Back in 2005, Ben Acker and Ben Blacker wrote the first episodes of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, a variety show inspired by old-time radio serials. Filled with sci-fi and horror genre parodies, their regular live performances quickly turned into a cult hit in Los Angeles, attracting guest appearances from a long, star-studded list of geek-culture actors and comedians.
Tickets to the live shows now sell out months in advance, so it’s just as well that the Thrilling Adventure Hour has been available in podcast format for the past two years. And thanks to the huge number of people now being introduced to modern audio drama by the success of the world’s most popular podcast, Welcome to Night Vale, its fanbase is only going to get bigger.
But while Night Vale may seem like the obvious comparison, the Thrilling Adventure Hour actually has more in common with genre-savvy TV shows like Firefly and The Middleman. The Hour is usually made up of three twenty-minute segments inspired by vintage pulp fiction (think fast-talking Hollywood Noir detectives, classic horror stories, or 1940s superheroes), and is packed solid with funny one-liners, catchphrases, sly pop-culture references and parodies of well-known genre stalwarts like Batman and Flash Gordon.
Aside from the obvious appeal of guest characters voiced by Allison Brie, Misha Collins or Joseph Gordon Levitt, our current topical recommendation would be the episode “Sparks Nevada: Into Darkness,” which features Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Clark Gregg as a gay space cop who helps Busy Phillips give birth to a mysterious child. (Seriously.) [READ MORE]
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