I ranted about The Black Tapes podcast in the past. I binged it while on a work trip and enjoyed the way it developed. I was also deeply disappointed with the way it ended. Unfortunately my feelings haven’t mellowed in that regard. Despite my feelings, I decided to give its sister podcast, TANIS, a chance. Turns out I like TANIS even more than I liked the Black Tapes. I might have written about this before but TANIS does a good job of taking weird, real world occurrences and weaving them into its narrative. They touch on just about everything. Nikola Tesla, MK Ultra and even the unexplained feet that randomly wash up on Pacific Northwestern beaches all show up in the podcast. TANIS has just started its fourth season and it is off to a running start. I loved the first two seasons but the third was a little disappointing. I found the narrative seemed to lose its focus. It started to worry me. I was afraid that this podcast might end up suffering from the problem as The Black Tapes. As I mentioned, they draw upon real world mysteries and secrets and while that grounds and makes the podcast more interesting, it also makes it more difficult to resolve. The way season 3 ended made me question whether the creators had the ability to tell a complete story.
I’m not saying I am a good writer, this website is proof of that, and one of the problems I suffer from is ending stories. When I write scenarios for D&D I will write nice scenes and conflicts but I have a problem closing out the game. There will be all kinds of drama and conflict and then nothing. I try to write these horrible, gut wrenching scenes of horror but they always end with, “Ok, it’s dead. Good job.” Between The Black Tapes and my own insecurities, I was starting to worry about TANIS but then the Public Radio Alliance released The Last Movie podcast.
The Last Movie podcast is like a side quest from TANIS. The Last Movie was mentioned during TANIS but not much was made of it. It was just this mythical thing that was brought up but quickly dismissed and forgotten. Turns out, the movie wasn’t as mythical as they thought so the characters go on a quest to find out the truth in a limited 6 episode adventure. It ties into TANIS, mostly because of the characters, but it stands alone. The best thing is how it ends. It offers up closure. Not every question is answered but it doesn’t just leave you hanging. They chose the right questions to answer and which ones to leave open. It has good atmosphere and there are a couple moments that really grab you. I was doing dishes with one earbud in while my daughter was doing homework when something happened and I shouted, “Shut up!” My daughter screamed and told me I wasn’t allowed to listen to that one anymore.
The Last Movie is a good introduction to the Public Radio Alliance’s podcast world. It is fairly short and well produced. The story develops much like other PRA podcasts but the limited 6 episode run isn’t too intimidating. The themes of its creators are apparent and it definitely bears their fingerprints. When I find an artist that I like, I will consume as much as their work as possible. I was binge watching Joss Whedon’s work before binge-watching was a thing. Unfortunately that was before streaming was a thing so I have spent hundreds of dollars on DVDs. Anyway, this is a nice entry that gives subtle nods to their other works and is a great place to start.