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Grab your AIO albums, and find a table! What makes your favorite episode the best? Have an episode you really dislike? This is the place to review and discuss AIO episodes and albums.
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Opinion on Post-Novacom

Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:45 pm

I posted this on my AIO tumblr sideblog and thought I'd share it here and get some opinions.

Speaking bluntly, I really don’t get the dislike/ambivalence that some people have for post-Novacom Odyssey. I mean, sure, it wasn’t 100% stellar, but there are some problems with Novacom, too. Some of the best episodes the show has ever produced were in Albums 46-50: “Dead Ends”, “The Poor Rich Guy”, “A Cheater Cheated”, “Switch”, “Now More Than Ever”, “Cover of Darkness”, “Out of Our Hands”, “Blood, Sweat, and Fears”, “The Nudge”, “Bernard and Jeremiah”, “Mum’s the Word”, “The Family Next Door”, “The Chosen One”, “Only By His Grace”, “The Top Floor”, “The Other Side of the Glass”, and pretty much everything in Albums 49 and 50.

I mean…is the criticism largely dedicated to Albums 39-43? I mean, granted, taken holistically they’re not that good, but they’re not that bad, either. They gave us some pretty good episodes (“Room Enough for Two”, “The Mystery at Tin Flat”, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?”, “Something Blue”, “Living in the Gray”, “Sounds Like a Mystery”, “A Glass Darkly”, “The Coolest Dog”), and while I can understand that after Novacom they fell a bit flat, well, that’s to be expected. It’s not Novacom anymore.

Does the criticism also include Albums 44-50, and there’s just something everyone else gets that I’m missing? I mean, I could accept that, just by looking at some of the things people were writing about the shows at the time, but those things included whining and complaining nonstop about Audrey Wasilewski as Katrina’s voice actress, and I remember one fan even blaming Paul Herlinger because of a problem with the way Whit’s character was written in “Blood, Sweat, and Fears” (so like, y’know, a concern that has absolutely nothing to do with Paul Herlinger and everything to do with Kathy Buchanan?). So I can’t exactly take all of those opinions as reliable, either.

I’m not accusing anyone in particular of anything, and I believe that everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But even though I grew up on AIO as a whole, Albums 40-50 are the ones I fell in love with, and I personally enjoy them, even the episodes that aren’t necessarily that good. It’s exactly what I think AIO should be—a slice-of-life series that tackles both light and heavy topics through the lens of Christianity, with a bit of excitement and some ongoing storylines mixed in, and I really don’t get why people are so quick to lambaste them.

And that’s not to say I hate Novacom, because I don’t; I just really don’t want a world-domination-through-technology plot to be our metric for what a show about the adventures of Christians navigating through life in a nominally small town should be.

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:29 am

I didn't even know there was hate directed toward these albums! That's unfortunate because personally, that series of albums are easily my favorite out of the other groups of albums that I mentally put together. In my opinion, all the sagas in these albums are absolutely beautiful! Wooton and Grady, Mandy's Parents, David Strausberg should have a saga all to himself because he's a gorgeously realistic character, Leonard! Kelly! For me, they're all wonderful, feel good episodes that I can't get enough of. I'm not saying they're all perfect, maybe I just ignore the ones I don't like as much, but I really love most of them! It also makes me mad when people hate on Audrey! She is literally my favorite voice actor! Personally, I like her voice better than Pamela's. I don't know why, especially since I heard Pamela as Katrina long before Audrey, but I think Audrey just sounds more like what Katrina should sound like. She's also a fantastic actor who plays one of the strongest characters in Odyssey and deserves to do so. I can understand people getting annoyed just because Pamela and Audrey sound so different, it bugs me as well, but like I said before, since I prefer Audrey's Katrina, then I'm quite comfortable with it. Heh, sorry to rant for so long about Katrina but really would you expect any less from me about a Meltsner?

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:19 am

I didn't know that people sent hate towards those albums either. I knew that people had to re-adjust to the slice-of-life thing after Novacom was over courtesy of TV Tropes, but I actually really enjoyed those albums. A lot.

I enjoy slice-of-life stories because they can just keep going and going and the characters continue to grow as I do since my favorite element of any entertainment medium is usually the characters. That said I actually can understand why some people don't enjoy the rest of the series as much. The tone that Novacom gave us was very heavy, and the writers did a good job at setting up how scary this company was, and kept upping the ante. There wasn't just the threat of taking over the world either, but there was a lot of character drama as well. Aubery and Erika, Connie and Mitch, Jason and Monica, etc.. It was a very well-compacted storyline; it had action, but it didn't leave out the quieter character moments so you would stay invested and care about what happened to them. There is still that drama in the show of course, but there was a lot of underlying context to it that can makes it more interesting.

I think it all just comes down to personal taste in the end. Some people like epic "let's save the world" storylines, and other people like the slice-of-life episodes that AIO's always been. …And temporarily wasn't. As I said before, I really like what AIO is, but I love epic "let's save the world" storylines too. It can be really jarring to suddenly go from "let's disable the Imagination Station so this evil company won't take over the entire planet by means of mind control!" to intimate character pieces. I hope I explained myself well enough, I'm really tired. cx

I live under the proverbial rock when it comes to the AIO fanbase so could go into more detail about the criticisms for this particular era please?

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:00 am

The complaints were, in all honestly, nothing unusual if you looked at them in comparison to the complaints by a lot of fanbases; I think that a lot of them really boil down to "they changed it, now it sucks".

