worth the listen, in order!
I love the way the world building blooms outwards until you learn more and more about what it means to live at various points in this alternative history. Season five is my absolute favorite and I can't wait to hear more!
Listen to them in order!
I’ve listed to “all” 9 seasons (that’s as many as there are currently), and this is my FAVORITE podcast. I like it even more than WTNV. Now, not every season is as equally strong. In fact, some seasons need to be listened to more than once to fully appreciate them. The genres vary, and the seasons are not directly linked together, but listen closely and you will see how each is connected to the next. It’s an incredibly clever series! That being said, season 8 is my least favorite. It is the only one that I find boring, and couldn’t really find any real connection to the series’s overarching narrative. But I think it was written at the same time they were writing the book, and the book is PHENOMENAL. To me, that’s the true season 8. Season 9, the latest to date, is raw and beautiful. I think it’s my all time favorite of any podcast season (and one of my top 100 short stories EVER). Listen to them in order, please be patient with season 8, and be ready for season 9 to take you on an unexpected journey of grief and hope.
I keep coming back
I haven’t always loved every season, but I continue to come back for the unique storytelling and world building. Much of this series is rich with subtext and subtle details that reward the careful listener. The anthological nature of it doesn’t necessarily dictate listening to the seasons in a particular order, but I do recommend starting with the first. Below is a season by season review for those interested in what this random stranger has to say 🙃 The first season is creative, fascinating, meditative, at times silly, and has a slow build to a very impactful finish. I think it’s the strongest of the seasons, could stand on its own as a complete piece, and I recommend it to anyone. I’ve listened to it many times over. 5/5⭐️ The second season was pensive and calming. My background as an artist made this an absolute joy to take in; I listened to it multiple times while creating my own art. My second favorite, but I am a also biased painter. 5/5⭐️ The third season lacked the calming and comforting tone of the first two but was still intriguing, and I enjoyed the narrator choice immensely. I’d place it 4th on my recommended list. 4/5⭐️ The fourth season was not for me, but I appreciated the way it added to the underlying narrative. I found myself comparing it to the central plot of the second book in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam series. 2/5⭐️ For me, the fifth season was more rewarding to listen to in reverse. I listened to it as it was intended the first time, and by halfway through found myself feeling as though I’d already learned everything I cared to about the characters. Still enjoyed it a fair amount and will probably listen to again. 3/5⭐️ as is, 4/5⭐️ starting with episode 10 and working backward. The sixth season was the spookiest of the bunch so far. It also felt like a return to the meditative vibe that I loved so much in the first two seasons. My 3rd favorite season. 4/5⭐️ Currently eagerly devouring the seventh season :) thank you to all involved for your hard work on one of my favorite podcasts.
A Tentative Review
So, I was an old listener of welcome to nightvale but stopped keeping up with it some years ago. I’m a romantic, so the buzz of night vale wore off when Cecil and Carlos officially got together. I’ve recently got back into it, and heard of Within the Wires from the intro to one of the newer episodes of night vale. “The ball is where the win is”. That was actually the first ep I listened to in quite some time and I was curious about what else nightvale presents has been up to in the time I’ve turned away from it. I tuned in to the first episode of the newest season of Within the Wires and my attention was immediately caught. I enjoyed listening to it and am playing it back season by season, exploring the depth of this alternate universe while comparing it to modern times. Anita’s moms (and what a chill I still get, being able to freely write that and talk about it and imagine it!) are such compelling characters who have such complexity to them. As the story progressed and the narrator continued to tell the story of their adventures, I couldn’t help but wonder what is going through Anita’s mind. Did she cry like I did during this episode, so close to the end? Is she scared to find out more about her birth family? Will she continue the trend and make her own tapes if she decides to become a mother herself? How does Anita feel about parenthood and what the world is? I’m so happy that such a podcast like this exists and that I can listen to it in a medium that is enjoyable to me, that I can listen without fear of appraisal or consideration as to how to pay for it. This is free and relevant and cynically exuberant. Thank you for giving me content like this, that is heartbreaking and overwhelmingly positive
This is my third listen of the entire podcast. It’s that good.
This is, by far, the best fiction podcast out there. Stands up to repeated listening. If you like dystopic fiction, you’ll like Within the Wires.
