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On the heels of the intense Novacom saga, things are finally getting back to normal in Odyssey...or at least as normal as they ever get. While Novacom's power has been vanquished, the effects of its evil are still felt. Much of the season was spent tying up loose ends of the Novacom saga, such as Whit's End Connellsville, the new Imagination Station, and how the town now felt about Novacom. One question still being explored is Mitch's future. Will he join the FBI or stay in Odyssey? We didn't find out this season.

AIOHQ and The Soda Fountain sponsored their traditional "End of Season" Awards. Voting ran for most of the month of April, with the results below. Thanks to the many fans who voted; this was by far our biggest turn-out yet! Read thoughts from Shadowpaw of Soda Fountain fame in red.

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Get episode information and character listings for this season.
Check out past Season Polls.

Best Performance by a Male Actor

Jess Harnell (52)
Wooton Bassett in "For Trying Out Loud"

Townsend Coleman (35)
Jason/Headlock Harry in "Live at the 25"
Mark Christopher Lawrence (22)
Ed Washington in "The Toy Man"
Corey Williams (16)
Caesar Bason in "The American Revelation"
Jerry Houser (6)
Ben Shepard in "Aubrey's Bathrobe"

Jess Harnell always turns in a terrific performance as the unique character of Wooton Bassett. This season, he won his first award. (He was narrowly defeated by Marshal Younger in the role of Young Jack in "The Triangle" in the Spring 2001 season awards.) Townsend Coleman's many roles in "Live at the 25" earned him second place.

Well, truly, Jess Harnell's win doesn't come as a surprise to very many people. His versatility as an actor is pretty apparent, especially with his duel portrayal of quirky and crazy Wooton, as well as evil and menacing Bennett Charles. In "For Trying Out Loud," Wooton was at his best...which many fans would claim isn't very good at all. While many people seem to voice their concerns and criticism time and tme again, Wooton is a fantastic character that is brought to life with Harnell's terrfic acting. I think over time more and more fans will come to realize Wooton is a great character who provides not only comic relief...but a real sense of humanity. The other nominess in this category were well deserved, especially new comer Mark Lawrence as Ed Washington. It's not always easy to be cast into a well known radio show and immediately mesh perfectly with the other voices around you, and he did so wonderfully.

Best Performance by a Female Actor
Katie Leigh (59)
Connie Kendall in "Do or Diet"
Susan Silo (30)
Agnes Riley in "The Pact"
Lauren Schaffel (17)
Liz Horton in "Room Enough for Two"
Janet Waldo (12)
Joanne Allen in "The Pact"
Danielle Judovitz (12)
Aubrey Shepard in "Aubrey's Bathrobe"

This awards session was the first time that actors and actresses got their own categories. However, Katie Leigh's victory should be no surprise as it is her third straight victory. This was her first win in a comedic episode, with her first two wins for emotional roller-coaster shows—"Plan B" and "The Unraveling." Susan Silo with her quirky performance as Agnes Riley in "The Pact" placed second.

If Katie Leigh had but one grunt in an Adventures in Odyssey episode, the fans would most certainly award her the "Best Actress" award. Why? Because Katie Leigh has time and time again shown the fans that she's a great actress. For that reason alone, I was a bit disappointed in the results. While I do think Katie is terrific, I also feel that "Do or Diet" was not some of her best work. When you compare her with Susan Silo, or young girls Lauren Schaffel and Danielle Judovitz (both of whom have improved greatly over the years), you get the sense that Katie Leigh has a built in edge. I feel all the nominees in this category were deserving of the award, and my personal pick would have been Susan. She not only transformed herself into old Agnes Riley... but Agnes Riley of many different decades! That's no small feat to accomplish.

Best Sound Design
The American Revelation I & II (35) 27%
The Pact I & II (23) 18%
Inside the Studio (14) 11%
Do or Diet (13) 10%
For the Fun of It (11) 8%
For Trying Out Loud (8) 6%
Live at the 25 (8) 6%
Room Enough for Two (7) 5%
The Benefit of the Doubt (4) 3%
Between You and Me (4) 3%
The Toy Man (2) 2%
Aubrey's Bathrobe (2) 2%

Perhaps the biggest news in the Sound Design category is that Rob Jorgensen didn't win it (as he did for the past six seasons). It probably didn't help Rob's chances that he didn't produce any of the episodes this season. The winning episode was the epic war show "The American Revelation." Featuring sound design by Todd Busteed and music by first-time composer Jared DePasquale, the show was a true feast for the eardrums. "The Pact," with its flashback scenes and memorable "painting montage" grabbed second. Sound designer Bob Luttrell and veteran composer John Campbell share the award.

This was an outrage. Who doesn't love the "Ta-da (beat) Hello Father" from "Live at the 25"? Or how about the magical editing that removed Jason Whittaker from the scene from the future, or the complete removal of George Barclay from the entire episode? Ok, ok...I'm biased! "Live at the 25" was my first and only chance to watch Jonathan Crowe produce an episode. It's AMAZING how much time and editing are applied to every second of air time. But if I had to pick one, it would be "American Revelation." Why? Because even in the planning stages, it was pretty obvious the episode was going to be sound-intensive. Bad sound can destory a great episode...and wonderful sound can save a poor one. "The American Revelation" had the best of both worlds working towards it, and the episode turned out pretty good.