The introduction of the Washingtons kind of rankled some people, especially when Alex and Cal disappeared, and I never really got why, other than "they're not the Barclays". Trent DeWhite also arrived, and was unfortunately seen by many as a poor man's Jared (which, come to think of it, might have something to do with why I don't care very much for Jared; I genuinely found Trent to be much more appealing). The fandom's collective heads exploded when "Something Blue" premiered, and I think there might be some residual bitterness, at least toward that specific arc. (Maybe that's a bit unfair. I dunno. But then again, I've also been in the Harry Potter fandom for almost a decade; disliking an entire story arc because your ship got sunk is honestly kind of understandable and probably one of the least petty things I've seen shippers do.)

Now, that's not to say that there weren't some legitimate issues. Eugene still hadn't returned, and for the first time, we actually felt his absence—because for the first time in 450 episodes, the show had to actually react to the fact that Will Ryan was gone and it didn't look like he would be back for the foreseeable future. Novacom could get away with it by Eugene basically being The Ghost, clearly impacting the story without being a physical presence, but now he wasn't playing any kind of role anymore. He just wasn't there, and the writers had to figure out how to deal with it. As one reviewer noted, it did kind of feel like Connie was being forced to carry the show on her back, and got shoved into whatever role suited her—wise mentor one minute, resident ditz the next. Wooton also got pushed more and more to the forefront, and his character as a whole tends to be pretty hit-or-miss. Plus, there was the fact that, to be honest, some of those episodes were mediocre at best, but while we might be able to ignore them in a normal season, the fact was that these seasons came after the action frenzy that was Novacom, and people seemed to be expecting more of that as opposed to something more like what AIO's...kind of always been.

So do I think some of the criticism is fair? Yes, but I think a lot of it has more to do with the context of when those episodes came out and the natural tendencies of people to engage in fannish behaviors like knee-jerk reactions to characters leaving or changing, or a ship getting sunk (or confirmed). Novacom wasn't honestly that tough of an act to follow, because the writers had dealt with the denouement of a saga beforehand. I think a lot of the animosity directed at post-Novacom, especially 39-43, might be a bit tamer if it weren't for what the show was jumping off from, and the fact that fans had expectations that simply weren't going to be met because that's not what the writers wanted.

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:19 am

Actually, I personally thought that the best of Odyssey was in between Novacom and Album 50.

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:46 pm

I noticed that in the AIO Wiki poll the 2nd worst voted for era was Album 44-50 (The worst voted for was Albums 1-3) I voted for it myself. So, what are our opinions on this era?

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:57 pm

I mean, I think you've got a pretty good idea of some of them just from the previous posts, so I guess the question is, what do you think about it?

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:39 pm

I really like this era of episodes. It really captures the essential Odyssey (I am listening to listen to Aloha Oy) and the Washingtons are my favorite Odyssey family. What really irks me is that Jacob Isom's reviews hated on Trent and the Washingtons so much, and honestly I didn't really like the new era because they dropped the Washingtons. But I felt it was pretty good after 53.

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:48 pm

Hi. I'm here momentarily. First, some comments:

1). Tiger, your sarcasm is so refreshing. I've missed it.
2). My life has been rushing past at a bewildering rate of speed, and I have not had time to listen to Odyssey in years, much less listen to whole albums to discern the subtleties that distinguish the eras and epochs of the show.
3). I still have to throw my hat into the ring here.

Every single era of Adventures in Odyssey has its problems, just like every other era of absolutely anything that exists upon this planet. We as humans like to denigrate certain things because we lack objectivity. For instance, we only remember the positive about that which we feel a closeness to, and as such can only see the negative about that with which we struggle to accept or digest. I can honestly say that I do not have this problem when it comes to Odyssey, for my mind grasps the show as a vague and formless whole. My memories of specific things surface out of that nebula, and only when prompted by something deliberate or subconscious.

Albums 39-43 was an uneventful time by comparison to Novacom. However, many things pop into my head upon just a superficial probing.

Ed Washington and the journey that he launched his family on when he took over Whit's End, Connellsville.
The American Revelation, refreshing on both counts of being an Imagination Station adventure and an historical episode. These two categories are Odyssian mainstays, and needed to be released as a part of the return to normalcy in our favorite Midwestern town.
Connie and Joanne's road trip. Even though it ended in a breakup and the loss of what many considered to be the show's heartthrob and dream couple, this story arc served its purpose beautifully. In my mind, at least, two ladies in a vehicle for hours spending time together is ordinary life. I have had the opportunity to go on extended driving trips with a number of friends and acquaintances. Those are precious times, something that is remembered years later. Sure, it isn't dynamic; but it is what people do. Normal people. The kind of people that the show is meant to connect and sympathize with. On another note, the trip distracted from the ultimate concern of Mitch's departure. A similar plot device was used when a certain janitor and computer geek drove to California while another fan favorite left.
No Way Out/No Way In. Lester. What more can I say?

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:31 pm

The Old Judge wrote:1). Tiger, your sarcasm is so refreshing. I've missed it.

Aw, thanks, friend. ^_^ You do flatter me.

Also, your perspective is articulate and unique as usual; you think about things in a way not a lot of other people do, but it's refreshingly down-to-earth. And here I was thinking we were about to throw down like the good ol' days. ;)

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:40 pm

I throw down with people in real life now. I come here to remember what once was.

Another important point about Albums 39-43 was that they allowed us to see more of Wooton. Novacom not only saw him introduced in its midst, but also sidelined by it. Yes, he was goofy and obnoxious in those episodes. For those who consider that a fault on its respective time, please remember something important: Without said episodes and their immaturity, we could never have so clearly seen and appreciated Wooton's character development to its climax with Grady and the McKays.

Re: Opinion on Post-Novacom

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:04 pm

Just a fact the BEST reviewed episode on the AIOHQ (no longer updated, but has reviews on the 39-43 episodes and album 44) was Stubborn Streaks, a normal slice of life episode with a plot centering around Mandy and Liz's feud and another surrounding Bernard.
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