What’s poppin’, y’all? Those of y’all that’ve been reading my blog for the past few months know that lately I’ve been obsessed with all things Rami Malek aka Elliot, and I’m sure some of you are sick and tired of me talking about him. Well, that’s just tough, because I have yet again another Rami Malek inspired article. However, it has nothing to do with Mr. Robot or Bohemian Rhapsody. This is all about Rami’s podcast, Blackout. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a podcast. Here’s the trailer below:
In Blackout, Rami plays a DJ named Simon Itani that lives in a small New Hampshire town named Berlin (pronounced BURR-lin, which is the cherry on top of the weirdness), that suddenly loses all its electricity, including their landlines and cell phones. Simon tries to use his position at the radio station to be a voice of reason and bring the community together, but after it’s revealed that the power outage hasn’t just occured in Berlin, but other areas of the country, he and his family soon learn that the idyllic little town they’ve called home is full of nutbags—and I mean serious nutbags. Prime example, less than 24 hrs. after the power goes out, some dudes start patroling the streets with assault rifles claiming to be part of the neighborhood watch. I’m assuming they’re part of the George Zimmerman chapter, but I digress. As more time goes on, it appears that some of those nutbags may have been the cause of the power grid going down.
This is my first time listening to a serial podcast, and I’m seriously enjoying Blackout. The series is four episodes in, and it gets better and better each week. This show is the perfect way for me to partially quench my thirst during my long and torturous Mr. Robot drought. When it comes to expectations, however, I have to say the same thing I said during my Us movie review. The same way you shouldn’t go into Us expecting Get Out, you definitely shouldn’t listen to Blackout hoping for an audio clone of Mr. Robot. Whereas Mr. Robot is about a young man that is very reliant on technology to help people (although his assistance usually blows up in his face), Blackout tells the tale of a man that has to try to protect his family now that technology is scarce to the point of almost being non-existent. Not only that, but the character of Simon Itani is an affable, sociable, laid back family man in his late 30’s. Elliot Alderson, on the other hand, is a single man in his late 20’s that’s the complete opposite of sociable, unless you count his long conversations with Mr. Robot, who only exists in his head.
All the actors do a terrific job with their roles, and although you can’t physically see what’s happening, the well-written script and impeccable performances allow you to visualize this dystopia in the making. Of course, I have to give individual props to my boy Rami, who also serves as a producer to this project. Rami continues to prove why he’s been showered with numerous accolades in the past few years. When I first heard that he was going to play a DJ, it was hard for me to visualize that, considering his signature slow and smooth voice. If anything, I figured he’d be hosting the Quiet Storm. However, he pulls it off with ease, showing what a great character actor he is. It’s easy to see an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy Oscar, Tony Winner) in his future. He’s already well on his way. My only gripe with the podcast is the commercials. Unfortunately, each episode contains about five or six annoying (and mind numbing) commercials that take you right out of the exciting story line. There’s even an advertisement that plays before the start of each episode in the series. And OMG…they all seem to drone on forever. Thankfully, you’re able to skip over these atrocities and get back to the good stuff.
There is one other thing that’s bothering me considering Blackout….no one’s really talking about it. There were a few articles discussing it before it was officially released, and there’s been about one or two reviews written since the podcast aired. Aside from a couple of viewer comments I’ve seen on some lesser known sites…that’s about it. Rami doesn’t really have the time to do a press tour for Blackout; he’s busy filming season four of Mr. Robot in NYC (yay!). Now that four episodes have aired, the word is starting to pick up just a little bit, and writer/creator Scott Conroy is taking on some interviews discussing the show’s content. There’s even some talk about QCode—the studio, who along with Endeavor Audio, helped produce Blackout—creating another podcast with Bad Times at the El Royale’s Cynthia Erivo. Hopefully in time, the show will build up enough steam to really get people to have conversations about it. The Deadline article mentioning Cynthia Erivo’s new podcast also claims that Blackout may be made into a series. I haven’t seen any other reports stating that, but I really hope it’s true. If so, I hope Rami continues to play Simon, seeing how he’s been killin’ the role so far.
I know that folks haven’t been into radio plays since Ralphie was gifted his Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and advised to drink his Ovaltine (all fans of A Christmas Story already get this reference), but Blackout is a great podcast and it’s well worth your time. It’s action packed, suspenseful, and engaging (folks from New Hampshire may not care for the Bostonian accents most of the characters have, though). You can stream the podcast for free via Apple Podcasts (or your ITunes/Apple Music account on your PC; this method won’t work on your Android) or Google Podcasts. I suggest that all of you check this series out and let’s get the word out about it. I need more people to start talking about one of my favorite shows!
Blackout airs every Tuesday on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.
—Written by Nadiya
Have you listened to Blackout yet? Do you like it? If you haven’t listened to the series yet, are you interested? Do you think more people should be talking about it? Let me know in the comments section!