More than meets the ears with King Falls AM
Initially going into King Falls AM, I heard a quaint sci-fi news broadcast with some entertaining hosts, but the show didn’t blow me away. It felt very much like all the other (overly-used) news-style fiction podcasts in the same vein as Welcome to Night Vale. But, after getting into a bit of a debate on Twitter, I learned that show evolves into much more… so I should just shut up and listen. (And that I did.)
A quick sidebar: It should be noted that critiques of shows may often come off sounding nitpicky, but there’s a reason for it – I’m doing it to improve the medium as a whole. And my critiques are often to let potential listeners know what to expect ahead of time.
So when it came to a podcast that I had initially thought was more akin to an anthology with loose tie-ins, I’m happy to admit that I was very wrong.
Now, this is not to say that King Falls AM is without aforementioned flaws: There are plenty that I’ll get into. But, I can confidently say that the later episodes (around 40+ in my opinion), the show really finds its footing and turns into something much more, and that I’m glad that I continued listening.
The premise for King Falls AM is very straightforward: A mysterious radio DJ moves to the small town of King Falls, where he’s met with all sorts of paranormal happenings, and a few even-stranger residents of the town as they call into his co-hosted late-night talk show. Sammy, the new radio DJ, and Ben, his reluctant co-host and producer, form a dynamic duo / friendship as they talk about (and sometimes talk to) the strangeness in King Falls.
As I mentioned, the plot does evolve. Eventually the two hosts leave the radio station and report on town shenanigans via live broadcast at different hours of the day. However, that’s not what makes the plot great. What does is twofold: 1. The relationship between Ben and love-interest Emily Potter, and 2. Aliens (maybe?) that keep showing up with rainbow lights.
Without spoiling much more (you can listen to our PlotCast episode below for that), I will say that you grow attached to the characters as time progresses, and the story does get compelling enough in the later episodes to keep listeners interested.
Onto the criticism: One of the most frustrating forms of conflict in any medium is conflict caused by miscommunication – and boy is there a lot of it in King Falls AM. Most of the early 20s and 30s are filled to the brim with bickering between Sammy and Ben, or both of them and a caller. And that can become draining in a show that is supposed to be lighthearted.
Additionally, for a comedy, there is a surprising lack of laugh-aloud humor. You’ll find a chuckle and memorable line here and there, but to us at Audiohm, the show is more a sci-fi slice-of-life story than a comedy.
And like many radio-show style podcasts, the environment and the action are minimal. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can leave you wanting more than just people talking to each other.
Despite some issues, I can say I enjoyed my time with King Falls AM, as will most people. There are some downright loveable characters, and some great moments in later episodes. Is 40 episodes in too long to find your stride and keep people interested? Definitely debatable.
Is the story engaging enough to keep you listening? Potentially. Is the show worth listening to for some great characters and memorable catch phrases? You bet Archie’s Pomchi Palace it is.
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