The Cambridge Geek

Middle:Below

One I failed to listen to all of prior to PodUK, but have now finished off.

The Middle is Earth. Where normal folk live, love, laugh, work, and die.

Below is where they go after.

It's full of ghosts, some passive, some active, some malevolent. The malevolent ones sometimes needs a little bit of help to make their peace, and move on to the Above, the final resting place. That help is Taylor. He can hop between the Middle and the Below by passing through any doorway. These line up with the Below, as it is a shadowed mirror of our own world, and the locations roughly correlate.

Taylor's (literal) spirit guide is Gil, a ghost of unknown vintage, but having definitely died sometime before the present. He can detect when other spooks are about, and has far greater knowledge of the Below, meaning that just occasionally he's more useful than annoying.

That's particularly important to Heather, who has managed to find herself trapped in the Below by a possessed arcade game, and could really do with a hand out of there. Taylor and Gil's journey to rescue her set off the plot and leave the three of them together to investigate all of the mysteries of the Below.

There's also a cat, called Sans. Entertainingly voiced by a person, meaning that the conversations everyone has with it are more comprehensible than you might otherwise expect. Also, cats are magic and like to play with their food. Somewhat villainous, it would appear. Who'da thunk it?

This is fairly whimsical, mostly episodic, with each installment tending to deal with a "ghost of the week". Although saying that, it does keep offering hints of a deeper plot beneath everything, with Taylor's visits to the Below having something more purposeful behind them. He also seems to magically always have just the item they need, akin to Bond and his gadgets, so there's definitely something else going on.

That is one of my gripes though, in that we're given a lot of brief elements, but it feels like it could do with a degree of rounding out, just to fill a bit of the background. It perhaps takes "in late, out early" to something of an extreme, and I'd appreciate additional info at some moments.

The cast are all jolly however, and I think my primary appeal to the show is the dialogue. It's very chatty, and is pleasingingly spiky in that good-natured fashion you get with old friends. Also impressed with the ghost effects, which tend to be decently spooky, or have interesting restrictions, such as only talking in lines from the game they're trapped in. A relatively easy listen, and has got me curious about some of the murkier secrets it holds.

Score:
Score 4

Tagged: Audio_fiction Drama Cast Dramatised Urban fantasy