Podcast Review: Danger 5 – Stereo Adventures Episode 1

danger 5 stereo adventures indexDanger 5 was a superb Australian comedy that ran for two series from 2011 to 2015, with it kind of being like a live action Thunderbirds from a parallel universe where our heroes had to fight Hitler and take on a number of insanely strange villains. The first series often spoofed sixties tv tropes and was a lot of fun, but then the second stepped up a gear and became even better as it parodied eighties action movies among various other things and everything was soon even crazier than before.

Now it’s back for a sort of third season, though it features as a sort of sequel to the first season what with it being set shortly after the end of the second world war. Narrated by Shaun Micallef, who some (ie us) would call the King of Australian Comedy, it begins with a warning about what’s to come which includes a very funny apology for low quality plotting, before we get a nicely meta recap, all of which works as an introduction to this joyously silly and often extremely absurd in all the best possible ways world.

For those not in the know, Danger 5 are the group who killed Hitler and won the war, and they consist of the Oxford Educated Spy Claire (Michelle Nightingale), Tucker (Sean James Murphy), the Australian from Australia, Russian femme fatale Ilsa (Natasa Ristic), Jackson (David Ashby) the American Military Muscle, and Pierre (Aldo Mignone), a debonair European barman who isn’t sure exactly where he’s from as he never knew his parents, and he’s not too pleased to be reminded of this by the narrator.

Beginning with our heroes enjoying some R&R after the success of their latest mission, soon their leader the Colonel informs them they have a new mission as the world’s leaders are going missing, and that they might have a new villain to defeat – Communism. It looks like the Italian President might be next to be taken too so they head off to try and protect him but it isn’t long before they fail, for once you can’t really blame them either as he’s abducted by a foe who’s a little larger than them, a certain Loch Ness Monster who not only kidnaps the Italian President but Pierre as well.

It’s a beautifully daft story and one that gets even sillier when Pierre and the Italian President are vomited up on a desert island, with Jackson and Isla attempting to save the day but encountering Nelson, a pilot who isn’t aware that the war has ended and who has an experimental bomb that’s meant to help end it, while Tucker and Claire have to fight off a bunch of rather unusual pirates.

The way they pack so much in to the plot makes it a constant delight, and it’s able to contain the kind of things that a tv episode never could, not unless the budget was ridiculously huge at least. The dialogue between the characters is packed with laugh out loud moments too, with the phrase “Go Go Danger Donkey Ejector Seat” probably sounding bizarre out of context but within it it led to the biggest laugh of the episode, though the Italian President being called “A party pig” came a close second, while Micallef’s narration and a couple of fake adverts contain many a gem too.

If I was to be picky than I’d suggest that when it comes to Tucker they make way too many innuendo’s about his fascination for “Seamen”, a joke which wasn’t funny in the first place and felt exhausting by the end, and the ending feels a little rushed (though this may well be a deliberate choice), but overall it’s a fantastic episode. The writing is largely pretty damn great and all of the cast are on amazing form, and it’s made me realise just how much I’d missed the Danger 5 gang, so I hope this is a big hit and that from now on the show continues to run and run in audio form.

★★★1/2

Alex Finch.
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Related Links:
A trailer for the show is here.
And the series can be bought via Audible here.

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