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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I've Been Interviewed!

A couple of weeks ago, The Old Judge, webmaster of Twists and Turns, asked me in the comments on my blog if he could do an interview with me. I suggested we do it through PMs on The Town of Odyssey, but since he wasn't on The ToO, we conducted it through The Odyssey Scoop's new forum, The Soda Shop. He sent me a list of 19 questions, and I did my best to answer them as thoroughly as I could. He posted them on his blog on Sunday evening, about a week after we did the interview, and already there's been a great response. So I've gotten his permission to also post the interview on my blog. Hope you guys like it!

The Old Judge: Whe did you first start listening to Adventures in Odyssey?

Christian A.: I'm not sure of the exact age, but I was around six or seven when my mom got me my first set. It was the special, limited-edition 10 CD set, which you can see here on The Odyssey Scoop.

The Old Judge: What was the first episode you ever listened to?

Christian A.: Well, since my first set was the one mentioned above, I believe the first episode could have been "Connie Comes to Town". But that may not be totally accurate, because I think I may have known about Odyssey from the radio or tapes from Chick-fil-A before that. So I can't really say for sure.

The Old Judge: What inspired you to start The Voice of Odyssey?

Christian A.: Oh, boy. Well, it was really inspired by Josh from The AIO Fan's Life. He and I met on The Odyssey Scoop comments and had all of our conversations there until he showed me his blog. And eventually, he urged me to ask my parents if I could start my own blog, since I felt that I had so much to say about thte Album 51 episodes that were coming out. So I asked, and my parents totally surprised me by saying yes! And the rest is history!

The Old Judge: Does anybody help you on your blog, or do you do it solo?

Christian A.: Nope, I do it all myself. I do get some of my ideas and points for my reviews for others on occasion, but the vast majority comes from my own feeble brain.

The Old Judge: Do you have any future plans for your blog, and if so, what are they?

Christian A.: Gee, I really don't want to think about the future. I just hope I can keep it going. Life continues to get more and more hectic for me, and it's all I can do to post an update every couple of weeks. I just hope that I can keep reviewing every episode as it comes out. That's really my only goal.

The Old Judge: What is your favorite Adventures in Odyssey episode of all time, and why?

Christian A.: Why does everyone always ask this question?! No, it's alright. It's just hard. The episode that always comes to my mind is when I'm asked this question is The Search for Whit, Parts I, II, and III. I'm not entirely sure, but I've always liked this show, and I never really get tired of it. You're not going to get much more out of me than that.

The Old Judge: What is your favorite Adventures in Odyssey album of all time, and why?

Christian A.: My favorite album... I'm not sure if anyone has ever asked me that one. Good question. Although I don't own it, I really like In Hot Pursuit--Album 41, where Connie and Joanne go on a roadtrip to Washington D.C. where she ends up almost marrying Mitch. It also has some great single episodes like Do or Diet and The Mailman Cometh. Yeah, I think I'd have to say #41.

The Old Judge: What is your favorite Adventures in Odyssey saga of all time, and why?

Christian A.: Well, although Backgaard comes close, I think I have to agree with almost everyone else and say Novacom. It was an amazing accomplishment by the AIO team, and it really hasn't been matched by anyhting else they've ever done. Great plot, great characters, great suspense, great ending. Maybe they can make something like it in the future, but I think Novacom will always hold a special place in every AIO fan's heart.

The Old Judge: Who is your favorite actor to voice Whit?

Christian A.: Oh, boy, this is a tough one. I can definitely say--NOT Andre Stojka! But choosing between Paul Herlinger and Hal Smith is harder. I suspect that if I had been a fan of Odyssey earlier on, I would say Hal Smith, but the time I was born, Paul Herlinger was already in place. So while I really like Hal Smith's Whit, I guess I would have to say Paul Herlinger. He was always great at giving wisdom and advice, and he was amazing in all the action/adventure episodes he acted in.

The Old Judge: What do you think of the current era of Adventures in Odyssey?