Super Well Written!
You have to pay REALLY close attention when listening to this one. I wouldn’t recommend doing other tasks while you listen to Within the Wires. You’ll probably miss some really important little details.
At first I wasn’t sure about this one. My initial reaction was that it was all over the place. BUT, I gave it a second listen and realized how cleverly written it is. Every season is linked, with little bread crumbs that creates the perfect chain without overpowering the different seasons. You have to listen to it TWICE , there’s so much hidden with details that are overlooked the 1st run. It’s perfect really
I will Echo some of the same comments that seasons one and two are easily the best. Three wasn’t bad. But along with season six the last few seasons Avenue almost no point in listening to. This last season endsAnd there’s no resolution you are made to assume one thing for nine episodes but it never goes anywhere it’s just the same thing over and over and over and over again and then the season just ends. I’m done with this show
Started great, became disappointing.
I had to change my rating from 5 to 3. The first two seasons, absolutely amazing. The writing, the suspense, the sound design, the atmosphere was all fantastic. Every season since two has just slowly gotten worse. Season 3 was pretty good but honestly was so much better listening to it again after you knew the ending. Everything after has just been a mess. The writing has become so repetitive with unnecessary filler, and the reasons these recordings even exist in this universe make less and less sense. I suggest not listening past season 2 or 3 if you really want to appreciate the story and universe and nuanced details. And season 6 in general…with that ending…I won’t be listening to any further seasons.
Is there not supposed to be an episode one? I thought it was a mistake and I’m waiting so I don’t start on episode 2 but episode 3 just came out and I’m worried I won’t be able to listen to this season for a while
WHAT I WANT!!
Anyone else keep getting triggered by an entropy test that went around tumblr in like 2012. I love WTNV so giving this a shot. Hopefully it stay creepy yet not so auditorily triggering.
Its difficult to first get into but if you are patient and let the story unfold it is quite wonderful.
Incredibly well written. Absolutely obsessed.
Great podcast and I believe generally family friendly. Amazing actors and interesting stories!
2/21 The only decent Night Vale production. ---This utilizes a unique concept in storytelling that I personally haven’t encountered before. Nightvale can do some things that are just excuses to utilize creepy or icky half formed thoughts but this actually contains solid ideas and a consistently visualized world. Too bad not all of Night Vale goes from thought to well formed, solid idea.
Great first season very interesting
The seasons about the deceased artist, the patient trying to escape, and the hidden community leaders were awesome. I love the way we learn more and more about the quite society with each episode and the characters all have unique voices and accents not often heard in English language podcasts. The most recent season was not my cup of tea personally, but I still love the show
Listen to the first two seasons, smile and delete the podcast from your library. It’s all down hill after S2, the actors get worse, the story basically stagnates, and the world building slacks off entirely. But please do listen to the first 2 seasons, truly excellent story telling and fantastic acting, with a really fresh way of telling its tale.
Is the last episode?
Subtle storytelling with such interesting characters. The way it all comes together every season never fails to blow my mind.
one of my favorites
season 2 has some of the strongest worldbuilding i’ve ever encountered. blending a love story, a mystery, and environmental story telling is difficult enough, but managing to do it through audio guides of visual art? chefs kiss seasons 1 & 3 are excellent as well, Lee LeBreton in particular astounds me. like many others, i think season 4 is the weakest, it doesn’t elucidate as much as the rest of the series, but don’t let that discourage you. liking season 5 so far, can’t wait to see how it ends
Found footage fabulousness
Despite the cold nature of these tapes, from institutional instruction to museum guides up to answering machine messages, WITHIN THE WIRES is warm and inviting, sucking you into its rich storytelling and great voices. I can’t learn more fast enough.
The best storytelling, but
Too many ads / self promos, especially for such short chapters.
