RogerBW's Blog

The Shadow Over Innsmouth 25 November 2020

2019 audio drama, adapted in eight parts by Julian Simpson from the story by H. P. Lovecraft.

This is the direct sequel to Simpson's productions of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Whisperer in Darkness; like those, it's updated to the modern day and moved to a new setting, using the original story more as framework than as source material.

And the amount of new material brought over from those productions is substantial; there's some effort made to re-explain Ipku-Aya and the other ideas that aren't from Lovecraft, but it'll make far more sense if you have the earlier series more or less in your memory. (And if you're familiar with Simpson's other radio plays too that certainly won't hurt.)

These aren't the same people who casually looked into a disappearance because it might be good fodder for their podcast, but nor are they whole-hearted crusaders (and it's not at all clear that there's really anything to be crusaded for). Compared with previous series, this one feels as though there's rather more action and rather less drawing together of diverse strangenesses (though the Comte de Saint-Germain and the Roanoke colony turn up in the background); there's less of a feeling of "oh wow" and "what fun" about the construction of the mythos from disparate bits of weirdness. The "good" conspiracy that started to show up last time is largely defanged here to raise the stakes for the protagonists.

The ending… well, it does conclude the trilogy, though the possibility of a follow-on still exists. From a narrative point of view I'd rather have had a more straightforward conclusion; there's nothing to signify that this really is the end of a series rather than the end of a season.

But these are relatively minor quibbles, and the whole thing is highly recommended.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is available via the BBC, as are the earlier series. (If you don't have get_iplayer, you can apparently download it via the BBC Sounds app.)

See also:
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Whisperer in Darkness
Julian Simpson Radio Plays

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