Despite technical prowess, Blackwood is bogged down by the small things
I really hate that I have to write this review, because I really enjoyed the Blackwood audio drama.
Blackwood is one of those shows that had everything going for it; Solid plot, strong main cast, immersive atmosphere and out-of-this-world production. The team’s ability to create such strong tension and plot progression in a short period of time is remarkable. However, despite its strong technical production, Blackwood falls short for, quite possibly, some of the dumbest reasons – and left me hungry for another mystery.
Blackwood falls short because it fails to capitalize on it’s interesting narrative. The show has a ton of interesting plot points; a secret society, a potential monster and, as we come to find out, a manipulative “disease” that puts its victims into an emotional, suggestive trance. These are interesting and thought-provoking topics that, while introduced in season one, failed to get off the ground and have me hungry for more… in the worst way possible.
Now into the show itself, as discussed before, is technically fantastic. The atmospheric sound effects, immersive voice acting and setting/plot points themselves are second-to-none. I can feel the tension as Nathan talks to his ailing grandfather, your hair stands up on your neck as Molly, Bryan and Nathan follow Bryan’s grandfather into an abandoned mill in the middle of the woods, and a sense of dread courses throughout your body as the finale fizzles into the ending credits.
I love the characters, I love the premise and I loved the build up, but the overall lack of meat is what frustrates me the most as I listened. There were so many points I felt could have been expanded on and just fell to the wayside in order to progress the plot, without a concrete finish for Season One. It felt like the story was incomplete, and only made as a setup for Season Two.
Why six episodes? Why not eight? Or any sort of supplemental material? What I’ve currently experienced for Season One seems like just an appetizer – one that isn’t filling enough to prevent me from complaining about the time it takes for my entree to arrive. (The entree is Season 2…)
I won’t go into any of my unanswered questions here; you can listen to them on the PlotCast below.
But, to sum everything up, Blackwood had me hooked and I enjoyed it a ton from a technical standpoint (I know I’ve said this a lot). In the end, it’s the culmination of the little things that has frustrated me after the initial listening session and as I write this review sometime after.
I have high hopes for Season Two and I truly believe a bit more meat on some of the smaller details of the show will go a long way to creating an immersive and interesting setting. However, for now, I’m munching on the breadsticks as I look at other people’s food.
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Andrew is the creator of the PlotCast and the driving force behind AudiOhm’s focus on audio dramas. He is also a regular reviewer, as well as co-director and writer for many of our original shows. For Andrew, the only acceptable thing to listen to other than an audio drama is the latest Kanye album.