Best Scene

The "Rocky" Montage — "Do or Diet" (46)
Wooton, Bernard, and Whit learn to exercise from their coach Connie under music similar to Rocky.

The Obstacle Course Chase — "For the Fun of It" (34)
Wooton and Tamika run from a seeming crazy landowner and end up in the lake.
The Warm Goodbye — "The Pact" (31)
Agnes and Joanne say goodbye at Agnes's room in Hillingdale after forty years of being apart.
The Battle of Bunker Hill — "The American Revelation, Part 2" (11)
Marvin stands beside Caeaser Bason and Peter Salem as they fight the British.
The Walkie-talkie Discovery — "The Benefit of the Doubt" (9)
Colby spys on his father using a walkie-talkie to listen in on a meeting. His father discovers it.

Novacom saga action/suspense scenes have dominated (and won) the last four season awards. This season, two comedic scenes moved to the head of the pack. A hilarious montage of weight-loss challenges in "Do or Diet" won first, with an exciting chase through an obstacle course in "For the Fun of It" nabbed second. Both scenes depended heavily on music, writing, sound effects, and performance, making them true blends of a variety of talents.

Who in their right mind would nominate the "Walkie-Talkie" Discovery scene? :o) Well, ok, that was my suggestion. When I first heard the episode, it wasn't all that great. The thing that I enjoyed the most was the music (which was a nice change for Odyssey) and the walkie-talkie scene. They stuck out in my mind, and so I suggested it be nominated. Perhaps it wasn't as deserving as some other scenes, but regardless, I'm shocked at the winner. The "Rocky Montage" was a good scene for the episode (which is Kathy's best work to date), but compared to memorable Odyssey moments...I just don't see how it compares. (Ok, ok...neither does the walkie-talkie scene). I always felt that "The Warm Goodbye" would take this one, it just seemed like the natural choice. I think it was a wonderful, touching scene...maybe I'm just a sap. I am also shocked that the "Obstacle Course Chase" came in second, though I'll admit I do love that scene.

Best New Character
The Washington Family (Ed, Elaine, Xavier, Marvin, Tamika) (44)
First introduced in "The Toy Man"
Talia Bassett (29)
First introduced in "For the Fun of It"
Mark Horton (25)
First introduced in "Room Enough for Two"
Ricky McLean (20)
First introduced in "Do or Diet"
Seth Young (13)
First introduced in "Aubrey's Bathrobe"

In the past, characters like Robert Mitchell and Arthur Dent won the "Best Character" award. This time, the new Odyssey family the Washingtons easily won. The family was introduced in "The Toy Man," as we found Ed Washington taking over Whit's End Connellsville. Marvin Washington got an episode of his own in "The American Revelation." We'll certainly be hearing a lot from them in the days ahead. Talia Bassett, Wooton's niece from "For the Fun of It," won second.

With the Washington Family guaranteed to be around for a while, it was pretty easy to assume that they would win the best new character category. Talia, Mark, Ricky and Seth may not even be returning! But just because a character doesn't return, doesn't mean they can't be a great character. In fact, when you only have one episode to develop a character, the writers face a difficult task in casting the perfect person to fill the role and bring life to the person they've put on paper. Because of the good jobs by all the actors listed above, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more of them pop in and out of Odyssey for the next few years. My personal pick? I'll have to go with Talia for the sole reason that she was the cast the day of the recording, and was thrown into the fire so to speak. The person originally cast had a scheduling conflict.

Best Episode
The Pact I & II (37) 28%
Do or Diet (29) 22%
For Trying Out Loud (12) 9%
Room Enough for Two (12) 9%
For the Fun of It (9) 7%
The American Revelation I & II (6) 5%
Between You and Me (6) 5%
Aubrey's Bathrobe (5) 4%
Live at the 25 (5) 4%
Inside the Studio (5) 4%
The Toy Man (3) 2%
The Benefit of the Doubt (2) 2%

An interesting trend has begun to emerge with the season awards. Not unlike the Oscars, shows airing late in the season tend to score higher in the fan rankings. In this round, the final four shows of the season placed in the top four slots. In the seasons before, "Exit," the season finale, and "Plan B: Collision Course," a very "late" show, won best episode. There are two possible reasons for this skew. One: Fans remember the shows at the end of each season and vote for them because they are fresh in their minds. Two: The shows tend to be better at the end of the season.

In any case, the mystery "The Pact" earned best episode with the comedic "Do or Diet" winning a close second.

Three years ago, people outside of the Internet hadn't even heard of Nathan Hoobler. Today...people still haven't heard of him because they shut off the rado/tape/CD player the moment Chris begins to reiterate the moral of the stories. However, since joining the Odyssey team, no one can deny Nathan has written some of the best episodes in recent memory. "The Pact I & II" is my personal favorite of them all (so far!), and I think it's a tribute to the author's understanding of what Odyssey is, and what the fans want it to be. The music, story, production, acting... everything came together perfect for this episode. The past season got off to a rocky start, with expectations extremely high after the Novacom arc... but "The Pact" proves that Odyssey still has a lot of life left in it.

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