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 Post subject: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:13 pm 
Butter Pecan
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What, in your own words, would you say was the golden age of Odyssey? To make it easier for you, I'll split AIO up into several ages, and you can pick which one you think is the best:

1. Pre-Christian Age (Albums 1 - 3): This is basically the short period of time before Connie became a Christian. I don't think anyone thinks this is the best, but I decided to add it anyway.

2. Early Smith Age (Albums 4 - 12): The age with the old kid characters, and the old theme song, where AIO was quite different and used different story ideas, and no one's voice had changed.

3. Smith Age (Albums 13 - 20): The age of the new theme song, when Hal Smith was still on the show, but the stories could be different and there were different kids than there were in 1 - 12.

4. J & J Age (Albums 21 - 28): I call this the J & J Age, or the Jack and Jason Age, when Hal was gone and so was Whit. Many say it's the best age, but I'll leave it up for you to decide.

5. Early Herlinger Age (Albums 29 - 31): The very short period of time when Odyssey had new kids, who didn't stick around for a while. This was also the time when Herlinger was getting into the part of Whit.

6. Jansen Age (Albums 32 - 34): The short period when Al Jansen took over as Producer and a lot of downer episodes were made. But there are still some highlight two-parters: Malachi's Message, Telemachus, Blackgaard's Revenge, and Passages.

7. Novacom Age (Albums 35 - 38): The epic rebirth of Odyssey when Paul McCusker took over in the form of the Novacom Saga. This also had some great normal episodes, like The Great Wishy Woz, The Triangle, and Happy Smilers.

8. Pre-Eugene Age (Albums 39 - 43): The age when things had settled down, but Eugene wasn't back. Some great new characters were introduced as well, such as Trent and the Washingtons.

9. Eugene Age (Albums 44 - 50): The age where Eugene was possibly the most prominent character on the show. It featured the amazing Best Small Town, as well as the Eugene's
Father Saga.

10. Reboot Age (Albums 51 - 56 and beyond): The age when AIO completely rebooted just about everything, from Whit's actor, to the kids, to other characters, to the town in general.

I know that's a wide range of ages, but I wanted some seriously narrowed-down choices. If you want me to, I could set up a poll. So tell me, what's your favorite age out of those choices? I'll tell you mine after a couple of posts have been made.

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Last edited by ArnoldtheRubberDucky on Wed May 29, 2013 6:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:18 pm 
Mint Chocolate Chip
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I would have to say: a toss up between 9 & 10.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:20 pm 
Butter Pecan
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Hmm... interesting. I wouldn't say I completely agree with you, but I can see where how you would like both of those. I love 9, but the reboot, at least in my opinion, is not as good as some of the early classics. So my favorite is probably... either J & J, Novacom, or Eugene.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Either #4 or #7 :) I really like the Blackgaard and the Novacom sagas!

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:09 pm 
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Those are great divisions, CreativeThinker!

My favorite era is the early Smith albums (4-12) by far. I love the old Odyssey. I know that there are many other great albums, but to me, this is the only era where every album hits the nail on the proverbial head.

Next would come 13-20, followed closely by the Jason and Jack era. Jack is probably my third favorite character, beaten only by Lucy and Dr. Blackgaard.

Next would come Novacom, then the Pre-Christian era, then the Early Helinger Age. Then would come the modern era, with the pre-Eugene, Eugene, and Jensen eras trailing far behind.

As a general rule of thumb, the beginning era comes first for me, with my interest in the following eras declining slowly but surely.

So, for me, the Golden Age is right after they started, and it fades steadily after that. The Novacom series staved off the approaching Dark Ages, but it could not hold them off forever. The reboot picked things up, and I have yet to classify it completely. I may call it the Confused Era*, or the Quick Thrills era*, but neither of these fit quite right.

*These would mainly refer to 51 and 52, possibly stretching beyond those.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:18 am 
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I'd have to go with 7 and 9. The events after (and leading up to) Eugene's return were some of the most memorable and emotional AIO moments I've experienced. The whole memory sequence in the imagination station still gets my eyes watering every time.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:27 pm 
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i'd have to say 5, 7, and 9


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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Thanks for commenting, everybody! I enjoyed all of your thoughts.

There seems to be a running pattern in that everyone put the Novacom saga (7) in their Top 3. This is, of course, to be expected, since Novacom is so awesome, but I was surprised how few people chose J & J, as many fans I know have chosen that as their favorite. So keep commenting, guys! I want to hear your thoughts!

