The Cambridge Geek


In a parallel universe, most of the planet has been ruined and overtaken by The Brush, a hideous disaster that has infested the world with monsters that threaten humanity. In response, humanity has retreated inside architectural bubbles built and controlled by Tandem, the necessarily evil corporation in charge of everything.

Living in the bubble are roommates Morgan, a brush-baby, brought up in the wild with a penchant for killing and a loose grasp on social norms, and Annie, a drug dealer and hedonist, and a non-existent grasp on social norms. But in the other direction. They spend their time mostly occupied with trying to make rent, becoming too valuable for Tandem to bump them off, and slaughtering everything that looks even a bit mutant-y.

Morgan does this with the power of HUNTR, an app designed to hook murderous pyschopaths up with the monsters that keep invading the bubble, whereas Annie turns bit of those monsters into "like, a really mellow vibe". They're aided (and occasionally abetted) by Mitch, a mostly normal guy who finds himself infected with "the sting", able to blast the monstrous creatures they fight. Also Morgan's ex, Van, is there.

It's very much a culture clash show, with the science-fictiony horror smashed together with all your favourite millennial problems. (Probably. At this point, millennial is basically shorthand for vaguely young and can't get onto the property ladder. It just about applies.) They've got to avoid losing limbs and lives, while ensuring that they look sufficiently cool doing it. After all, if you don't get a good enough star rating on HUNTR, the gig economy is not a friendly place to be.

It throws a lot of jokes at the wall, and nearly all of them stick. I think you need to be in the right demographic to get the most out of it, but you're reading an article about a science fiction podcast. You're probably alright.

The core dynamic of the two roommates is solid, with just the right level of snark in the dialogue to balance out the friendship of two oddballs in a mostly freaky society. Morgan is easily compared to Buffy, if raised by wolves, and that's an archetype I can get behind. (I honestly don't think you'd want to be in front of her.) Mitch sits well in the hapless idiot bracket, acquiring doomsquids and failing to climb through windows, but luckily doesn't get too annoying.

The world in general is pretty fun, being that odd mix of dystopia and mainstream 21st century, hitting some sharp satirical notes on awkward come-ons, hobby bores and and reality television. It allows the use of a lot of observational comedy, as viewed through a stained glass window, making new jokes out of old, sometimes delivered by the nearly deadpan narrator. It's also more than a bit surreal, with bitcoin only sweet shops and hivemind bookclubs. An enjoyable little series, thus far having released six episodes of a planned eight. I'm looking forward to the remaining two and some insight into the shadowy dealings of Tandem.

Score 4

Tagged: Audio fiction Comedy Cast Sitcom Science fiction Serial