“Jonathan Barker, Return Home.” These words spur Jonathan Barker, former resident of Melancholy Falls to “Return Home”. This podcast is a whirlwind from start to finish, with frequent climactic events. The writer, Jeff Heimbuch has the uncanny ability of upping the ante every episode! 

Plot of Return Home

Jonathan Barker receives a mysterious phone call, from his hometown of Melancholy Falls, USA. He’s been gone for five years, and much has changed. Almost as much has stayed the same. While he has been gone, a mysterious entity has taken over his small town, and often speaks through its residents.

Jonathan meets up with his best friend, Buddy, and together they try to get Jonathan “home” and figure out what is going on in the town.  Jonathan’s return spurs various sinister events to unfold. 

Jonathan becomes a pawn in a large, Eldritch style conspiracy, that goes deeper with each passing episode! 

Review of Return Home

Early episode narration sound written, instead of free flowing. However, after about two episodes, this problem works itself out.

Characters are stylized, and larger than life, with Jonathan Barker playing the “straight man” (a normal character in a somewhat ridiculous world).  

Episodes are short and easy to digest. Although there are sixteen episodes, they are often divided into 3-5 parts. The episodes go quickly, and build nicely through both arcs (the short episode style and as a full episode). This show is easy to binge, because the parts of episodes are so short. 

One serious issue with the podcast, certain podcast platforms often make listening a chore. I don’t like Stitcher’s layout (having to click on an episode, listening to it, and then having to go back through the list to get back to an episode you want), and the Youtube videos seem to be uploaded out of order. Youtube also doesn’t seem to have later episodes, so the user is left skipping around searching for content. 

For this reason alone, I say it’s not best to just leave this podcast running, or you risk spoiling it for yourself (via Youtube), or having it go dead (Stitcher). This podcast is probably best to listen to on iTunes for this reason, or as part of a user-created playlist. 

What You Need to Know

Return Home won several audio drama awards in 2016, including Best Actor in an Original Leading Role (Jeff Heimbuch), Best Theme Music, Best Supporting Actor (Forrest Orta as Buddy), and Best Supporting Actress (Bridgett Farmer as Narrator).

Return Home premiered in February of 2016. It has 16 full episodes, divided into several parts. This show is perfect for long car rides, or short jaunts to the store because of the aforementioned episode structure. Since the episodes are several parts, they often seem to be self contained stories. 

Fans of Small Town Horror, Wolf 359, and EOS 10 will enjoy this podcast immensely! Also, the episode with the rabbits, one of my worst fears. For all you non-believers, just give it a listen. 

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Return Home is written by Jeff Heimbuch. It is produced by Jeff Heimbuch and Andy Taylor. You can listen to episodes of Return Home on iTunes, SoundCloud, Youtube, Feedburner, and Stitcher. Links are provided  at ReturnHomePodcast.Com/Listen

Read our podcast reviews, here!