Christian A.: Egh. I mean, the Odyssey writers have shelled out some great stories for us. But there hasn't been much heart. There have been good episodes in every album, but there have been few GREAT ones. And another problem I've had is that the episodes are all about morals. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but when it's all morals and laws and legalism, and there's no talk about how we cannot naturally obey and pleae God, and Jesus had to please God for us, you can end up with hypocrites or Pharisees who think that they're pleasing God by keeping the law. AIO needs to be careful that it doesn't seperate the moral message of the Bible from the gospel message of the Bible, which tells us that we can never be good enough for God. Our hearts are corrupt by nature, and we need Jesus to be good enough for us. We need His righteousness, and nothing else will please God. APart from Him, we face eternal damnation. Well, that was a long, complicated answer. Sorry if that was more than you were asking for.

The Old Judge: What are your opinions on Andre Stojka? Has he gotten better in the role, worse, or what?

Christian A.: Boy, Andre Stojka. I suppose he's grown into the role a little with the 5 albums he's worked on. But he hasn't really grown on me. Eever since I became convinced he isn't a Christian, I've not been able to genuinely like him. I mean, if you're playing Mister Whittaker, you should at least share his faith if you're going to add any heart and soul to the role. But from what I can tell, Andre makes no Christian profession, so I can't get over that, and I don't know if I'll ever like his job as Whit.

The Old Judge: What are your thoughts on upcoming Album 56:The Grand Design?

Christian A.: I'm pretty excited for it. Some of the episodes really intrigue me. (See my latest blog post for more on that.) I was pretty pleased with Album 55, so while I'm hoping that Album 56 will continue the gradual improvements, I'm not getting my expectations too high, because I don't want to be disappointed. But so far, everything looks good, and I think we're in for an enjoyable new season of episodes.

The Old Judge: Who is your favorite Adventures in Odyssey character, before and after the hiatus?

Christian A.: Oh, man. Another hard question. This one I really don't know if I can answer. I think I've said before that Jimmy Barclay is one that stands out. Believe it or not, Connie is actually a very relatable character for me. She seems to struggle with a lot of the same things I do, so I am usually helped greatly when she receives advice from Whit. (At least, in the old days, before Andre.) After the hiatus.....I guess Matthew Parker is a pretty good character. Ryan Cummings as well. I guess if I had to pick one, I'd say Ryan.

The Old Judge: Who is your least favorite Adventures in Odyssey character, before and after the hiatus?

Christian A.: Now this could be a bit easier. After the hiatus....(drumroll please)....Penny Wise! She seems to bring out the worst in everybody. She makes Wooton forget his values and fall for someone he knows next to nothing about, and she brought Connie's guard down when it came to meditation and the false teachings of Doctor Trask. I just don't think she's good for Odyssey. I don't know what prompted the writers to make her such a big character. Before the hiatus is a little more difficult. There were always minor characters that rubbed me the wrong way: Erica Clark, Courtney, Kim, Jeff.....But I can't really think of any specific character who I thought was totally unnecessary, as in the case of Penny.

The Old Judge: Are there any Adventures in Odyssey fan podcasts you listen to?

Christian A.: Oh, I LOVED the Unofficial Podcast back in the day when they were up and going. I was so sad to see them go. All other fan podcasts pale in comparison to that one. The Ceiling Fan is a bit too silly for me. The Whit's End Podcast I just really don't listen to, for personal reasons. I like Dave's AIO review podcasts. His thoughts are fun to listen to. And then there's always the Official Podcast, which is mildly entertaining, but I don't even listen to every episode they release. It probably boils down to the fact that I don't have time to listen to podcasts anymore. Unless it looks interesting enough that I put it on my mp3 player, I probably won't listen to it.

The Old Judge: Are there any Adventures in Odyssey fan sites that you frequent?

Christian A.: Well, the ones that I frequent a lot include The Town of Odyssey, The Odyssey Scoop, AIOWiki, and The AIO Fan's Life, (when it's being updated), and The Changing Times. All the rest I visit semi-frequently, but I'm not really attached to any of them.

The Old Judge: What are your opinions on my site, Twists and Turns?

