The second season of Night Vale is really something special.
For the first time, we move away from scattershot peril-of-the-week episodes with small through-lines included, and into a fully immersive season-long story arc. And what a spectacular story arc it is. Much as I love each and every episode Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor put out, nothing has ever quite surpassed the sheer delight of the second season. This weird little desert community is tried and tested, ultimately banding together to emerge triumphant. It’s a glorious …underdog? story, and also serves to set up some wonderful and long-running plots and characters, including The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, mayor Dana, Steeeeve Carlsbeeeeerg, Tamika Flynn – I could go on and on.
As in the first volume, the introductions to each episode are a wonderful peek behind the curtain, and I could have read so much more of them. I loved hearing about the beginning of the collaboration between Fink, Cranor, Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, which later lead to the WtNV/Thrilling Adventure Hour crossover, and how folks such as Mara Wilson and Dylan Marron came to be involved in the show. The illustrations are also a fantastically creepy addition.
I very much hope that each and every season gets the same literary treatment. My only minor quibble, as with the first volume, is that the live show included at the end is out of place chronologically. I know these shows get toured for so long that audiences come to them at different times, but they do have a definite anchor point in the plot, and tacking them on the end doesn’t really fit.
Still, it’s a minor niggle in the face of such sheer fun. I hope Night Vale continues to delight for years and years to come.
[Read from 11-20 September 2016]