Welcome to Just Another AIO Blog, a site that is dedicated to the popular radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. We provide news, reviews on the latest episodes, articles, features, and we also are home to Adventures in Connellsville, a unique look at the town next to Odyssey through book form, We also provide a U.S.S. Response page that gets updated every other day. This page provides a response to recent comments on The Soda Shop Message Boards. And just recently, we started a unique Adventures in Odyssey podcast: called JAAIOP, or Just Another AIO Podcast. Feel free to post comments or subscribe to this site by email or with Google Friend Connect. Thank you!

Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog

Thursday, November 15, 2012

AIO Article: The Modern Classics 11/15/12

     I had two ideas for an article, but I figured I should use this one first, as the other idea will probably be more in-depth. For some of you readers who have been reading my blog pretty much since its creation, you'll remember I did an article several months ago that showcased the "classics" of AIO from albums 1 - 5. I wanted to do a Modern Classics article, but I hadn't heard all of Album 51 yet, so I held back. But, I heard the rest of Album 51 about a month ago, and so, I shall now write the article...

     Most people complain about entertainment at some point in their lives. Specifically, people like to tear down music, movies, and TV that have been made in the past 10 years. I think this is, in most cases, quite biased and unfair. Sure, entertainment might have been better 50 years ago, but why does that have to mean it's awful now? I think there are many great music, movie, and TV alternatives that are being produced now. I believe many elderly folk (Like 40 and up. LOL (that may seem unprofessional, but I had to put it.)) are used to the entertainment back in the "good old days" and simply can't confront the fact that entertainment has changed. It hasn't necessarily changed for the worse, it's just moved on. It's for a new generation now. And I personally find both old movies and new movies great, both old songs and new songs great, and so on. And so, the same is true for radio dramas. Radio dramas like... oh, I dunno - AIO?
     That's enough ranting about entertainment, I suppose. For this article, I shall acknowledge the new era of AIO, and put up a lengthy list of episodes that I believe embody it from Albums 51 - 55. Here goes...

     The Inspiration Station: Ah, yes. I remember first hearing this episode. I was just 9, and still a relatively new AIO fan. I remember being confused about all the changes; I didn't really understand why the AIO team was doing what they were doing. I was frustrated that there was a new Whit, as I had listened to Paul Herlinger for three years. Also, I had just figured out AIO was producing new episodes, and the ones I had at my library were not the only AIO episodes out there, so to be plunged into an unfamiliar setting with an unfamiliar Whit was a bit perplexing and annoying to me. However, I quickly got into the episode, and soon discovered it was actually pretty good. It's not perfect, but it was a brilliant introduction to post-50 AIO. And for that, I certify it a Modern Classic.

     The Jubilee Singers: The illustrious Avery winner is still just as great as it was 2 1/2 years ago. I recently heard the episode for the first time, and I must say it was a refreshing reminder that, in the midst of Emily Jones and all the other atrocious things going on around Odyssey, there was still good old-fashioned historical fun. However, this episode and Sgt. York have a different feel than previous Odyssey historicals. Dave Arnold treats each history episode more like an epic, and I like this approach. Ultimately, you can not simply ignore this choir of Christ, as they're absolutely amazing in nearly every way, and the episode they star in is without a doubt a Modern Classic.

      The Owlnapping: Where's The Mystery of the Clock Tower? you may be wondering. I considered putting it on here, but I finally decided it had too many plot holes and cliches to be put on a list of classics. As I said before, Album 52 is the worst AIO album in history, but it includes this little gem called The Owlnapping. The thing I adore about this episode is its ridiculousness. Of course it's ridiculous to rely on an stuffed owl for athletic victory, but that's Marshal Younger, and Odyssey in general, for you. It was rather funny as well, and Adam Wylie's vocal performance was stunning. And so, though I believe this album as a whole is mediocre at best, this episode is really quite grand, and is a definite classic.

     The Green Ring Conspiracy: I didn't really want to post this on here, as it would be incredibly predictable, but I really have an obligation too. This is such a great series of episodes, I can't really praise it enough. I have very little flaws with this, as everything from Monty's appearance to the finale was handled almost perfectly. I truthfully don't know what else to say, except this is absolutely a classic.

     The Amazing Loser: I probably just love music, and that's why this episode really struck a chord, (pardon the metaphor again) but I really believe it's one of the best of the new era. Barret and Priscilla's classic flirting is something AIO hadn't really fully explored until this episode, the musical trivia was exciting and interesting for both music fans (like me) and people who would prefer to sit on the couch and eat. And Jay topped the whole thing off. So, I truly think this is a Modern Classic.

