Geek By Night excels in it’s character-driven narrative
“Geek By Night” was one of those shows that my cohost Gus and I had been delaying listening to for some time now. It may have been because Ori has a tendency to poorly sell a show to us or because, individually, we had been engrossed in other shows and projects at the time.
Whatever the case may have been, come this season of the Plotcast, we finally decided to give GBN (Geek By Night) a listen. We also sat down with the executive producers of the show, Scott Carelli and Nick Jimenez , to discuss the origin of GBN and some additional behind-the-scenes info.
In true Plotcast fashion, what ensued between the three of us was a barrage of explosive disagreements, discussions and arguments on what GBN did right and wrong. From character development, to the plot itself to the creator’s ability to showcase a wide range of superpowers, GBN had a lot going for it and has a ton of potential going forward.
“Geek By Night” is an action-comedy revolving around the antics of Eliott, Simon, Gwen, Gibson, Mindy, who receive superpowers after an accident one evening. After coming to grips with the new powers they possess, they are recruited by billionaire, genius Lorelei Swift of Swift Industries to form a superhero team. Typical episodes usually revolve around the growth of one main character and their wacky ways of thwarting a local supervillain all while helping to keep afloat their failing comic book store.
Premise aside, what made GBN such a great listening experience was fantastic character development, and to some, that could be a considered a double-edged sword, because while character development was fantastic, the superpower aspect fell to the wayside.
But to me, that’s okay, because GBN, from the very first episode, focused on the character-driven narrative it was telling and the superpowers themselves were just an accompanying plot point. Dueling Genres (the production company) were able to make loveable, personable characters who had these incredible powers and still have them come to terms with legitimate flaws about themselves as individuals.
A great example of this is Gibson’s growth in Episodes 7 & 8. Gibson, who came off as sexist towards a female customer after he made fun of her taking an interest in lady Thor and other comic book trends of today’s modern age. Disgusted with his sexism and narrow mindedness, the customer sets off on a campaign against Underdog comics.
Over the course of this episode, Gibson begins to understand the negative impact his mindset has on both the shop and the customers. Which ultimately culminates with one of my favorite parts of the show, Gibson, up until this point, thought the way he did because he was afraid of being left behind, he was afraid that things that he enjoyed were changing and that he wasn’t able to keep up, so instead of facing those issues head-on, he decided to ignore them.
It’s moments like this that really hit me in the feels as I listened to the show, and a lot of the situations are issues or mindsets that many people struggle with everyday. Other every day character narratives included: Mindy’s stance on Greek Life and its benefit post college, Lorelei coming to grips with her husband’s death, Victor’s realization that he shouldn’t be ashamed of who he is, or rather, what he is (which is a computer program) and Simon opening up about his personality and how he hasn’t made a lot of friends because of how he is.
However, despite strong character performances and the occasional tense, action-filled moment, the show does fall short on a few aspects, most notably making some characters powers much more powerful than others (I’m looking at you Simon), a lackluster ending and (my personal biggest gripe) the complete lack of use of “The Game,” which was a major first initial plot point and ultimately the driving factor that brought the gang together over the course of episode one. Some other sub par aspects include; inconsistent audio quality among characters and episodes, and forgettable villains.
Despite all that, Geek By Night does an excellent job of bridging loveable characters with some impressive sound editing & atmosphere building especially when it comes to the superpowers and the unique array the producers were able to convey. With some improvements in the aforementioned areas, I think GBN SeasonTtwo has the potential to be a contender in my top podcasts of the year.
Let’s get our geek on!
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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.