Monday, February 24, 2020

Hit The Bricks episodes 1 and 2 review

As of now, the first two episodes of Hit the Bricks are available on podcast platforms. We've talked about the podcast before, even talked to the writer/director on the Royal Podcast of Oz, but now we can actually review the first two episodes.

Hit the Bricks is a new audio drama podcast featuring a new story set in modern times. Young Jessi Hugson has recently moved to Kansas from San Francisco. She becomes fast friends with her cousin Wallace Williams. During a storm, the two cousins are blown to Oz.

However, it's an Oz that has changed. Dorothy and Ozma are missing and Jack Pumpkinhead now runs the Emerald City. Something very bad has happened to Oz and it seems that Jessi and Wallace will be drawn into the mystery before they can get back home.

There's not much else to say about the plot without getting into spoiler territory. As it's a free to access story, if this is interesting to you, by all means, check it out.

Jessi and Wallace are a nice pair of characters. Jessi has a bit of an edge but is generally kind and helpful. Wallace is a very sweet guy and quite thoughtful. The Oz characters are so far pretty in line with their characterizations from the book. There's a "busker" in the second episode who's listed as "The Musicker," but jury's out as to if this is Allegro De Capo as the song he sings is actually fairly well performed. Maybe he's improved.

Speaking of songs, there are songs. Some of these are songs the characters listen to, many are songs they sing. They're good, and fairly easy to listen to. If they wanted to maybe release an album of them on Bandcamp, go for it.

This has a good sound design that helps tell the original story. The performances clearly get across the dialogue and help you buy the characters. So, it's a good time.

That said, if listening to it isn't quite your thing, you can find the scripts of each episode on the website.

There is also an episode 0 serving as a pilot that is technically a prequel to the series, and on commenting on that, I gave a quote for them to use: "Hit The Bricks displays a rich knowledge of L. Frank Baum's world along with a readiness to create new stories relevant to modern audiences." After listening to the first two proper episodes, I stand by that.

There's a lot of Easter Eggs for people who know their Oz lore and history. One kicks in right with the first moments of the first episode. Jessi is listening to a song she says is by "Aunt Jane's Nieces," her favorite band. Those knowledgeable about Baum's works outside of the Oz series know that this is the name of a series (and the first book of it) that he wrote under a pseudonym. That's only just the start.

So, I've listened to the episodes multiple times already. Guess I was craving a new, good Oz story.

So, go hit iTunes or whatever service you use to listen to podcasts and Hit the Bricks!