     Childish Things: Penny + Wooton + Jacques Henri + stupid book about body language = BEST EPISODE OF ALBUM 54. Enough said there...

     The Labyrinth: Jason is an interesting character. I'm gonna quote PF on this one:

      "Jason, Jason, Jason! Every darn person around here (The Soda Shop) is Jason-happy! Jason is fantastic as an AIO character, but he fails to stand out much as a fun agent action character. A good children's comic writer or cartoon making team could've constructed his behavior and character when he's being "James Bond."

     I would like to say that PF is absolutely right when he says a children's comic writer could've constructed his personality as an action-adventure hero. But isn't that exactly the point? Jason's supposed to be cliche and goofy, and it's put in a funny, interesting way. Most 8 - 12 year old listeners of AIO aren't allowed to see James Bond, so Jason is an interesting alternative. And The Labyrinth is truly him at his finest. And so, I award it the highly-coveted "Modern Classic" award.

     Mistaken For Good: This is just a nice, nostalgic, relatively slow-paced by AIO standards, touching, and amusing AIO episode that stands out. It's my favorite post-50 episode, as I think it combines some great chemistry and emotions, and is just plain great to listen to. Jay is the highlight of the episode, and with the comic foils of Olivia and Mrs. Kramer, as well as his fascinating relationship with Mrs. Wilson, he is entagled in many things, and Whit Hertford does a stellar job of capturing these complex emotions. And the moral is an interesting one as well. Everything is pitch-perfect and this episode is a certified classic.

     Sgt. York: This episode is everything The Jubillee Singers was... and more. Dave Arnold is a very excellent writer. He managed to pull out a diary and a few books on York along with extensive research, and turned it all into a full-blown epic drama, complete with parental warning, great moral, and relateable, fun characters. The sound design was top-notch, as well as the accents. Overall, Sgt. York is a highlight of the post-hiatus era and deserves the last spot on this list.

     Well, that's it for now. I want to work on my links page, but I shall be busy this weekend, and won't have access to a computer. So, for now, I hope you enjoyed the article.
     Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekly Feature 11/11/12

     Well, I realize I haven't had an interview for a while, but that's all about to change, as I have an interview with Josh and Ally from Out of Control In Odyssey right here. Here it is:

1. I think all readers of your blog know how you were first exposed to Odyssey. But when did Ally start listening?

Ally: Hmmm...well, I've gotta say I started listening when my brother first listened! But of course I was very young and actually not really into it. It didn't really draw me in yet. I'd say, when we went to Colorado Springs, that was when I really became more into it, listening and becoming an AIO lover.

2. How did you first get involved in the AIO online community?

Josh: Well, I knew at first that there was the Official Site, but one day I must have stumbled around on Google and found the Odyssey Scoop! I later found AIO Wiki, Christian A.'s The Voice of Odyssey, and several other blogs. This year, it's been really cool to find a cache of brand new, exciting, original sites that rivals the number when I first started looking!

Ally: Once again, it was Josh who persuaded me to help him do an Odyssey blog. I wasn't really in any online communities before then though.

3. What was your inspiration for Odyssey Nerd?

Josh: Honestly, when I first listened to the Ceiling Fan, I had just started to listen to Odyssey, so I didn't get a lot of the jokes and was like, "What is this?" A couple years later, I relistened to it and realized its awesomeness, and so I kept on listening! We tried out for the Fan Hijack to create your own podcast, but we weren't as prepared, so when the next year came with a new contest to "hijack," we wanted to be ready! My idea was to do some kind of song about how I use AIO phrases in real life, similar to how Star Trek fans say, "Beam me up..." and started out with "I'm an Odyssey nerd, Israel's Jason's codeword"...and we went from there!

Ally: Josh came up with a song about an Odyssey Nerd, because Ethan Daniels, the main character for TCF, says that he is. Also because we both know so much about Odyssey!

4. Why did you decide to start a blog?
Josh: I've always had that little idea in the back of my head, but I wasn't really inspired until I met the actors and fans at the live show. I was on an Odyssey high after we left, and the conversation went like this:

Ally, we should totally start an Odyssey blog!

I wanted to pick up where At Whit's End left off and try to review every single episode, but add my own experiences and knowledge about storytelling. I also wanted to continue my Odyssey Nerd message about using Odyssey references in daily conversation! 

