Space Opera Sitcom: The Lost Logs of the Saratoga

Are you Ready for the Theatre of Tomorrow?

This five-episode audio drama feels like the first season of a larger story but manages to remain self-contained at the same time. It's both a mini-series with a beginning, middle and end, but also has a bit of a cliffhanger like a television show. How the company, Theatre of Tomorrow, pulled this off is truly a testament to how far audio drama has come in its writing. At the same time, there's still room for improvement.

Formalism and Realism

The most recent trend for audio drama as a storytelling medium are audio epistolaries i.e. journals and diaries which are the audible equivalent of first-person point of view in prose fiction. Think Bram Stoker's Dracula and how it's told. A more modern comparison would be the cinematic spectrum of realism versus formalism. In short, realism is function over form and formalism is form over function. "Form" in the case of both film and audio dramas is the style of the story. A good example from film is Odessa's Steps. Technically, the film is more an example of Soviet montage, but the differences between realism and formalism are more like a spectrum than a dichotomy. Most twenty-first century films to some degree have elements of both. After all, in a movie like the original Cloverfield, an audience has to wonder. Why are they still recording? It breaks the immersion and the formalist interpretation in favor of a more realist one. Of course, a counter-argument could be made claiming a film like Cloverfield is more realist than formalist because of the way the story is told. Conversely, the same evidence could be used in favor of form over function interpretation. In the end, it all comes down to individual experiences. After listening to so many audio diaries, it was a breath of fresh air to hear a movie in my mind.

A Rushed Ending and Thematic Resonance

The sound effects are great, especially near the end when the editor did something quite unique in their portrayal of someone on their death bed. It was very subtle but added a layer of complexity to the scene. That being said, the ending works thematically but feels like a quick and efficient to wrap up the story without dealing with anything that came between episodes one and five. A lot happens, but a quick line of dialogue fixes the main character's problems and then we as an audience hear a recurring theme or motif in the series spoken aloud for one final time and it resonates surprisingly well, despite the rushed nature of the ending and denouement.

4/5 Stars

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