The Phenomenon: Quite Phenomenal!
When looking for a good story, I find one trait shared among many of my favorites: Devestation. The utter ruination of civilization as we know it really makes for some interesting story telling. It gives us the hope of redemption, of overcoming near insurmountable odds to come out on top despite little or no hope. Maybe it plays on the knowledge that, for us, it could always get worse. Throw in secret organizations and the evil inherent in the human condition, you get the framework of what could become a classic, despite the genre's exhaustibility.
Hey, alien invasion doesn't hurt either. I give you: The Phenomenon.
Still in its infancy in terms of audio drama, these five episodes (as of the writing of this review) give you just enough world building and exposition that you get very interested from the start, yet not enough to weigh you down and make it seem like a dissertation. I quite honestly could not stop listening as I sat at work in front of my computer, my eyes glazing over while immersing myself in both the devestation of the world and the people caught dead center of it all. Well produced, incredibly well scripted and acted, this audio drama could not hold me any tighter than it did.
On modern earth, the world is assaulted from above. Cell phones and electronic devices are bombarded with the blare of the Emergency Alert System, telling people “DO NOT LOOK OUTSIDE. DO NOT LOOK AT THE SKY. DO NOT MAKE NOISE”. As you'd expect, the first thing we hear is someone opening their window and immediately looking outside. What follows was just graphic enough to disturb me and to excite me. That's not to say I revel in bad things, but it really got me interested from the first 30 seconds.
The Earth is invaded by aliens. Seems standard enough, but the twist is that any eye contact with these beings immediately seals your fate, as your body begins to leak blood until you're nothing but a shriveled husk. No pain. No knowledge. No more you. Within the first day, there is near total annihilation of the human race, save for a few clusters of survivors all across the globe. As the alert spreads, you get hints of what appears to be a contingency plan of sorts. A global collective with just the exact knowledge needed to survive and outlast this unearthly cleansing of the planet. Only time will tell what this group has in store for the survivors, so I encourage you to listen early, because I'm confident this show will only ramp up in quality and story.
As I said, the show is very well produced, with a wide range of voices across the entire spectrum. Some I even feel like I recognize from other audio drama, but that may just be a sign of how much I listen to AD. The story flows very well from perspective to perspective, each “scene” connecting in ways you wouldn't even think of. The actors bring the story to life in a fantastic way. It's definitely some of the best voice acting I've heard in a long while. There are some Vas in shows, you can just hear the script being read. This show truly makes me feel like I'm right there in the bowels of a submarine, deep down in a bunker containing the sum of all knowledge, at the CDC waiting for some sort of extraction. The diversity in cast members shows as well, and that could only add to the brilliance of this show.
If you haven't, please subscribe to this show on your podcast app. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for great acting, a stellar story, and great pacing.