Ally: After the AMAZING, awesome time with the Odyssey actors and fans in Dallas, we were so inspired to do something Odyssey related. Josh had been online looking at other Odyssey blogs and with our previous experiences with blogs, so we decided to go for it!

5. Were you surprised at the extreme success of Out of Control In Odyssey? (Such as your acceptance of two Websters)

Josh: The whole experience of OCO has been amazing. We've been excited and blessed by everyone who has visited and commented on our blog! What we did was to try and fill a niche that wasn't being filled, and we're glad that people have enjoyed that niche, and that we can continue to provide that! 

Ally: I was for sure! I thought it wouldn't reach a lot of people with such a small blog, but as time progressed I saw how our blog had impacted on others. But at the same time I wasn't, because I knew God had plans for this blog, and well I knew our blog would do okay haha. For sure I was surprised and honored to be nominated!! I never expected it and it was just, wow, it was just all God, man.

6. What do you plan on doing with Out of Control In Odyssey in the future?
Josh: We don't have any new plans with the blog - that should continue, and we'll update the Odyssey Phone Book. We are coming up with new features for the overall website, though!


7. Are you planning any other AIO-related or non-related projects in the future?

Josh: We have several big projects that we're hard at work on - one of which we're hoping to get out before the end of the year on the blog (I'm really excited about it!). I'm trying to get a certain AIO actor for my radio show (if you're interested, visit my blog for more information)! Also for radio, I'm working with the Future Leaders Institute to develop a short film and film festival to bring attention to the sanctity of life: rape, abortion, and adoption. I'd love your help, if you're interested!

Ally: If I have time, maybe draw some scenes from AIO episodes, but other than the BLANK, I think...right now: not too much. We don't wanna make too many promises and projects that busy us too much for us not to live our out of odyssey lives. Sadly, I wish we could have some more.

8. Who is your favorite AIO character?
Josh: My favorites are Paul Herlinger's Whit, Connie, and Bernard. I loved his grandfatherly warmth that he brought to the role, and it made Odyssey a very, very special place for me. Connie is a very relatable character, and Bernard is definitely one of the funniest people on the show. I miss you Dave Madden!  

Ally: I actually got a lot. And I will be writing a post about that sometime in the near future! but if I had to choose, Bernard Walton. Sarcastic, funny, loves God, likes to be clean, adventurous, who doesn't like him? Plus he's played by Dave Madden, who's extremely talented!

9. What are some of your favorite AIO episodes?
Josh: There are so many! However, I do have some top eps. My favorite comedy is "Broken Window," my favorite action one is "Exit," my favorite biblical one is "The Perfect Church," and my favorite mystery is "The Pact." I love how Odyssey can continue to bring us quality, faith-affirming, GOOD stories year after year, with great writing. True, sometimes there are rough spots, but Odyssey never fails to make me light up.
Ally: Eugene Returns (about prayer), Malachi's Message (angels), Broken Window, Gloobers, I got a lot haha.

10. If you could have any AIO character return, who would it be and why?

Josh: Hmm...great question. When you say "return," I'm gonna assume you mean from before the relaunch, so my answers are Bernard and Jack! Sadly, I hear that Alan Young is in poor health, but if he recovers, I would love to hear him one last time (and record the openers and closers for all of the Passages series just in case) in Odyssey with Joanne. Dave Madden lives in Florida, so it's tough for him to make it to recording sessions, but I hope that he'll be able to! I really love them because they're two pillars of the show; they move the show forward, they're markers of where the show has come from, and they're part of Odyssey! I feel that Odyssey has seemingly lost a lot of that older generational wisdom - Whit may be wise, but he can't do it all by himself.

Ally: BERNARD, definitely. He just made the show funnier, the way he interacts with the kids and adults with a somewhat sarcasm. Or Tom I wish. ); Tom and Bernard were great together, I loved the way they interacted with each other; great times I'd love to have that again!

11. Have you ever personally met any AIO actors/crew?

Josh: I had the opportunity to meet everyone at the live show, which was truly a remarkable experience. It definitely ranks as one of my top memories. They're all so nice and so personable, and it was a honor to meet them. 

Ally: Yes! Nathan Hoobler was our tour guide at Focus on the Family in 2007, we met all the actors at Dallas (Katie Leigh was soo sweet, Chris bubbly as ever). Man, I wish I could meet them all again, plus more of the actors!