Christian A.: Well, I won't lie and say that I go there very often. But I just gave it a full once-over this morning, and I was genuinely impressed. Your "Imagination Station" page is very thorough, and I like how you include an icon with every site. Your features are interesting and very well-formatted. And your blog posts are very inclusive---meaning you cover absolutely everything. Kind of like how I was when I started my blog..... Anyway, it is a very good website. It stands out, and it's obvious you're a big fan of the show and you care about its future. My advice to you would be just to keep trying to improve your writing skills so that you can write reviews that people will look forward to. That's really the key to maintaining a great website.

The Old Judge: If you could write an Adventures in Odyssey episode, what would it be about?

Christian A.: I wouldn't really know where to start. If you're interested, I wrote this "Episode Idea" for the "Chicken Soup" section of The Odyssey Scoop about a year ago.

"Falling Up"

Matthew Parker starts noticing disappearances all over town. First, it's only streetlights and stop signs here and there. Then, plants and trees start vanishing from right where they were standing. But the trouble comes when one of the kids in his class at school disappears completely. So Matthew convinces Emily to help him interview the kid's parents about the vanishing. But, after a few days, more kids and even adults start disappearing. The Jones & Parker Detective Agency is forced to go on a stakeout. All the facts point to Mister Whittaker as the next victim. They keep watch in the bushes at his house, particularly looking for anything above his house. And just as the clock tower in the middle of town strikes 12 A.M., a UFO appears at the top of Whit's house. Matthew struggles to wake Emily up as a strange white beam shoots out of the middle of the strange floating spacecraft. Whit is pulled up through the air into the ship, and then the whole thing disappears. The next morning, Connie hears from Lawrence Hodges and Jared DeWhite that they plan to come back to town and disprove all this nonsense. Coming soon to a radio near you.

The Old Judge: What are your opnions on Wooton and Penny as a couple?

Christian A.: Oh, don't even get me started. I already stated that I really don't like Penny as a character. So when she's paired with one of Odyssey's most beloved characters, thats'one of the worst mistakes the Odyssey team could have made. She and Wooton just aren't a likable couple. And I'd really like to hear more about her religious beliefs before I could become comfortable with Wooton, a Christian, entering a relationship with her. That's all I'll say for now. I may write a blog post about this in the future. 

So...a little on the long side. :)  But hopefully you guys enjoyed reading it, and maybe you learned some new things about me. Please comment and tell me what you thought! And be sure to visit The Old Judge's website at  Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Clip from Album 56

Normally I'm hesitant to listen to a clip from an upcoming album, since I usually like to wait until I can hear the episode as it airs, but whenever the Official Podcast releases a clip, I allow myself to listen. In their most recent podcast, Bob and Jesse released a 2-minute long clip from "The Perfect Church," which, if you recall, was one the episodes I said I'm highly anticipating in the new season this fall. And I was very impressed with the clip, so if you haven't heard it, make sure you go give it a listen.

It really hearkens back to the old days of Odyssey. We haven't had a full-length Imagination Station adventure since before the relaunch, so that helps things, but I really like the direction this episode seems to be going. In fact, I'm excited about the direction the whole album is taking. Dave at "Dave's AIO Blog" recently expressed his concern that the overload of episodes featuring Whit's inventions in this album might leave fans "machined-out," but I'm looking forward to it. Yes, the inventions may get just a little old, after we hear from them multiple times this season, but I think that makes up for their absence over the last several seasons.

What are your thoughts about the upcoming season? Do you agree with Dave that there should have been fewer "invention episodes," or are you looking forward to hearing from all of them again? Please let me know in the comments!  Thanks for reading, even though this post was on the shorter side.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Album 56 Episode Titles and Summaries!

They're finally here! Well, I guess I shouldn't say "finally." I actually wasn't expecting them this soon. But I wasn't nearly as surprised to see that these were released as I was to see that Album 56 is now available for download! The time just flies by so fast. It doesn't seem like it's been very long at all since Album 55 finished. But I guess next month is September, so I must just be slow. ;)

Here are the brand new titles and descriptions for the shows on Album 56:

The Perfect Church, Parts I and II: After Matthew sees the problems and conflicts at his own church, Whit sends him on an Imagination Station adventure to witness the very first church in the book of Acts.

