|Release Frequency:||Bi-weekly (currently between seasons)|
|Average Episode Length:||20 Minutes|
|Backlog Size:||18 full episodes.|
Where the Stars Fell is a “supernatural fantasy surrounding the inexplicably physically immortal Dr. Ed Tucker’s study of the town of Jerusalem, Oregon, where what doesn’t kill you is just another mystery.” For this review I listened to four episodes of the first season.
WtSF seems to be the epitome of a slow burn. With a show description like the one above I’m sure anyone who was active in audio drama over the last few years immediately calls to mind shows like King Falls AM, TAZ: Amnesty, or – going outside of podcasting – Gravity Falls as pop culture touchstones. Putting a dorky character in the PNW and/or Appalachia with supernatural stuff happening in an episodic fashion is the bread and butter of a lot of fantasy writers (eldritch gods love ‘em).
For instance: Ed’s “physical immortality” is brought up in the pilot and functionally discarded for several episodes. It’s a hell of a character hook and Schottelkotte commits to the bit of “don’t show the shark” religiously. Perhaps a little too much in my case. I love a good set of rules and lore to a fantasy scenario and WtSF is incredibly reserved in doling them out. Most of the show’s beginning is dedicated to an Odd Couple-styled sitcom about Ed getting to know Lucy, a reclusive celebrity writer who’s clearly designed from the ground up to facilitate the show’s subtext about abled characters interacting with disabled ones in fiction. The pilot contains a venomous exchange about invisible disabilities when Ed questions Lucy using a cane when she hadn’t several hours prior and she gets the response:
“Perhaps, Dr. Tucker, instead of asking inane questions about why I am suddenly using a clearly well-worn mobility aid, you should instead be wondering when my pain medication wore off, and what implications that holds for my tolerance of you.”
This level of passion for disability rep goes beyond the story itself. WtSF doesn’t just meet the (low) bar of providing transcripts for each episode, it provides them in a font specifically designed to make it readable for those with dyslexia. A thing you’ll hear about once every few years on Twitter that everyone says “we should just use that font everywhere” and then it disappears off the timeline. Props to Caldera Studios for working to spread something this
Being a narrative podcast this section doesn’t necessarily apply as one needs to consume the episodes in order. That said, I can say from my limited experience that the show is consistent in both writing and sound design quality across its first four eps, which is a feat surprisingly few scrappy indie audio dramas can accomplish.
In the interest of honesty I reveal any prior association with the creator(s) of this podcast that could have influenced opinions.
I’m in a couple Slacks that Schottelkotte happens to also be in. They’ve also written freelance pieces for sites I’ve written for in the past, hence the Slacks.
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