Amazing and then...Season Four
Seasons One and Two, taken together, is some of my favorite story-telling I have ever consumed on any medium. Truly magical! Season Three was not as magical but still strong and interesting. And then came Season Four. Yikes. This entire season was nearly unlistenable. I THINK the writing wasn’t nearly as good—there was no discernible story arc (Cassette Nine could have been Cassette Two without any marked difference) and there weren’t those surprising moments of deep surprise and understanding as with the previous episodes. I said “think” about the writing because it could have been amazing writing, and the entire season would have been ruined for me by the huge glaring problem: the acting. The acting was so bad that if I had started with Season Four: Cassette One, I would have never made it to Cassette Two. Please if you started with this season, go back and start with Season One! You are kissing out otherwise. The actor in this season was just so weak. Her cadence and vocal mannerisms were always the same. After a very short time, it became maddening to listen to. You can tell the problem because (with the exception of Cassette Ten where it seemed some effort had been put in to make her vary some) the click of the machine turning off at the end was ALWAYS a surprise. She was just be talking along with her monotonous cadence and then “click”—done. And likewise because she didn’t have a sense of how to craft moments, the usually excellent music just seemed out of place and an intrusion. There was no vocal difference from when she was talking intimately to her daughter and when she was addressing the entire group as its leader. I understand that English may not be her first language but there are countless actors that is true of who have an outstanding mastery of English. This may come off quite harsh but I had such high expectations from the previous seasons (especially One and Two), and want you fine folks to continue making that extraordinary art. Still a fan!
This podcast is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.
All your friends are spiders
Second season is probably my favorite.
In depth story explored by found audio. The universe is expanded upon with each series.
Been here since the beginning.
I cannot wait for more!
the very best
within the wires is one of those shows that gets better every time you listen, and it’s phenomenal the first time through. the more you learn about the new society, the more details you notice, and i also have really cool dreams if i fall asleep listening to it so that’s a plus. p. s. y’all know you can skip the ads and announcements right? there’s a 30 sec skip button right there
Little teeny tiny moo cow
Fantastic podcast. From the beginning, I loved that I didn’t know what was going on or what to expect. As the world of the story was revealed, I was drawn in more and more. It’s worth listening to a few episodes (and they are short - no filler!) to figure out if the pacing is for you. No spoilers from me, but it might be worth knowing that the whole podcast takes place in the same “Society” but each season has different characters and a different flavor. It’s worth starting with the first season. IMO it’s also the strongest.
Amazing way of showing listeners a world bit by bit while also being incredibly intimate. Great to listen to late at night. Also, lesbians.
My favorite Nightvale Production
I gave Within the Wires a chance this year and I’m so glad I did! I’ve listen to many other podcasts by WTNV and they’ve been pretty entertaining. This podcast fully immersed me in a deep and wildly interesting dystopian world. I can’t get enough of WTW and I was so thrilled when they started releasing season 4. I’m liking it even better then the other ones. I also wanted to comment on people’s complaint of the mid-roll ads. Honestly, I think it ads to the charm of the podcast, the idea that I’m listening to a real cassette that needs to be flipped over. Even if you don’t think that, and I wouldn’t blame you if you disagreed, don’t diss the podcast for that one little thing. You can tell when the first side of the podcast is about to end, and you can easily skip through the ads if you want to.
Little pie pretty
Immersive And Moody
I enjoy that each season stands on its own within the same world, illuminating it from a different angle. The pace is definitely something of a slow burn, and the show doesn't hold your hand as far as making connections within as season or between them. But if you're willing to give it your time and attention, it's some of the most rewarding podcast storytelling out there. (Note, too, that if medical horror is not your thing, you can skip season one and start at season two; I've had at least one friend I recommended this show to who did that and really liked seasons two and three.)
This podcast takes dystopian fiction and reforms the genre by putting it in an artistic (instead of political or scientific) perspective. It’s like sci fi narrated by painters. It has the random, specific brand of dark comedy you can expect from Night Vale Presents stuff, and a dreamy plot that’s immersive and beautifully told. It can ramble at times, so if you like fast-paced fiction, you may not like this one. But if you don’t mind some poetry with your dystopia, I highly recommend this one.
I LOVE this podcast. Seasons 1-3 are incredible and I love the tie ins. Season 4 is not doing it for me however though. I am bored with Freya and her narration and find it difficult to care about her or her cradle family. I am going to re-listen to seasons 3 through 1 backwards.
The stories told here are incredible and complex and nuanced and puzzling and enthralling. Honestly some of the best fiction I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming.
The Science Kidney
Very good and unique but acquired taste
Hard to describe. I love the world they built. The voice acting is narration but it’s top notch. Season 1 is intense. Season 2 is gold to me
Within the Wires
Acting isn’t bad but this podcast is a snooze fest!