I think I'm looking forward to this episode more than any others. For one thing, we haven't heard from the Imagination Station at all since the relaunch (except for Matthew's short journey in "Fast As I Can"), so I'd like to see how the writers will handle it. But more importantly, I am very intrigued by a storyline involving the early church--and presumably it will be a story about all the problems it had. And especially because it's a two-part episode, I really can't wait to see where the writers are going to take this.

Great Expectations: As Emily pursues her hopes and dreams, she journeys in the Imagination Station to see Whit as a young boy.

I can't say that I'm as excited to hear this episode, namely because it involves Emily. But I'll probably get over that when she first meets Whit as a young boy. That will be very interesting. Also, I really like the title for the episode. Hopefully the episode will live up to its name, but I don't have very great expectations. :P

For Three Dollars More: When Barrett questions the value of tithing, Matthew, Connie, and Whit send him on trips in the Room of Consequence to see the results of his actions.

I'm not sure what I'll think about this episode. I have different views on tithing than do most Christians, so I doubt I'll agree with it. But I'll probably get into that more when I review the episode. Aside from that, however, I really look forward to hearing from the RoC again!

The Bible Network: Kids' Radio plays out the value of reading Scripture in three acts - a game show called "Who's the Real Sheep," a crime drama "BSI: Bible Study Investigation," and an intensive training regime called "Bible Boot Camp."

We already knew this episode title, but we hadn't received a summary for it yet. I'm very intrigued by it. It seems to me like a BTV episode, though not under that name. I'm interested to hear the "Who's the Real Sheep" game, which sounds like it could be about true and false conversion. But I won't get my hopes too high. ;)

Happy Hunting: Penny Wise embarks on a frantic search to find happiness, but in the process she makes everyone around her miserable. 

I released this one the other day, and it's still available for free download if you're interested, but I haven't gotten really excited about it. I don't really like the premise that Penny is seeking happiness. If she's a Christian, which we've been led to believe, why does she not already have happiness? And shouldn't she be looking for lasting joy, not just a shallow happiness? Anyway, I just hope this episode doesn't leave me miserable while Penny is making everyone in Odyssey miserable.

The Holy Hoopster: Ryan Cummings makes a series of seemingly miraculous last-second shots for his basketball team which makes him a celebrity - both for the hoops and for acknowledging Jesus.

Now this is more like it. Not only do we get to hear from Ryan again, but it sounds like he's going to become Odyssey's Jeremy Lin! I'm excited to hear a sports episode again, and maybe we'll get to hear from Coach Fang! This will definitely be one of my most-anticipated episodes of Album 56.

The Lost Riddle:Emily and Matthew discover a series of riddles from decades past stuck in the corner of her locker.

This episode has the potential to be pretty good. But I don't think I'll get my hopes up, just because there hasn't really been a Jones and Parker mystery that I've liked much since the relaunch. But who knows, maybe I'll be surprised. It's certainly intriguing.

Groundhog Jay:After Jay pushes Priscilla into an unexpected trip in the Room of Consequence, the two of them experience the same event over and over again.

Oooh, this one sounds really good. I'm not thrilled about an episode where Priscilla is so prominent, but I'm sure I'll get over it. Hopefully this episode will maintain a better story than "The Eternal Birthday." Whatever the show delivers, I'm sure it will become a favorite of my younger siblings, because they LOVE "The Eternal Birthday."

Home Again, Parts I and II: When Jason Whittaker finally returns to Odyssey for peace and quiet, the excitement surrounding his return makes it hard to find either.

Now this is another one where things could go either way. Hopefully the writers have a good story for this episode. I'm not sure how they'll deal with the fact that most of the town thinks Jason is dead, so that should be interesting. But I'm primarily looking forward to this episode because there's another old character returning. Yes, I was spoiled. But I don't want you to be spoiled, so I won't tell you who it is. And I would urge you not to try to find out, because I think if you don't know it's coming, you'll be very pleasantly surprised.

Well, that's The Grand Design. Hopefully it will live up to its episode summaries and be a very impressive album. I'm holding out hope that it will follow the pattern of ever-improving albums. So hopefully this album will be even better than 55!

What are your thoughts about the episodes? Are there any that you're particularly looking forward to? Tell me about it in the comments!  Thank you all for reading!