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:29 pm 
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This is really hard! I was listening to episodes from the Smith age recently, and I would definitely saw that is one of my favorites. I grew up with the J & J age, so that is one of my favorites too. I love the Eugene era (for obvious reasons :D:), although I didn't care for Grady all that much. Yet Novacom is classic! Can I have 4? :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Haha! Sure! I understand how difficult it can be to choose. And yes, the Smith Age has some of my favorite episodes, like You Gotta Be Wise and ...And the Glory.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Interesting. I was actually always quite disappointed with the "Eugene Age" - as you call it. I just remember some pretty weak albums, such as "A date with Dad", and the Washington family never winning me over...they never felt true-to-life. The episodes where Eugene searches for his father are merely good - never really great. A few episodes stand-out, such as Mandy's drama with her parents. But the series felt like it was going on auto-pilot, with many weak slice of life episodes that just felt like just two split-episodes meshed together.

I actually find the quality of the episodes in the "Reboot Age" age better. It still has its problems, and could use a few adjustments here and there to achieve perfection, but it's brought back a slower pace and finer slice of life shows. Hasn't anyone else noticed that most of today's slice-of-life episodes have largely abandoned this idea of squeazing two story-lines into one episode? Anyway, the kid characters today also feel much more united - like they're actually a big group of friends, whereas Mandy, Marvin, Grady, and Kelly - never actually seemed to intermingle very much or really be friends with each other. There was also an over-abundance of Wooton and the shows seemed a little fast-paced. Dramatically, today's shows just feel slightly better. Thoughts?

I enjoyed the "Pre- Eugene" age because it seemed like it had a lot of potential. The Mitch/Connie relationship was somewhat interesting. Nick was still an employee. Aubrey was still around. Xavier was an interesting sub-plot for the Washingtons. Alex Jefferson (a great kid character)was still around. Jared was still popping in and out bugging Mandy and Liz. Overall, I enjoyed these elements the Novacom Saga had put into place, and it looked like the show was going in an interesting direction-- but things sortv'e wavered and faded away once Eugene came. Did Eugene's arrival kill a lot of these elements? Not single-handedly, no. But Eugene's return did suck up a lot of attention. Perhaps that's why I always felt a little bitter about the impact of "Eugene-age", despite the fact it brought back a classic character.

But to answer the original question, my favourite ages would be 1+2+3+4 for nostalgic reasons. I'm also quite fond of album 31, 32 (for the great Jared/Dwayne dynamic) and, of course, the Novacom Saga. I think we need to wait another album or two to judge how great the "Reboot Age" is.


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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:00 pm 
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I love the J&J age (in my opinion, that was some of the best writing), the Smith age, and the Eugene age. ^.^ Good topic!

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:53 pm 
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The fact that everyone seems to have their own opinion on this subject just makes me love this show even more. The fact that it can have so much appeal to such a wide range of audiences is simply incredible.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:10 am 
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I know, Aaron! And thank you, Ben, for that amazing post. I would have to say I pretty much agree with you. I enjoyed some of the squeezing two stories in one episode episodes, such as Top This!, but I wouldn't say the two-story Broken-Armed and Dangerous was up to scratch, as well as some of the other Eugene era episodes. However, I still think Switch, the Eugene Search For His Father, Mandy's Parents Arch, and other episodes made the Eugene era quite memorable. As for the Pre-Eugene Era, yes, I would say that it was great.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:54 pm 
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J&J or Novacom


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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:27 pm 
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Very clever, Mr. Thinker, and you seem to have put a bit of work into this.
It's very fascinating to try and get this specific...
I'd have to say the "J&J era." The characters that started coming on stage around that time are just the characters that I think of when I think AIO. Liz, Lucy, Bernard, Jack, Jared... sure, everyone was in their early stages, but that's part of what makes it interesting. So one has to have a great deal of love for this era. Our old friends are all here, and we can go back and watch them grow... again. Just as beautifully as when we first heard them.
But the new era works its way into one's heart, if you let it. After all, this is where new things are happening. This is where we can find out who's going where, and what is now going to happen. And things are more funny then ever, Mrs. Kramer and other characters just make the show laugh-out-loud. So, basically... the new era is where we go to find freshness, a little glow of special warmth. And, yes, there's a great deal that's different that is sometimes difficult to accept.
After all, without change, what would the shows be about?

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:23 am 
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Thanks, PF! But I must say that I don't share your belief that the new era is 'funnier than ever'. I believe I have laughed out loud in a grand total of 3 episodes in the new era: GRC Pt. 5, (The truck scene with Jay and Buck) Childish Things, and Something Old, Something New. This is perhaps because, though I laugh at many things and find many things funny, I don't find the jokes AIO is telling now to be very funny at all. I always hope that the newest episode will be laugh out loud funny, but when it isn't, at least to me, I become discouraged and go listen to Top This! or Do Or Diet and remember that AIO can make me laugh out loud, but for some reason, it's not doing it now. This is even more puzzling because it's basically the same team of writers. I was in a way surprised that Child's Play was not a hilarious episode, as I was hoping it would be. This isn't to say I hate the new age, I just don't think it's good for laughs. Even Mrs. Kramer didn't generate a chuckle from my mouth. Let me know where I'm wrong, but I would say the funniest era is not the era of AIO we're in now. I would go as far as to say that it's one of the least funniest. But as I said before, I don't find some things funny, so maybe it's just personal taste.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:52 am 
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You've opened up a whole different can of worms. I haven't actually thought about whether the reboot is funnier/less funny. I do know, however, that there are still things that make me laugh.

