Podcast Review: New Utopian Audio-Drama Series, 'Death Inc'; When Even Death Isn't Relaxing;

Yesterday,  I listened to an NPR broadcast that discussed the dominance of old music on streaming platforms. Here & Now editor, Peter O'Dowd asked his 13-year-old daughter what songs were popular on TikTok right now, and she responded with “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” by Paul Anka from 1959. It's part of a growing trend in the United States; 70% of music demand is for old songs on the major streaming platforms, and it’s increasing every year.  People are more readily appreciative of the quality that carefully constructed music, homes, films, and stories provide. Podcasts are really just a resurgence of a medium that existed before.

Before streaming services, social media, or even television, there was the "Golden Age" of radio. Back in the early to mid 1900s, drama, comedy, mystery and horror were all presented in a purely audio format.  Families would gather around and listen to a broadcast together.  Last week, I discovered a new and innovative podcast that juxtaposes the nostalgic allure of this golden age of radio with contemporary mediums, fresh jargon, and modern humor. Entitled Death Inc., it's a fast building audio-drama that takes place in a post-death world with ruins and abandoned structures. Suspense builds, and the plot thickens as the listener experiences the characters' discoveries right along with them. 

The podcast is presented as short, bathroom-break sized episodes that are filled with the dramatic, sci-fi meets fantasy dialogue of Joy Ireland who plays Zoe, and Jesse, played by Evan Shwartz.  

You can listen to Death Inc. here: deathinc.rip

Listening to Death Inc., it felt as if I was watching a good tv show but was too busy playing with my phone to look up at the screen. Honestly, we're all too busy doing 47 different things at the same time to pay close attention to much of anything these days. But there were times that I wished I could see that action unfolding in this scripted audio series.

The casual back-and-forth between Jesse and Zoe sounds so natural, and unrehearsed; the sound effects really add color and depth to the work. Helena Reed does a brilliant job as narrator, but again, there were moments, I just wanted to see the action. But, I guess thats a good thing.

In the first episode, you'll eavesdrop as Zoe and Jesse seem to have stumbled into an unfinished, half-built afterlife. As much as I'd like to talk more about the storyline, it moves so quickly, it's better you listen for yourself, as there are things I may be reading in that are a result of my own imagination. But it would suffice to say the commentary from Jesse and Zoe as they read about their own death  from a corporate manual of the "Death By Unnatural Causes Association" is hilarious!

Death Inc. is the creative work-product of Dejito Productions. It was written by Shwartz who also directs the series along with Ella Greely.  The story is well weaved and kept me engaged.

And I love the audio-drama's representation. One cool aspect is that the show is made up of a majority black cast.  Later episodes feature Don Reed, Mantra Plonsey, Ari Neubauer, and Charles Taylor.  I definitely recommend you give this podcast a listen. It really meets the mark creatively and feels well executed. 

You can check out the podcast here: https://www.deathinc.rip/


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