Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 2 - Welcome to Night Vale

      "Welcome to Night Vale" is a podcast. A podcast in the form of a regular community announcements in a small desert town. A small desert town where the dog park is under the control of a mysterious group of hooded figures and an ominous glowing cloud is president of the school board. 

    And so the tangential, non-Halloween (not even 100% creepy) entries have begun. Why did it make the cut? Eventually a recurring idea will become obvious, the mixture of terror and humor. Like complimentary colors or notes combining to make a chord or peanut butter and chocolate, its something that just works. "Night Vale" isn't necessarily taking a satirical approach to horror, nor is it black comedy. It's kind of hard to logline. Imagine a town where every eerie apocryphal tale or weird conspiracy theory was actually true, but this fact really had no effect on the day-to-day lives of the residents. All of it just the mundane things the townspeople have grown accustomed to.The threat of attack from a subterranean army no more of an ordeal than the headache of road construction.

     The humor, likewise, is very unique and a bit hard to explain in a few words. "Welcome to Night Vale" is like if Stephen King and Douglas Adams had a kid and the kid went to school in Twin Peaks where Christopher Moore was the English teacher who taught nothing but HP Lovecraft stories. And an ominous glowing cloud was president of the school board.

     The format of the show, a simple report of community events, everything being funneled through and delivered by, almost always, the lone narrator, is ingenious. It's not an overly complicated system with multiple actors hamming it up and portraying the various townspeople in a radio drama-type show. It's just one man distanced from the incidents and simply reporting what's he's been told, lending the show a feeling of believability. Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast comes to mind, if the alien invasion was treated instead as a minor inconvenience at most.

     What's exciting about the premise is that it's one with unlimited possibility. There's no budget constraint to consider, go ahead and write in a five-headed dragon that is running for mayor. There are very little rules to be bound by in the universe, there are angels, ghosts, cultists, floating cats, vanishing and reappearing mountains...the potential story ideas stretch far past the sand wastes and the scrub lands. The show has really caught on in the last couple months and found a passionate fanbase, and I'm very excited to see what the future holds.

Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale at iTunes

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