Catch Up on Adventures in Odyssey
If you last time you heard the audio drama Adventures in Odyssey was when John Avery Whittaker was voiced by Hal Smith or Paul Herlinger, you have some catching up to do. AIO began in 1987 and has gone through many changes since then. Voice actors have come and gone, epic story arcs have been set up and then resolved, and the little town of Odyssey has seen its citizenry change, with new characters appearing and older ones disappearing.
The most recent shift came in 2010 after the end of a two year hiatus. Actor Andre Stojka debuted as the third voice of Mr. Whittaker, the series' logo and theme tune were updated, and families like the Washingtons, Straussbergs and McKays faded away to be replaced by the Parkers and the Jones. Stories began which have developed into their own compelling story arcs to be enjoyed by new generations of people.
If you've been away from listening to the show for a few years, it might be daunting to try to get back into it again. Should you start with the most recent episodes? Or should you backtrack slightly to better understand what's going on? The stories in the most recent Odyssey albums tend to flow into the next albums and it might get confusing if you haven't heard what came before. So if the latest release isn't the place to start, what is?
Where to Begin (Again)
There are a number of different places you could begin, but I've narrowed that down to three suggestions. The following is that list of starting places, and once you choose one you should probably listen consecutively to the albums released after it.
Album 51: Take It From the Top is a natural starting point to begin your journey back to Adventures in Odyssey because that is exactly what it was meant to be. It was dubbed "The Relaunch" and designed to be an entry way into the series. It spends a lot of time on allowing the audience to get to know the new characters and get a feel for what the show has developed into over these many years. It came out in 2010 and was the first album to be released following the hiatus. It is not, however, an essential album to understand later story arcs. So if you'd rather not start this far back in the series, rest assured that you won't be missing any crucial plot points.
An important album to understanding long-term character development and unfolding story arcs is Album 53: The Green Ring Conspiracy. If you're going to start anywhere, this is the ideal place to do it. You won't find the variety of a normal AIO album here, as this one is entirely focused on mystery and intrigue, but you will find the beginnings of stories here which have carried on in every album afterwards. It features the introduction of important characters and themes which diverge off into their own adventures in later albums. And to top it all off, it's a very entertaining album. You won't want to miss it.
But just in case you'd rather put off listening to Albums 53, 54, 55 and 56 until later, please consider at least starting with Album 57: A Call to Something More. It has a nice variety of shows which will get you acquainted with what modern Odyssey episodes are like, but it also is essential because of some powerful moments during a story arc which revolves around Connie Kendall. If you're been wondering what's been going on in Connie's life lately, the three-part episode called Life Expectancy is waiting on this album for you.
How to Listen
Now that you're aware of some possible starting points, the question is how to listen to the show. There are no more cassettes being released and CDs won't last forever either. With the advancement of technology there are more ways to listen to Adventures in Odyssey than ever before. You can easily acquire digital downloads via iTunes, Amazon, or Christian Book Distributors. But the cost of buying albums can add up if you're planning on getting more than a few. Focus on the Family's solution to that is called the Odyssey Adventure Club.
The Odyssey Adventure Club is a website which gives members access not only to the entire archive of past Adventures in Odyssey episodes, but exclusive new episodes which can be found nowhere else. It gives you a chance to catch up on AIO while at the same time enjoying all of your favorite episodes from the past. The club costs $10 a month for a bundle of five membership accounts which you can share across your family. With access to all of AIO's albums and early access to the latest episodes, the OAC is the best place to catch up on AIO and stay up-to-date with everything that's going on. You can sign up for your account at oaclub.org. I hope your visit back to the people of Odyssey and the gang at Whit's End is the beginning of your own great adventure!
This site is in no way affiliated with Focus on the Family. "Adventures in Odyssey" is a registered trademark of Focus on the Family.