Podcast Review #84: Arwen, Season 1: Regal

Title: Arwen, Season 1, Regal
Author: Timothy Callahan
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 11 March 2007 – 12 May 2007
Located: iTunesPodiobooks
Formats Available: podcast only

Rating: PG 13 for violence and intense space action

I grew up watching Star Trek (TOS) reruns. Yes, I was alive when the original run came out, but just barely. I always enjoyed watching Kirk, McCoy and Spock search out new worlds and had great fun enjoying their adventures. When TNG series began, I had high hopes. And while I enjoyed Picard, the rest of the team did little for me. I especially found Wesley Crusher annoying. (Though now, I find Wil Wheaton quite enjoyable both on Twitter and in his recurring Big Bang Theory cameos.) I can’t say I really ever watched any of the Star Trek series that followed. However, I enjoyed the original series so much that I have to admit that when anything remotely resembling that basic idea comes along in podiobook form, I eventually make time to check it out. (The exception to this is fan fiction. Regardless of how well done FF might be, I’m just not motivated to give it a shot.)

So, why didn’t I check out the Arwen series before? Simply because I had no idea that it falls into the category described above. I do now, and I will be listening to the entire run, and more than likely you’ll see future seasons reviewed here as well.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: When a comet the size of a small moon threatens the remote world of Regal the Earth Alliance assigns the most decorated ship in the fleet, the Arwen, to destroy it. Its Captain, Marjorie Cook, sees this as an opportunity to redeem herself after a tragic mistake in her past causes the death of over 400 of her crew. It seems like an easy mission but, when the Arwen arrives, it finds things are not what they seem. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: The production of the Arwen, Season 1 is a mixed bag. Some of the eps seemed to have had the noise reduction option used a bit heavily, or something along those lines. It was distracting but not terribly so. The thing that struck me most forcibly about the production was the music. Many times, especially at the beginning of the ep, the soundtrack didn’t seem to match the mood of the music. You’d be listening to an intense scene and the music would be some happy little ditty. Was quite strange to be honest. Also, the production of the Arwen, Season 1 was about as bare boned in other ways as I’ve heard. The author never introduced the eps, never provided anything at the end of the ep, had no scene change notification, and basically allowed the ep to contain only the story. While I think this is the first story I’ve ever heard told this way, I have to admit, part of me enjoyed it, though I could never tell authors not to even identify themselves in their podcasts.

Grade: C+

Cast: The Arwen is a self read. My Callahan does an adequate job in reading his story. His uses no voices or inflections, but the story carries itself and it progresses at a quick rate. This is one of the few times I can say, I wish the author would have gone the route of a full cast however. This story just seems built for it.

Grade: B+

Story: This story is a straightforward scifi space shootem up. Kind of. In reality, I find the Arwen, season 1 to fall somewhere between Star Trek TOS and TNG. The season contains one story arch and really is a self contained story in and of itself. It is mainly action driven and I find myself not even being able to remember all of the characters names (also possibly from the self read without use of inflection or “voices”). However, that is okay in that the story’s action keeps you interested and progresses at a good rate.

Grade: B+

Verdict: This series probably isn’t for everyone. If you’re not a fan of spaceships (dirty or clean) then you’ll probably want to skip this one (yes, I’m looking at you k). However, if you enjoy a good science fiction space romp where at least a couple of eps have you arming your energy beams and wondering if the shields will hold, give it a listen. I suspect you’ll be glad you did.

Shameless plug: Don’t forget, if you send an audio comment to me at Odin1eye at viewfromvalhalla dot com, I’ll include it in the podcast version of this episode next weekend (or when I receive it). You can also leave voicemail, for this or any other story, at the Valhalla Hotline simply by calling 956-307-ODIN (6346)

Disclosure: I’ve never met Mr. Callahan, but I expect he enjoyed the original Star Trek series as well. That makes him okay in my book.

Comment Pages

There are 3 Comments to "Podcast Review #84: Arwen, Season 1: Regal"

  • Laura says:

    I love these stories. I do have to agree that the characters are somewhat forgettable(except the captain and second officer), but the story is enough. The later books are more like novellas, or even long chapters, often ending abruptly(cliff hanger, I guess). However, I am always delighted to see a new book out and jump on it right away. Long live the Arwen!

    • odin1eye says:

      I was unsure, so I didn’t include it in the review, but I believe you were the one, many many months ago that suggested the Arwen series to me. Wish I had made the time earlier. Thanks for the comment!

  • Hey Odin, thanks for the review! I did a Google search looking for stuff like this so it’s always nice to find one, and to find someone who enjoyed the story.
    About the music, I was a novice when I was doing it, did my best to try and match the mood with the action. I got a little better as the stories went on but after the Third season I just stopped, it was too distracting and, honestly, really hard to do! Don’t think I’ll be adding music like that again.
    I did try to avoid doing voices, if you’ve ever listened to my first Podiobook Ida you’d know why. *GRIN*
    Also, I made the choice not to do any intros or outros, I wanted no distractions and wanted to story to tell itself without me interfering with some babble about some nonsense.
    I was more of a Next Gen person. Star Trek was always one of my favorites but it was hard for me, at that young an age (I was born in 1971) to sit through an episode. But, Next Gen came out just at the right time for me that, and the movies, are what really inspired the Arwen.

    So, once again thanks! I’ll pimp this review on my Facebook page as well as my website.

    -Tim

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