12. How has AIO impacted your spiritual life?
Josh: Oh my. I'm really similar to Katie Leigh in the fact that God uses these stories to speak to me. Most recently, this year, I'm a junior, and I'm often worried about what God wants to do with my life and what I should major in..."Great Expectations" spoke to me about how God uses our goals and dreams for his purposes, and to leave it up to Him. But many episodes have been listened to just at the right time, and hey, God has a funny sense of humor about doing that.
Ally: Hearing the characters stories, the way they portray it, say it, make it feel, it just brings me all back to God. Their lessons are so great, and what I think helps is that (even though I like happy endings way better), they show how times of sorrows approach and how the characters feel. Sometimes it's like God's way of saying "See Ally, this character didn't trust in me when he/she could've. You CAN trust me" I feel that I wouldn't be the same person if I didn't listen to AIO. AIO showed me God's worked in our lives in so many ways, and the great adventure isn't over yet.

     I do hope you enjoyed that! I would like to thank Josh and Ally for agreeing to do this and giving such long, great answers! I wish I could tell you I have an AIC out, but... I don't. However, it should be out next week! There's a big surprise in Installment 12 that you don't want to miss. Whoops... I've said too much already. ;)
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekly Review: The Bible Network 11/10/12

     I realize I'm a week behind; I suppose I'll just finish up the season reviews a week after "Push the Red Button" airs. However, here's my review of The Bible Network...

     "You are listening to The Bible Network. We're all Bible, all the time." That was the first line from this episode, and it pretty much sums up the whole thing. Who else got tired of that announcer guy by the end? He reminded me of those annoying advertisers on TV. Maybe it was the voice...
     Anyway, this whole episode was basically a "Hidden In My Heart" spoof. I honestly don't have a huge problem with this, as the episodes were different enough to stand out, and I quite honestly thought "The Bible Network" was just a tad bit funnier than "Hidden In My Heart". In fact, I would go as far as to say that "The Bible Network" is the funniest AIO episode since "The Triangled Web". I laughed out loud at every one of these sketches, and I thought all but the 2nd taught a very valuable lesson. I'll elaborate on that later.
     The episode begins with Connie once again over the airwaves. It's interesting how Connie started announcing Kid's Radio with "The Twilight Zone" only because Whit was gone. But gradually, she became the signature announcer, and Whit was almost dropped entirely from Kid's Radio. I prefer this, as Connie has a nice radio voice.
     Maybe it was because I just listened to "The Devil Made Me Do It" a couple nights ago, but the first sketch of this episode seemed quite reminiscent of the Guilttrip Jeopardy! sketch in that episode, if only because they're both game shows. As I said before, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, only a neutral note. I found the various panelists simply delightful, and I laughed at almost all of their answers. Panelist #4's answer was stellar, and one of the funniest and cleverest lines in the episode. And, naturally, we had the upholder of Biblical truths, who taught a helpful, albeit obvious, lesson. I actually took away more from this episode than I normally do, as it inspired me to read my Bible more.
     The 2nd sketch was also entertaining, but I found it to be the worst of the three. I found it the least interesting with its repetitiveness, and the overall theme was a bit unclear. I didn't really get any valuable lesson from it, only a few random Bible verses. I understand what the writers were trying to communicate through the sketch, but I don't think it ended up the way the wanted it to be. It ultimately just sounded like a silly crime show with a little message thrown in, and it didn't have the power of the "Hidden In My Heart" sketches. But that's just my opinion.
     The 3rd sketch was superior in nearly every way to the first two. I think it could quite possibly contain some of the funniest moments in AIO history, and it really took a little time to explain the moral in the midst of the humor. There was always something fresh and funny with each scene, and the final scene tied everything up nicely, though it was a bit predictable. This conversation is great:

          DRILL SERGENT: Rick!

          RICK: Hi.

          DRILL SERGENT: How much have you - Hi what?

          RICK: Hi... sir.

          DRILL SERGENT: How much of your Bible have you read?

         RICK: Well, you know, I was just changing my clothes, and -

          DRILL SERGENT: Is the name of this program the "Change Your Clothes Boot Camp"?

          RICK: No... sir.

     So, what are my final thoughts on Kid's Radio's latest installment? It's a winner. The final sketch makes up for the 2nd, in my opinion... And overall, the episode is just a perfect homage to old Kid's Radio.

     The Bible Network Rating: 8/10

     Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 5, 2012

AIO Article: The Land of the Free 11/5/12

    Sorry this took so long, (I should've had it up 6 days ago) but here's PF's latest edition: (it wouldn't copy, so just click on the link):

The Land of the Free

    Thanks for reading!