I am reviewing two podcasts at the same time because they are both on the Parcast network and have the same host. “Tales” and “Mythology” are weekly podcasts that tell a story. They both use TV structure—there is an introductory scene that ends with a hook, then a pause to explain the source and history of the story, before it launches into the full tale. Both of these are not for children. They are aimed at a +14 audience. I am glad they have a warning before each episode.
“Mythology” is audio dramas of myths from around the world told in a modern story structure, with a very loose definition of myth. One episode is “Children of Lir” but they have also done a Robin Hood story. While they start with Classical stories (although lesser known ones) they also have included stories from Asia, the Americas, Africa, and the Fertile Crescent. My favorite episode is the Krasue, probably because I love vampires. The series of Norse mythology in Loki’s POV is also a very good listen.
While this podcast does use some excellent voice actors, they do keep using the same few over and over. It is mildly disconcerting to recognize Loki as a Greek King in a different story. Each episode includes context for the story and they often cite their source. There were a few stories that I am familiar with a different version, although they do have a disclaimer that they chose the version they felt would be the most entertaining. There are a couple of places I would argue with their interpretation of the tale, but it is clear to me this isn’t done by Pagans for a Pagan audience. I would warn this is a place to seek entertainment as opposed to spiritual guidance on different stories. While there is good information for the historical context, for interpretation it still falls into the “people made up stories to explain things they didn’t understand” camp.
“Tales” is told like an old fashioned story around the fire, with the host telling the entire story while making voices for different characters. These are the old versions from before storytelling was considered for children, think the Grimm’s versions before Disney got a hold of them. They too have a fairly loose definition (although you could say tales are more general than mythology) which has included Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Red Shoes” and the short story “The Sandman” by E. T. A. Hoffman. The information about the background of a story gives insight—like finding out the main character of “The Red Shoes” has the same name as Anderson’s half sister born out of wedlock.
However, Tales especially has an Eurocentric bias. They do have some episodes of stories from outside of Europe, but including stories from non-English speaking Europe many of the tales are European. Mythology does much better, and I am grateful it branched out from Classical stories which is what most people think of when they think of mythology.
There are definitely stories they haven’t done yet that I would love for these podcasts to do. Both shows are very entertaining and well worth a listen. It is a place to be introduced to stories that have not entered pop culture yet, or learn the far more adult versions of known tales.