I’ve listened to Within the Wires the whole way through roughly 30 times. It is an intentional and deliberate act of narrative storytelling, designed to leave the listener pondering how government and society can influence the lives of its people. The way this story interweaves storylines across seasons is complex and interesting. Season one captures interest with details that stand out of place from what one expects to hear, withholding enough information to make the following episodes feel needed, and at times, dire. Season two builds the world that season one was the product of, showing how global circumstances could allow season one to happen, while also examining a fraught and heartbreaking relationship between two passionate and skilled artists. Season three shows a behind-the-scenes look at the governmental functioning that create the world of season two and the harsh fear of season one.
Weird ads, slow paced
Good story over all, but not my cup of tea. Although I did see review that suggested listening to the three seasons backwards. 3,2,1 and I can see how that would definitely make this series more easily absorbed.
Great for a time passer
Started listening to this on release and loved season 1. It’s better to listen to as close to 1 sitting as possible per season. Didn’t much care for season 2 until I listened to it for a time passer at work and loved it. Season 3 the same. Wouldn’t recommend to listen to for just a thing to do, but a thing to listen to whilst you do something else.
Listen in reverse order!
I tried to get into this but found Season 1 uncompelling. So I just binged Season 3 which was great and then 2 which might be one of the best podcasts I’ve ever listened to. It was incredible. Now I’m back to Season 1. I think this order is way better.
Love the voice acting
I had a slower time getting into the first season bc I couldn’t follow it as well on my first listen but the other two were paced perfectly and I can’t pick a favorite between them. Lee LeBreton was an incredible casting choice, I can’t say enough how much that season touched me just because of their performance. The plot was interesting too but they were the best part. I adored every part of season two though! Rima Te Wiata is absolutely incredible, and the writing was so lovely and the story so moving I’ve listened to it probably three or four times now. I hear her voice in my mind sometimes, reminding me to pay attention and ask questions. Do you know what this means? Are you certain? Can you ever be certain?
Best writing of any podcast I know
So far so good! Making my way through the first season and I'm hooked!
Clever and Addictive
Reading the reviews, I was hesitant - could the podcast be so poorly presented some actually thought these were intended as relaxation tapes (as opposed to a subtle narrative)? Perhaps those reviewers were being tongue-in-cheek, because the intent is clear from the get-go. In fact, that would be my one (very mild) criticism: they’re a teensy bit heavy-handed and obvious...at least, that was my initial assessment. Very quickly I became addicted and tore through all three clever, well-developed and thought out series. I’m even planning on getting the bonus series - utterly worth it, I’m sure. As a heavily aurally oriented person, I found this a particularly wonderful listening experience - just what I’ve sought from podcasts. More, pleaseandthankyou? Seriously, you need to get on that - we need more (pleeeeease?).
Different type of storytelling from NightVale. However once you get used to it, becomes like a mystery book. However episodes have become far and in between. May need to unsubscribe due to lack of new episodes. The newest episode was not even a Within the Wires production instead it was the first episode of NightVale’s newest podcast. Start with This: From idea to Execution. They should really let listeners discover the new things for themselves and assume people are subscribed to certain podcasts for the stories in those podcasts.
I listened to the first episode and though I admit it was slow and confusing, as I continued to listen, all of the tapes, and stories and facts spoken on them began to build on each other. It was such a beautiful story to listen as it developed and I wish I could erase my memory of it so that I could listen to the whole thing again and discover more and more clues again and be pulled in for the whole emotional journey again. The people who gave it bad ratings are missing the point. It is supposed to be a slow subtle mystery and it is not supposed to let you figure out the entire story in the first episode. If that is not some people’s cup of tea, I understand. However, please do not give the show a bad rating for not fitting your preferred style, as many people find it fascinating, including me. I also think many people dropped off at the second episode, which led them to be unable to put all the pieces together and thus feel unaccomplished in listening to it or even just bored. This is a mistake. It is so beautifully masterfully written as a thing to be built and built and built on that you can’t just chop it into pieces, take ONE of the pieces, and then say you gave it a chance. You need to listen to the full thing to get the full experience and trust me, it is so so worth it.