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Podcast / Prototype World Of Tomorrow

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"They say the new milennium began the day Progress was finished. A domed metropolis of the world's greatest minds, a permanent showcase of American ingenuity, built on the swamplands of central Florida. In this self-styled city of the future, fifty-thousand temporary residents live, work, and occasionally, die."
Opening narration

A podcast by Benjamin Lancaster, creator of The Further Adventures of Walt's Frozen Head. The story takes place in Progress, a high-tech city in Florida dedicated to scientific research and technological advancement. The city is an imaginary version of EPCOT in which Walt Disney was able to build it as the "city of the future" he envisioned rather than the theme park it actually became after he died, though with names changed to appease lawyers.

Story arcs include:

  • Murder In Progress: Scientist Liam Crawford is murdered at the hands of what appears to be a robot. Private investigator Tim E. Less becomes entangled in the investigation when his girlfriend's sister Eve, who was dating Liam, becomes implicated.
  • Fair Weather Foes: Tim and Eve are hired by the City's Weather Control Department to investigate attempts to sabotage their weather controlling equipment.
  • The Signal: A Christmas Episode. Eve's aunt Carol, who works on the city's monorail system, is haunted by mysterious visions that always appear right before deadly accidents.
  • The Infinite Journey: Tim and his friends are invited to a video game tournament hosted by some of Progress' most powerful computing companies. Eve is hired to investigate the tournament by one of the companies, who fear that the tournament is a ruse by one of the other companies to steal technology. Then one of Tim's teammates disappears.

The podcast can be found here.

This show provides examples of:

