Tanis, The Black Tapes, Rabbits, and The Last Movie
A guy in Canada named Terry Miles has helped usher in some great new podcasts. Over the last few years he and various associates have created some of the most compulsively listenable podcasts.
Set up in the guise of radio reporting, the hosts of the various shows explore phenomenon that are unusual, supernatural even. The Black Tapes podcast was first, i believe, but shuttered last fall with a fizzle that truly disappointed the fanbase.
Tanis is back for its fourth season and The Last Movie, a six-episode exploration of a film that is akin to that in the movie The Ring, was recently released. Rabbits, which had its initial season is hopefully coming back with another.
The shows have an interesting pace, which made the sudden ending of the Black Tapes all the more surprising. Not sure why they ended the podcast, which, of all of them, seemed to be on track to have the most compelling finale. The Black Tapes was set around a mysterious professor who explored and debunked supernatural phenomenon, all the while covering up his true fascination with the subject.
Tanis' pace remains slow, and though there seems to be an end point in the distant future, the lack of urgency to reach a conclusion, given what the listener knows about Tanis and its origins, is all the more strange. Set around the pacific northwest, as all of these podcasts are, Tanis explores the host and producer's relationship with a strange phenomenon occurring in the woods and the various personalities interested in closing the portal that allows the phenomenon into our world, as well as those who want to open that portal wider.
Rabbits is about an unusual game played by unusual people, with life or death consequences. For me, this is the least interesting of the podcasts.
The exploration of weird phenomenon, and human attempts to conjure supernatural beings is rooted in the real life activities of some people, including L Ron Hubbard and Rasputin. The blending of real life events and fictional storytelling is compelling. But it's beginning to feel like, more and more, there is no endgame. The exploration is the game. And that's fine. But all of it is beginning to feel like Lost. And Lost was great. I loved it. Even the last season. But that's because there was an actual story. These podcasts all have a premise. But the further they go along, the less they seem like stories. Each episode seems designed to advance the narrative as little and as slowly as possible.
So while I still love them and love to listen to them, if for no other reason than I end up googling something that I had no idea was real, or a person who I was familiar with who tried to conjure beings from another realm, I hope that the producer returns to telling a good story. Because soon, I may stop listening.