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Read the Fall Wish List Follow-Up

With a new fall season coming on AIO, we can all dream can't we?  In the longest hiatus since the hiatus, fans around the world are wondering what will happen on AIO this fall.  Here are a few of things for which I'm hoping.

With a whole team of new writers, I'm hoping the stories are more unified than they were for most of 1998.  1998 had some wonderful episodes and interesting ideas, but all of the episodes seemed to occur seperately of each other.  There was little tying them together like episodes back in 1994 or 1995.  According to the Ultimate AIO Website, the writers went over the scripts as a group line by line.  I hope they find ways of tying all those stories together. 

A larger group of writers is nearly certain to change the flavor of AIO.  For many years, AIO was written by two very brilliant people, Paul McCusker and Phil Lollar.   After that it was written by three brilliant people with the introduction of Marshal Younger.  With Jim Ware, John Beebee, Lisa Johnson, Kathy Wierenga, Bill Myers, and possibly others, it may be harder to hold all the storylines together.

I hoping for some "arcs" this fall, or series of episodes that involve all of the characters in their storylines.  Check out Album 28 for a big arc.  Eight of the episodes in this album are basically one continuing storyline.  We've had arcs in the "new Odyssey", but they have been in the form of Paul McCusker episodes that "catch up" all the storylines in Odyssey.  They have been great, but they have also made AIO rather episodic.  In the last album (32), only the three part episode (Malachi's Message) really dealt with current storylines.  Most of the others were good stories, but they didn't deal with the main characters.  I'm hoping that we'll have unity of storylines like we did back in 1995 or so.

The Ultimate AIO Website also reported that "The AIO Team also talked about how the series was going too adult and serious when it is geared for kids.  They hope to make the series now more light and funny in the days ahead for Odyssey."  I'm wondering which episodes they were thinking of as too adult.  AIO certainly isn't nearly as adult as it was back in album 28 when only one episode dealt with the children in Odyssey.  Take a look at the episode listing some time.  Just about every single episode dealt with adult situations.  Even in the episodes with kids in them, the adults were the ones who had to make the decisions.

Looking over the episodes in 1998 and 1999, I don't really see any that are not kid-friendly.  There seem to be more "younger" episodes than before.   The only episodes that could be considered adult are For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll, Malachi's Message, and a few others like The Painting that prominently feature adults.  If these are the type of episodes that the team wants to elimate, I'm really concerned.  Just because episodes deal with adults doesn't mean that children can't enjoy them. (My little sister, age 10, loves For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll.)   Look at other entertainment geared toward children.  Disney animated movies are nearly always about adults.  Children can understand just what they need to about adult situations; they are surrounded by them everyday.

But the word in that statement above that scares me even more than "adult" is "serious".  The one main thing that has made AIO better than all other children's series, in my opinion, is that it has taken the risk and presented serious issues and viewpoints.  AIO nearly always takes itself seriously.  That's what seperates it from series like "The Children's Bible Hour", "McGee and Me", or the AIO videos, for that matter.  When AIO has episodes like "Waylaid in the Windy City" and "A Name, Not a Number", they are always taken seriously and are important.

So what is meant by "serious"?  We certainly haven't had any of the episodes that really start the listener thinking about deeper life issues like "The Mortal Coil" or "A Touch of Healing" in the last year. (And I think it's a shame.  So, what I'm trying to say by all of this is that I hope AIO isn't going to start cutting out episodes that feature adults.  If they were going to become more "light", why did they keep most of the adult characters through the hiatus and not keep a single kid (unless you count Rodney)?

Sure, AIO can have light and funny episodes, but if that's all it has, AIO won't be anything special anymore.  Fluff is fun, but if we can't have the touching, exciting, or heart-felt episodes, AIO will loose much of its power to touch people, especially the many adults in its audience.

In a related item, it seems Eugene and Katrina are in danger again.  Rumor has it that they could be splitting up yet again.  So, my one of my big wishes for this fall is (to quote Marshal Younger) "that they would go ahead and get married for goodness sake".  Would letting them get married make the series too adult? Well, since Eugene hasn't acted like an adult much in the last 12 years, I would guess not.

I think most AIO listeners are getting a little tired of this storyline, since this would be their third breakup.  I think they have had at least partially realistic relationship and I think they have matured to the point where they could be married.   I will be very disappointed if they stop their relationship yet again.  What was the point of bringing Katrina back to the series in the first place if they are just going to take her away again?  The audience has grown to love these characters.   I think it's time.  Besides, marrying them off would at least end the dating storyline. 

Regis Blackgaard is one of the best villians ever created.  That said, I'm still holding on to a bit of hope that he won't come back.  We've never actually heard for that he is coming back, so I'm still believing that the writers at AIO still know better than to open that Pandora's Box by bringing a character back from the dead.  Click here to read a full article on Blackgaard's possible resurrection.

Despite some of my reservations about the Mulligan family, I hope they don't just disappear like so many others.  I feel like Eugene did in "The Time Has Come", when so much had been taken away from him.  It's traumatic to have characters vanish without a trace.  At least give us so explanation for their disappearance.

There are a lot of AIO storylines out there yet to be explored.  Judging by comments on the Web Club, there seem to be a lot of people who, like me, would like to see Richard Maxwell reappear.  Maybe even Glossman, the Whittaker-Dowds, the Jacobs, Lucy, Sam, and a few of the many other MIAs.

I think that instead of Blackgaard coming back, it would be great to see Jason on a few adventures in foreign lands as a missionary.  It fits current storylines and he was great in the action of "A Name, Not a Number".

I am eagerly awaiting the fall and despite all my worries, I think it will still be a great ride.  Here we come, September!