We must also remember that, as you said, that writers are still the same (for the most part). What's changed have been the characters . Jimmy wasn't necessarily a "comedian" like Wooton, but he made me laugh because of how true-to-life he was. Bernard Walton made me laugh because of how cynical about life he was. We've lost comedic duos like Shakespeare and Edwin, and even the occasional hilarity from Bart, Edwin, Brian Dern, Nick, and Harlow. Even Jack Allen made me laugh. A lot of the humour was from not necessarily from "comedic' characters (aside from Harlow), but it was spread out throughout characters, and then gave them moments to be serious.

I think the humour today might be a little more strongly channelled through Wooton and Penny - but it's more of an absurdist sort of humour than it is subtle -- I admit I don't find it quite as funny. Jay certainly has a little more of a believable, relatable humour that I enjoy...which is a step in the right direction.


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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:28 pm 
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While the writers haven't changed, sometimes the writing changes. For example, often when a character voice changes, the character itself is written differently. We've seen this through the three incarnations of Whit, Katrina (seemingly not as intelligent-sounding), Aubrey (not as annoying), and Olivia (not as annoying). With this reboot in mind, to some listeners, including myself, it does seem as if the writers have tailored their writing more toward 8-12 listeners. Now, that's fine, well, and good, since the show is meant for them, but I think it's possible to write for all ages and have those 8-12 listeners enjoy it just as much. The best example I can think of is Toy Story 3 (which was nominated for Best Picture), a movie about toys that also subminally discussed life after death, loss, imagination, love, being wanted, dignity...these are all themes that anyone can relate to. It's disguised as a "kids movie," but the movie is crafted for everyone. That's what I love about Odyssey, and why I was disappointed with the first couple albums after the relaunch. Like Ben said, humor was spreadout through the characters. It wasn't always so intentional; it was natural - and hilarious. Albums 51-53 seemed to purposely try to make the listener laugh, which didn't make me chuckle. It almost felt at times like the writer was communicating via brain waves..."Come on, come on...laugh here!" As the writing was aimed more toward tweens, the humor seemed almost dumbed down at certain times.

Quote:
Ben Warren: "Forgiving More...or Less" features one of the most painfully awkward moments in Adventures in Odyssey history. The moment is awkward because John Avery Whittaker, my childhood hero and role model, says one of the most embarrassing jokes I've ever heard: "Big Scoop? I've got one here for the Ice Cream! Har. Har". Surely Camilla could have laughed. Someone could have laughed. Do we really want Whit to be portrayed as a bumbling, out of touch, geezer? If I remember correctly, the Whit I grew up with was a relatively funny guy who knew how to say a clever joke. Sigh. I suppose even role models say bad jokes, too.


I don't say all of this to bash the relaunch, but to lead to the current time in Odyssey history. Since Album 54, the writing has began to go back to those roots of Odyssey humor, of placing moments of laughter in between moments of happiness, and sadness, between many different moments. Jay's sense of humor finally won me over in Unbecoming Jay, and I loved the new dimension to his already multi-dimensional character in Mistaken for Good. The last two scenes of The Labyrinth were terrific, and I loved the dramedy balance in To Mend or Repair. Something Old, Something New took that approach as well with the comedy aspect of the Jones and Parker Detective Agency (finally, a case I was interested in...with the hilarious Penny as an excellent addition to the case) and the thoughtful, dramatic aspect with Connie. There were also great slapstick moments and a great end scene with Whit and Connie. Penny has been my favorite addition to the cast, as she adds to the list of characters who don't purposely mean to be funny RIGHT THIS INSTANT, but naturally IS Penny with her wonderful dialogue read by Kimmy Robertson.

Going with CT's comment, I don't agree as well that the new era is "funnier than ever." I have laughed out loud at Unbecoming Jay, To Mend or Repair (the terrific Mitzi McCall as Mrs. Kramer, another great addition), and Something Old, Something New. As we prepare to hear The Grand Design this fall (unless you abandoned your radio ways and BOUGHT THE DOWNLOAD EARLY...sigh...), the new era might not be "funnier than ever," but it's getting there.

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 Post subject: Re: The Golden Age of Odyssey
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:57 pm 
Butter Pecan
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I just listened to some Album 51 episodes for the first time in a couple of years, and my theory is even more clear to me. AIO, at least back then, was trying to force jokes up its listeners throats, and I didn't appreciate the pointless addition of Wooton in a couple of the episodes just to make the audience laugh. But it didn't work for me. I just didn't find it funny.

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