysfunction through a combination of hallucinations and religiosity. The film never has a character look directly at the camera and say "yup the goat is Actual Baphomet" or a character take a rotten husk of corn in their hand and eat it out of desperation saying "i know this is rotten but its this or starvation." It trusts us to connect the dots from whats shown.
I hate hate hate it when horror spoon feeds us the explanation. I've seen movies. I know how drama works. You don't have to tell me that Jason hates sexy teenagers because they let him drown as a child. You don't have to tell me that The Ghost hates the living for disturbing their rest. I'm not a child.
This is so painfully accurate...
I feel this
It's true but this goes for many shows. The problem isn't so much that the writers didn't plan properly. It's more that they don't have the balls to go full nerd in the end but instead opt for something broad and lame that everybody will understand - which doesn't really live up to the expectations. Obviously.
it is this *exact* reason i recommend babylon 5 to pretty much everyone. there was a show that *planned ahead* (and gave you answers!).
I don't think many writers (at least with TV) make the call on how long a show goes on.
Sure but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't plan properly where they story can go and what they do with it when they are actually there.
I do think writers end up trapping themselves because it’s easier to come up with a series of mysterious or spooky or supernatural or whatever ideas than it is to create a solid underlying structure to explain them. I see this all the time in shows and think “how are they going to write themselves out of that corner?” And then they can’t.
I do some creative writing myself and I’ve definitely stared this problem in the face.
Me too. But the lesson is: Get better at doing it. If we wanna boil it down we can say that this isn't even a thing with genres but the problem many writers face - I'd even say most! - who can't write finales or endings.
It's all possible if you give a damn about consequences. That's what made GoT so great for most seasons. Another good example is Black Sails. And in audiodrama of course Wolf 359 which also ran long.
Totally agree. Similar rant is when writers could solve plot holes with a couple of sentences of exposition and don’t. However, especially with tv series, I assume some if this is due to tight deadlines, “client” changes and additions, editing requirements, and group work sometimes resulting in inconsistent results.
Yeah I do think it's the group. You need a good overseer for the project. True Detective or Wolf 359 are great because they are out of the hand of one single person or at least one single person has the creative control in the end.
Yeah I do think that is one of the reasons podcasts are turning out to be such an amazing fiction art form. There’s a way lower investment to enter so you get lots of new talent, and they can be done pretty much solo or close to solo so you can see one person’s vision. Sometimes that vision is really lacking, but there is lots of great work out there. I’m loving it as a listener.
Especially for horror! I am big fan of horror films and books but I think audio is the superior format for this.
I think that one of the problems is that the enjoyable part of a mystery is wondering about the mystery, so it is tempting to write a story where you, the author, are wondering about the mystery as well. It makes for an enjoyable writing experience, but you can't do it if you want to lead the listener somewhere. You have to eventually know what is going on.
If you came here to rag on PNWS, might I suggest my show, [WOE.BEGONE?](https://anchor.fm/woebegone) I made it because I wanted to make something that was like Rabbits but that had answers and used those answers to generate more questions. It's about a guy who discovers a mysterious and violent online game. What begins as a faux-journalist's exploration of an Alternate Reality Game becomes a quest to uncover what technology makes the game possible.
Taking shots at the whole audio drama wave