Podcast Review #31: The Red Panda – Season One

Title: The Red Panda – Season One
Author: Gregg Taylor
Genre: Super Hero Crime Fantasy
Released: 15 October 2005 – 10 June 2006
Located: iTunesAuthor’s Site
Formats Available: podcast only at this time
Rating: G for mild old time radio type violence and a good ol’ “Yes boss!” adventure

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.

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. For the purposes of this review, we will be looking at season one of The Red Panda.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: In the desperate days of the Great Depression, one man brought justice to the dark alleys and gas-lit streets of Toronto. Secretly one of the city’s wealthiest men, he lives a dual life as a masked man of mystery. Only his trusty driver, Kit Baxter, who joins him in his quest in the guise of The Flying Squirrel, knows who wears the mask of The Red Panda! (stolen from Podiobooks website, though now I can’t seem to find the page)

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. However, this may be incorrect. Regardless, each episode is a fully produced extravaganza and and auditory masterpiece.

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. Two actors that have to be mentioned though would be the aforementioned Gregg Taylor, who plays the title character of the Red Panda, and his wife, Clarissa Der Nederlanden Taylor in the role of the Flying Squirrel. Both due a superb job and it is one of those voice duo’s that when you find out they are married just makes you more happy for some reason. Their chemistry just clicks.

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. Season one introduces several other recurring characters (including several villains) and really allows you to get to know the two lead characters pretty well.  In this first season, most of the baddies the intrepid duo faces is in the guise of gangster types and supervillains. This is a great show, but the characters have such a chemistry about them that you just can’t get enough.

Verdict: Seriously gang, they just don’t get much better than this. If you have not subscribed yet, and you have ever enjoyed a good story well told, this really should be one you subscribe to. Now.

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.

~ by odin1eye on 31 May, 2010.

6 Responses to “Podcast Review #31: The Red Panda – Season One”

  1. I have been reading comic books for over 40 years, and the Red Panda with the Flying Squirrel is probably my favorite super-hero duo of all time!

    On the surface, the Red Panda is kind of a combination of the Green Hornet, the Shadow, and the Batman – but this blending is just the canvas for a wonderful character. He has the gadgets, and the keen detective skills. His mental powers are just enough to be handy and interesting (kind of hypnosis to a greater degree), but not enough to be able to handle anything. He can be delightfully light hearted at times, but with a dark side that can be scary. It is easy to see that without a partner, his noble obsessions might overcome him.

    The Flying Squirrel is the perfect partner for Panda, opposite in enough ways to be a great complement but similar enough for their shared commitment to fighting crime & protecting the people to be believable. She holds her own in away few sidekicks do; both in her relationship to the Red Panda and in her own superhero skills. While being tough as nails, she brings a smile to her fans with every scene.

    While being patterned after the old radio shows, and being family friendly, the acting performances are much better than those old programs. The acting troupe are definitely not amateurs and handle snappy banter better than anywhere else I’ve seen it done; more natural than “rehearsed”.

    I could go on and on about this show, but instead why don’t you try a few episodes and see if it doesn’t hook you too. 🙂

  2. First off the review is spot on. Decoder Ring Theater has set the bar for modern audio drama. Greg Taylor has done an excellent job writing this series which is now into season 5…I think and Greg has written an excellent over arcing story that ties all of the one off episodes together. Also Season 1 is available on Podiobooks for those who want to listen. So technically it is a podiobook. 😉

  3. It is very difficult to get my husband into the world of podcasting. I have used two of the best online, in my opinion, John Bell’s Bells in the Batfry and this absolutely wonderful Decoder Ring Theater. We fell in love with the Red Panda and his sidekick the cute Flying Squirrel. Four hour trips in the car to see our grandsons were spent in chase of the bad guys. Season 1 and 2 are at Podiobooks but I have also gone to the site to download BlackJack Justice and we have listenen to most of that as well. I agree, if you are in the need of good clean fun with an excellent production, enjoy The Red Panda, from The Decoder Ring Theater.

  4. Excellent suggestion and great review.

  5. Looks like i’ll need to move this one up on my ever expanding list (entirely your fault by the way) of queued material.

    Thanks again and Damn you at the same time.

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