A particular storyline has its own dedicated fanbase in the world of audio drama: young lesbian encounters paranormal hijinks in small Midwestern town. But don’t let its popularity turn you away — the representation of both LGBTQ+ folks and Midwestern existence is both needed and refreshing. Believer: A Paranormal Mystery falls snugly into this new category of horror and satisfies both scare and sass quotas, but an adorable variable makes this work stand out: SodaPop, the best dog in all of Charity, Oregon.
Lara Campbell, voiced by show creator Julie Saunders, is a jaded, detail-oriented paranormal investigator with a penchant for self-sabotage. The mystery arises when Rose, Lara’s professional and romantic ex-partner, leaves a mysterious voicemail before disappearing in her hometown of Charity. Lara ends up with Rose’s dog, SodaPop, who gets an adventure all of his own in the spooky forest with demon squirrels midway through the first season.
The show excels in building each character’s personality and exploring the scariest thing of all: human relationships. The cast, including Archie as the heroic hound, play their roles authentically in a story about the pitfalls of love and the desperate measures we’ll take for it. The sound design skillfully crafts a palpable soundscape and harrowing otherworldly antagonists.
Multiple behind-the-scenes obstacles have unfortunately derailed production for this piece, but a killer Halloween prequel episode will undoubtedly build hype for what’s to come. Sun and Moon takes us on Lara and Rose’s first joint excursion into the paranormal, complete with tarot readings, collapsed caverns, and demonic hurricanes. The show stands up not only on its fiction, but on its in-depth research of paranormal investigation, divination, philosophy, and religion.
If you’re looking for a spooky story with high production value and a fluffy sidekick, look no further. SodaPop is the bravest boy — find out why at believerpodcast.com or anywhere you listen to podcasts.