Warning: Mild Spoilers for “Darkest Night” by The Paragon Collective.
Holding strong with a 4.5/5 rating on iTunes, “Darkest Night” is directed and produced by Alex Aldea and Victor Figueroa, written by several different people, and features amazing voice actors along with guest appearances from people like David Cummings (The No Sleep Podcast), Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story), Missi Pyle (The Artist), RuPaul, Michelle Visage and Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. It also features an intense and suspenseful soundtrack composed by Aldea and Andrew Joslyn with Foley (sound effects) and sound design by Figueroa and Aldea.
When I describe “Darkest Night” to someone, I usually open with, “Saw”-like corporate espionage. It’s a gory, stomach-turning story that doesn’t need to show a single picture. The Foley work is what makes this show so good, on top of the intertwining stories that come together perfectly in the season finale. There are two seasons, with the second being more intense and a little bit deeper, but not as good in my opinion — even though it leads to the possibility of a third season a lot better than season one did moving into the second. Without spoiling it, for those who are already sold, what makes “Darkest Night” such a binge-worthy podcast, is that you kinda need to get the full effect/remember all the little things that help you piece together the story.
I will recount the basic plot, leading into a quick explanation of the first episode, followed by a helpful hint. So, skip the section “More spoilers” if you want to listen to the show without knowing too much, and read “Minor Spoilers” and “Less Spoilers” if you need a little more convincing. Read at your own risk.
To Binge or Not to Binge:
Down in the labyrinthian halls of the Roth Lobdow Center for Advanced Research, we meet a new researcher and the protagonist of our story, Katie Reed. Reed has been assigned to work alongside Dr. John Kinsler on the secretive “Project Cyclops.” For their daily project, the pair is given the severed head from a recently deceased individual. They are tasked with removing blood from the ocular nerve located behind the eyeball and placing it in a machine that plays back the last few minutes before their death. This playback is the bulk of the episode, leading the two researchers to discuss what they just watched. Katie starts to question what “Project Cyclops” is really showing her, whereas Dr. Kinsler is skeptical about her conspiracy theories.
The first episode’s head shows the will reading of Dr. Clinton Lobdow, and how Dr. Lobdow has a game for his three children Vivian, Clair and Oscar, to play before he gives up his wealth and control of the company. This is where it is the most “Saw”-like. The three beneficiaries of the will are tasked to kill the other two in a twisted bloodsport, ensuring the company goes to the smartest and most resourceful. The catch is that the house is booby trapped, causing several injuries during the game, giving us our first taste of some of the spine-tingling Foley work. The malicious banter between the siblings gives us a glimpse into the history of the Lobdow family and the Center, as well as foreshadowing the future of the series. It’s kind of a give away as to what is, or rather, what has happened, but the journey is the fun part.
By my calculations, we should be getting news about the third season any second now, if it is to exist at all. I hope it will because I want to know what happens with Vivian, Savannah and the showdown. “Darkest Nights” is definitely a binge-worthy podcast.
Please listen to it with a nice pair of headphones. The stereoscopic listening offers a better experience. Every gory crunch and evil whisper filling your ears will make the show 10 times more immersive.
Best Episode: Episode 10: Hostile Takeover. This is the season one finale, where it all comes crashing down. All the deaths, like a trail of breadcrumbs laid down by a sociopath, leading to the mastermind of everything. It’s one of those episodes that makes you think about the show as a whole.
Similar Podcasts: “The No Sleep Podcast,” “We’re Alive,” “The Final Party” and “Eventide Tales.”
Trigger Warnings: death, gore, language, drug use and torture.
20 Episodes — roughly 10 hours.
Where to Listen:
iTunes: If you are an Apple/Mac user, you can look for “Darkest Night” using the iTunes app or the Podcast app on your iPhone.
Google Play: For those using Android or the Google family of products, you can listen through the Google Play App.
Spotify: Spotify is showing podcasts now. They do not have the largest selection, but “Darkest Night” is on it currently.
Soundcloud: Did you know this was a thing? I didn’t for a while, but it’s there. You can go to the Soundcloud website and search for “Darkest Night.”
Darkestnight.com: They also have a website where you can listen to all the episodes, read the scripts and buy merchandise.