Science. Superstition. Religion. Mortality.
Those four words are usually in opposition to each other. While they occasionally connect, and even times intersect, they usually don’t go together. Science replaces superstition. Belief in superstition is said to oppose religion, and religion often gives us relief from our own evitable mortality. And yet, somehow, this podcast combines all these things, to not only give us a view of history, but also to give insight into human nature itself.
Lore is a podcast written by Aaron Mahnke, that publishes biweekly, on Mondays. The subject of the podcast changes with every episode, but at its core, it is about history, and the role that our fears play into the everyday lives of ourselves and our ancestors. It focuses on some of the more macabre aspects of history, such as serial killers, werewolves, and other such things that go bump in the night. A winner of the iTunes “Best of 2015” & “Best of 2016” Awards, and a winner of the “Best History Podcast 2016” by Podcast Academy, Lore has seen quite a bit of success, from live shows, a book deal, and a TV show.
On October 13th, 2017, Amazon Prime was proud to present the first season of Lore, the streaming series. The season itself is not long, only being 6 episodes in length, just the right amount of time to finish in a couple of days. Each episode is on average 40 minutes long, and borrows the title from its corresponding podcast episode. Both the podcast and the show share similar stories, and for those who have not heard the podcast do not need to do so to understand the show.
When I started listening to Lore, I was hooked almost instantly. The creator, who also serves as the host of the show, draws his influence from shows like Unsolved Mysteries and The X-Files. In fact, long time executive producer of the show The X-Files Glen Morgan is also the showrunner for Lore, the streaming series. The influences are evident, in that each episode is structured as an objective look at the paranormal, and the just plain weird, with anecdotal evidence, and an ambiguous ending that leaves it up to the viewer on what they should believe.
Mahnke provides his sources for his research, and while presenting historical tales of the subject in question, he also blends good storytelling to keep listeners engaged, something that is thankfully easier to do with the streaming series. The podcast itself is shorter than the streaming series, with an average length of about 20 minutes. Because of this, the streaming series combines a couple of related topics while focusing on a larger narrative that goes to show an example of what subject is.
The streaming series makes use of visuals to set the mood, and actors performing in dramatizations, while Mahnke himself explains what is happening. While the streaming series is rated TV-14, I found myself at times squeamish at the descriptions. Tales of serial killers, fatal accidents, monstrous beasts, and revolting folk remedies are sprinkled in both the streaming series and the podcast. It was a smart move to do a planned release on Friday the 13th, a day which is steeped in superstitious folklore.
One thing about the series that I did not like was that if you are a fan of the podcast, there is not much here that is new. The episodes take a story that is told during the podcast and elaborates with a dramatization. To my knowledge, as a listener of the podcast, there was not much that hadn’t already been discussed. However, if you are new to the series, you would probably appreciate that the tales told are presented in a way that would keep the average viewer engaged. While it is nice to have the visuals to match the story, for me, it just proves to be a little redundant.
The actors in the series are pretty good at what they do, and would be the main reason for watching the show. I don’t feel that the amount of content it has, it should be an Amazon Prime exclusive; Amazon Prime’s Streaming service, in my opinion, do not boast enough exclusive, or even satisfying content to justify switching from another streaming service. Like Lore, the streaming series, I feel that Amazon Prime supplements other streaming services. Lore the series, feels like a supplement to the podcast, not a full replacement. While I enjoyed it, I can’t recommend people to skip the podcast and just watch this, because of how few episodes there are. I hope to see more in the future, and perhaps some exclusives to the show that are not on the podcast.
Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. While I feel that the series has a lot of potential and does a lot of things right, if you’re a fan of the podcast, I don’t quite see a reason to watch it, as it has the same stories.