Podcast Review 61: Black Jack Justice – Season Five

Title: Black Jack Justice – Season Five
Author: Gregg Taylor
Genre: Crime Detective Drama
Released: 4 December 2009 – 12 February 2010
Located: Author’s Site
Formats Available: podcast only at this time
Rating: G for mild old time radio type violence

(I wrote this intro 30 reviews ago for Decoder Ring Theatre’s The Red Panda, but it still holds true.) During the spring of 2007 I was desperate to be entertained and had subscribed to a number of Old Time Radio shows. I love the old shows. I’d listened to The Shadow, Gunsmoke, Fort Laramie, The Six Shooter (Jimmy Stewart radio is not to be missed), The Green Hornet and numerous others.

Of course by this time I had also discovered podiofiction and had subscribed to many podiobooks. Still, I was craving a self contained story that also had a greater story arch. I missed that and after a bit of looking on iTunes I discovered Decoder Ring Theatre. (Yup, still true.)

Now, some of you might think I’m stretching my own rules a bit. You may be right, but I think it is very close to the line, and hey, it’s my blog. Decoder Ring is built around two hallmark series. The Red Panda and Blackjack Justice. Each are released in turn in two week intervals with The Red Panda in the spring, Blackjack Justice in the fall and something unique in the summer.

So… today we’re going to be looking at the 5th Season of Black Jack Justice. I am usually a larger fan The Red Panda. I have been since season one. However, season five of raised the bar.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Hard-boiled pulp mystery and adventure comes to life in the days when men were men, women were dames, and everyone looked swell in hats. Join Jack Justice and his long-suffering partner Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective as they navigate murder and mayhem with a gaudy metaphor and a good-natured leer. Each episode is a self-contained story in the style of the classic broadcasts of radio’s golden age. (Stolen from Podiobooks website, that you can only seem to find by using Google.)

Production: Decoder Ring Theatre is very much a professional operation. Mr. Taylor, the writer of all of DRT’s standard stories, I believe is also the director and producer of the eps. For a podcast/radio show that has been going strong for over five years, you can definitely tell that this is some serious producing chops. Remember each ep is a self contained story in the overall story arc of the season.

Grade: A+

Cast: The Red Panda is a full cast audiodrama modeled very obviously after old time radio dramas. The cast members are all top quality professional voice actors and deserve to be recognized for their contributions. Unfortunately, I really don’t have the time to do that here. Instead I am providing a link to the cast page available at the DST wikipedia article.

Grade: A+

Story: As previously mentioned, each episode is a self contained story. There are times when, for one reason or another, this is exactly what I need. There are many recurring peripheral characters that do indeed enhance the series. I especially like Freddy the Finger and Jack gains a new friend near the end of the season that I hope we get to know much better.

Grade: B+

Verdict: Season Five of Black Jack Justice has really catapulted it into one of my favorite shows. If you’re currently not subscribed to the Decoder Ring Theatre feed, you should fix that.

Disclosure: I do follow the @Decoder_Ring on Twitter, but I have never tweeted with them or had any conversation in any other manner. I was not offered anything in recompense for this review.

Comment Pages

There are 7 Comments to "Podcast Review 61: Black Jack Justice – Season Five"

  • I enjoy Decoder Ring Theatre so much that I am a monthly
    supporter. I got hooked on The Red Panda Adventures, but when Black
    Jack Justice came around in the rotation I had to give it a try.
    I’ve enjoyed stories like BJJ before, but it isn’t my usual fare.
    However, Black Jack Justice pleasantly surprised me. I can’t say
    that I like it as much as Red Panda, but there are very few things
    that reach THAT level (plus I am a lifelong comic book geek, so I
    have my biases). Gregg Taylor’s writing and the cast’s acting are
    superb. I can’t help but see the story in my mind’s eye in black
    and white on a silver screen … trails of cigarette smoke in the
    air, a half empty bottle of Scotch in the background, smelling the
    aroma of coffee brewing of questionable quality. Whether you’ve
    listened to other Decoder Ring Theatre productions or not, Black
    Jack Justice gets my unqualified recommendation. Warning:
    Everything from DRT is addictive … and I may be mistaken, but I
    believe the quality may actually be getting better (as much as such
    a thing might be possible).

    • odin1eye says:

      I knew if there was anyone that was a larger fan of drt than me, it was you. I’m sure they appreciate your loyalty as much as this blog does. Thanks for the comment.

  • Interesting — I actually liked Black Jack better than Red
    Panda up until this season, where Red Panda tied it in my
    affections for storytelling. Then again, I’ve been into DRT since
    the original Red Panda silly series, and it took me a while to get
    used to the superhero format. S5 of both was absolutely
    superb–storytelling for both got a serious upgrade (from good to
    great) and the production problem they had in S4 (overuse of
    compression and far too much mouth noise) smoothed themselves out
    beautifully. DRT is some of the best stuff out there. Can’t get
    enough of them myself 🙂 Glad they made it back into your review
    queue! -Dan

    • And when J. Daniel Sawyer speaks of quality in writing and
      production quality, he definitely knows what he’s talking about.
      Dan has excellent tastes and he knows how to produce audio fiction
      with a high quality of writing, casting, and sound production (and
      does so at every opportunity). With JDS’s glowing endorsement, what
      are you waiting for? Go download & listen to all the
      Decoder Ring Theatre goodness you can. You’ll thank yourself, DRT,
      Dan, & Odin! 🙂

  • Every time I see the words “Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective” I
    can’t help but to hear the sing song voice of that intrepid
    gumshoe. It just rolls off the tongue like a well rolled cigarette.
    I am an avid fan of DRT as well. I differ a bit because for some
    reason, I prefer BJJ to the Red Panda (if only by a little bit).
    While Gregg Taylor knows how to write the witty banter like none
    other, I think the interplay between Jack and Trixie carries with
    it a bit more of an edge that Kit and Aggie (August to those who
    don’t know – Spoiler Alert! Sorry about that). Besides, I’ve got a
    soft spot for poor private eyes, barely this side of the soup line,
    scratchin’ out that living we all dream of. Taking their licks,
    sure, we all got to some time, but giving as good as you get. Plus,
    Jack makes one helluva good cup of joe. BJJ has got a little less
    of the cartoon in it. As for the Red Panda, cartoon/comic is what
    it is and it does this supremely well. What I wouldn’t give for a
    set of static shoes and the power to cloud men’s minds. The
    relationships that have been built through that series are as real
    and touching as any you’ll find. More so than a lot of the tripe
    you see or hear today. My girls have gasped, ooohed, and ahhhed,
    throughout. A sheer testament to the quality of both the writing
    and production. Well, either way you slice it, DRT serves it up,
    piping hot and slathered with butter. A feast for the
    ears.

  • The Decoder Ring Theater is what makes our drive to San
    Diego fun! I have loaded other podcasts and books for our 4 hour
    drive to lessen the time, but my husband and I both look forward to
    our laughs at the conversational quips as well as the intrigue of
    each episode. Both Red Panda and BJJ are my husbands favorite
    stories to pass the time with. I save them until we have enough for
    the trip. Just last week, we had my mother and father in our car
    for our drive home, and they wanted to know if I could put the
    shows on cds. They do not have mp3 players. LOL The comments before
    mine all outline what we love about these series. Excellent and
    Thank you Gregg Taylor and all the perfect voice actors that we
    have grown to recognize.

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