Friday, May 8, 2009

Catching Up on Odyssey

Unless you've been living under a rock the last couple weeks, you've probably already watched the most recent video podcast. It was a real treat to actually see the Odyssey crew in action and hard at work - proof that they've been keeping busy during the current hiatus. And they shared a lot of inside information. All this time I thought they were just lounging around eating fizzy cola, greasly chips, and jello pudding pops.

As we've known for the last month or so, Darien's Rise will be adapted for an epic 9-part radio dramatization. I'm a huge fan of Paul McCusker's work, so it'll be fun to see this Odyssey classic turned into an audio drama - much like Focus' Radio Theatre has already done with books like The Chronicles of Narnia. Like the beloved series by C.S. Lewis, Passages is built around this idea of normal kids visiting an alternate reality. But the similarities don't end there. Many Biblical parallels are drawn throughout the kids' journeys in the land of Marus. What's particularly special about Passages is that it offers a story simple enough for children and yet deep enough to be enjoyed by adults.

Something that hasn't been brought up much is the casting for Passages. Up until the video podcast was released, we didn't know who would be voicing the two main characters, Anna and Kyle. After hearing the short clip from Jonathan Crowe, we now know that these two roles will be filled by Rachel Fox and Shane Baumel. These two actors are better known for playing Kelly and Everett, so it'll be interesting to see if those two characters will be returning in Album 51. I've already made it clear that I wouldn't mind hearing more from Kelly now that she's a Christian, but what I'd really love is to hear episodes with Everett and his father, Leonard. Either way, I'm looking forward to hearing from both Rachel and Shane in Passages.

Most book adaptions will inevitably involve some sort of change to the script. Darien's Rise is no exception, as it appears Whit will be narrating at least part of the drama. With news leaking out that there will be a new Whit, it would definitely make for an interesting surprise if listeners tuned in on September 12 to hear part one of Darien's Rise and were greeted by a new John Avery.

Speaking of surprises, I really enjoyed getting a look inside the renowned Odyssey vault - otherwise known as Focus' audio library. Among the multitude of audio cases neatly arranged on the shelves sat some real gems, such as Bonhoeffer and Father Gilbert. With thousands of individual episodes and radio broadcast archives sitting on those shelves, it's no wonder they're all stored inside a locked room! Watching the guys recreate the scene from A New Hope was priceless, especially Rudy's "call" for C-3PO. Haha.

It was nice of Paul McCusker to invite the Official Podcast hosts to his home - it took me a moment before I realized that. We hadn't heard much about what's going to happen in Album 51 since the March 11th Q&A with the producers. And, sadly, Paul doesn't divulge too more information, other than the fact that the first episode of the March 2010 season is tentatively called The Inspiration Station and will probably be a two-parter.

Does this Inspiration Station have anything to do with the red button Connie pushed at the end of The Best Small Town? Quite possibly. Over at the Town of Odyssey, different theories have been floating around. All we know for sure is that it was part of Whit's new invention that looked like a radio. That immediately makes me think is has something to do with story-telling, although I'm not sure in what way. Does it alter the way Adventures in Odyssey is told? Or would that be breaking the third wall too much?

One thing we know with absolute certainty is that several new families will be introduced, including the Parkers. We also know a little bit about one of the Parker kids, Camilla - she's an eight year old athlete who reminds me of a young woman who helped raise seven kids in Austria (hint: she climbs a tree and scrapes her knee). According to the character description we heard from Carol Rusk, Camilla is also "prone to pranks and trouble." Between her boisterous and tomboy-ish personality, Camilla sounds like a cross between a Curt Stevens and Traci Needlemeyer.

While there's still ten months to go before Album 51 episodes air on the radio, there's only three months left until Passages: Darien's Rise hits the airwaves. But if you're the impatient sort, you can always pre-order your copy of the 9-part drama at or Then let me know your thoughts on the future of Odyssey!

What did you think of the latest video podcast? And which was the best moment?

(a) Jesse high-fiving Whit
(b) Jonathan asking for a sound of a guy being punched in the face
(c) Bob skipping out of Christopher Dehl's studio
(d) The recreation of the garbage compactor scene
(e) Carol Rusk inviting Tom Hanks and George Clooney to a party
(f) Andy Serkis