A.V. Club Podmass 05.18.15

Hello, From The Magic Tavern

There is so much to discuss surrounding the latest episode of Hello, From The Magic Tavern, the inventive, often hilarious podcast about host Arnie Niekamp’s adventures while trapped in a parallel dimension. What begins under the pretense of just another entry from the magical realm of Foon quickly swings to another pole, opening the show up to entirely different realms of possibility. Niekamp, struggling with a bout of homesickness, retreats to his room at the eponymous tavern, The Vermillion Minotaur, and as the podcast cuts to what should be a mid-roll ad, the fabric of the show’s reality stretches in an entirely different and exciting direction. To describe exactly what happens would be an unfair gesture here, but it finally sheds light on the mysterious man (excellently voiced by Tim Sniffen) who serves as the show’s announcer, as well as his continued exhortations that the show is entirely a product of fiction. The depth of world-building has been among the strongest elements of Hello, From The Magic Tavern, and “Homesick” shows that it is just getting started. At only 10 episodes, it is not too late to jump on what has the potential to become the next Welcome To Night Vale.


Open Run
The Fellowship Of The Rim Vol. 1 And 2: Dave Hartley

While the continued longevity of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy is a bit of a curiosity to many pop culture observers, it is a boon to listeners of Open Run, as the 2015 broadcast network upfront presentations provides the backdrop for what are easily the standout episodes in the show’s nascent existence. This two-parter sees hosts Jesse Williams and Stefan Marolachakis hanging out in the Trump International Hotel in New York City along with all-star podcast sixth man, Dave Hartley of the band The War On Drugs. The trio engage in one extra-long hang session, drinking beers, shooting the shit, and covering a wide range of topics in continually hilarious fashion. The real treat of these episodes comes from how well they succeed in conveying to listeners the atmosphere of being in the room; few podcasts find such a balance between access and accessibility. The conversation flows naturally from serious basketball discussions, to Mr. Show and Naked Gunreferences, to a very in-depth and astute dissection of sports fandom, artistry, and personal identity. Hartley brings some absolutely crazy nickname game, and the show hands out its own end-of-season awards. With the NBA season drawing to a close, it will be interesting to see what comes next for the show.

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