Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adventures in Odyssey Review: Daring Deeds, Sinister Schemes (Adventures in Odyssey #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: You can listen to these great stories over and over again.
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Evil comes to town
Addicting mini-series
I could quote to you

Collecting the First Summer with Blackguard

Adventures in Odyssey is a radio drama for kids produced by Christian ministry Focus on the Family. It's set in the small town of Odyssey somewhere in the United States of America. (It's been strongly hinted that it's Ohio, but the show never states that.) It tells about the every day adventures of various kids who frequent Whit's End, and ice cream shop with lots of extras like a large train set, a little theater, and the Bible room, a room designed to help bring the Bible to life. John Avery Whitaker, a grandfatherly figure, runs the shop. His two employees are Connie Kendall, a high school student, and Eugene Meltzer, a college brain.

Daring Deeds, Sinister Schemes contains 12 episodes from the second summer the show was on the air. This includes the original Dr. Blackguard story line. Not all are related to that story arch, however.

It starts with the first IMAGINATION STATION adventure, in which Digger Digger Digwillow goes back in time to experience the death and resurrection of Christ. I've listened to these two episodes more then half my life and they still moves me to tears. It has become an Easter tradition with me.

Other non-Blackguard episodes include the classic Barclay family vacation in Odyssey (OUR BEST VACATION EVER). Granted, one scene does involve the latest happenings, but it stands on it's own pretty well regardless. The other stand-alone AN ENCOUNTER WITH MRS. COOPER.  My old tape set had a different episode, which I miss, but this is a good one about learning to truly get to know everyone because they all have value.

The other episodes all revolve around the initial Blackguard arch. They include A BITE OF APPLESAUCE, EUGENE'S DILEMMA, CONNIE GOES TO CAMP, THE NEMESIS, and THE BATTLE. These last three are two parters. As a whole, these make a great story, but are even more interesting when listened to in relation to later Blackguard episodes.

I will never forget the summer in the early 90's when these first aired. My brother and I were glued to the radio each week to see what would happen next. This was Odyssey's first extended story arch of any kind, and it had us hooked. They'd waited long enough so that we loved these characters and really felt a stake in the outcome. Little did we know how these episodes would grow to be some important in the years to come. They had a great villain in Dr. Blackguard and really used him well.

I highly recommend Daring Deeds, Sinister Schemes. It's radio drama at its best: good story telling and great characters.

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