  • Acid-Trip Dimension: What Tim sees after passing through the firewall in "The Infinite Journey".
  • Admiring the Abomination: Beau from the City Weather Control Department is excited to see Tropical Storm Zeke evolve into a full-fledged hurricane, even though it's outside its containment field and putting people in danger.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: An AI designed to manage the monorail system tries to warn Eve's Aunt Carol of her death, but it lacks understanding of human interaction and only shows her the last thing she sees before she dies, a worker shouting a warning from the catwalk. Carol mistakes these warnings for ghosts, tormenting her with warnings she can't do anything about, so when the worker finally appears for real, she commits suicide.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Tim technically works for his uncle's firm, which handles financial investigations and surveillance technology.
  • Androcles' Lion: Tim's video game tournament team turns an NPC dinosaur AI into an ally by giving it the ability to speak and being nice to it. The fable of Androcles and the Lion is even mentioned by name.
  • Bad Boss: Eve remembers how Liam Crawford fired people simply for mentioning a contract the company had lost.
  • Cast from Money: Tim's stun gun fires electrified coins. The tokens made by the manufacturer work best but ordinary dimes work too.
  • Clear My Name: When Albert Last, Eve's boyfriend, disappeared during a shrinking experiment, Eve became the target of suspicion and nicknamed the "Technician of Temptation". She obviously gets incredibly worried when Liam Crawford, another man she was dating, is murdered, and seeks out Tim's help.
  • Christmas Episode: "The Signal"
  • Clueless Detective: Tim Less.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Progress is a shining high-tech city, meant to be a pure example of technocracy and meritocracy. But, as Tim points out, Progress in practice works just like everywhere else. It's filled with murder, corruption, nepotism, and civil unrest. Residents are often there temporarily and kicked out after their contracts are up, resulting in the displacement of families and huge protest movements.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Signal is a lot darker than the other installments and has a Downer Ending.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tim, especially in his narration.
  • Deconstruction: Of Walt Disney's original idea for EPCOT, a city gathering together the greatest scientific minds so they can work together for the betterment of mankind. "Smart" doesn't necessarily mean agreeable or moral.
  • Den of Iniquity: The Temple of Heaven, where Eve once worked as a cocktail waitress.
  • Detective Drama: The main viewpoint character is a private detective investigating a murder.
  • Domed Hometown: 55% of Progress is encased under a dome. This protects them from rain but makes thunderstorms unbearably loud.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Eve hates being called the "Technician of Temptation", a nickname given to her by a sensationalist conspiracy-theory show that speculated she had something to do with her boyfriend/boss' disappearance.
  • Femme Fatale: Eve is viewed as this due to exaggerated accounts of her relationships, which she deeply resents.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Doug, a member of Tim's "professional social networking club" (drinking buddies).
  • Friend on the Force:
    • Jake Ramos, an Orange County deputy, is this for Tim.
    • Also Rick from Progress Security. Though "friend" is used loosely here.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Bayan, an Iranian immigrant who makes Tim's Circle Scope, a special camera that creates a perfect three-dimensional hologram of a crime scene.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: The owner of the Temple of Heaven tells Eve to get contact lenses if she wants to work there.
  • The Heavy: Julia Io is the main recurring antagonist, though she seems to answer to someone else.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Sigmund Knoll, the leader of Spirit of Tomorrow.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Eve to Tim. Eve starts the work day early and tries to have serious discussions about finances and office space. Tim wakes up late, lives hand-to-mouth with only a few hundred dollars in his account, and knows nothing about the financial side of running a business.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Albert Last disappeared when he shrank himself down during an experiment and never returned.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Between Moore & Less Detective Agency, Progress Security, and the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Progress Security looks down on Moore & Less for being private detectives who butt into their cases. The Sheriff's Department looks down on Progress Security for being private security with some police power rather than full-fledged cops.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The original name of the "Chime" network was "smart telephone", which Tim calls a stupid name.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: Annie and Eve's aunt Carol manages the monorails but the invention of an AI has made her job almost meaningless.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Between Progress Security and the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
  • La RĂ©sistance: Spirit of Tomorrow, a protest movement that opposes the expulsion of residents once their visas in Progress expire.
  • Lack of Imagination: Pauline. Or, at least, she claims to be.
  • Large Ham: Dr. Sigmund Knoll, the flamboyant vaguely German or Austrian scientist who leads the Spirit of Tomorrow group.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: Progress Security are technically a private security company with some police powers. Major cases like homicides are outsourced to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: "Progress" is basically EPCOT as Walt Disney originally envisioned it, with a few sci-fi elements thrown in. There's even a multicultural neighborhood made up of immigrants and refugees reminiscent of World Showcase.
  • Lethal Chef: Annie and Eve's Aunt Carol. Being in charge of the monorail system, Carol put more effort into timing and scheduling the courses of their last holiday dinner than in actually making them taste good.
  • Mistaken For Sexist: When Tim rejects Pauline as a member of his gaming team, Annie thinks it's because she's a woman. Tim insists it's just because she's more interested in old-school gaming and that he's lost to girls many times before.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Dina, after Pauline gains Reality Warper powers.
  • Money Mauling: Tim owns a stun-gun that can be loaded with either specialized tokens or dimes, electrifies them, and launches them at the target.
  • Nanomachines: Progress attempted to create these by creating regular robots and using a Shrink Ray on them. Eve's fiancĂ© Albie disappears when one of these experiments goes wrong.
  • Not a Morning Person: Tim, which causes some friction when he takes on Eve as a partner. He eventually installs soundproofing materials in his apartment to keep her from waking him up.
  • Punny Name:
    • Tim E. Less (timeless) and Eve R. Moore (evermore). This also means their firm is named "Moore & Less".
    • Dr. Sigmund "Sig" Knoll (signal), the head of Spirit of Tomorrow who manipulates Progress' communication network.
    • Eve's aunt Carol is introduced in the Christmas Episode (Christmas Carol).
  • Quirky Town: It's a town full of genius scientists, some of them quite mad.
  • Reality Warper: Pauline gains these powers within a computer world after attempting to stop Living Program Dina from being dissolved and assimilated and absorbing some of her power.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Uncle John gives one to Tim when he comes to bail him out of jail.
  • Robot Butler: Progress has General Purpose Robots or "jeepers", robotic servants that handle deliveries and other oddjobs. Eve has one she can control remotely, allowing her to explore the world outside while hiding in Tim's apartment.
  • Sequel Hook: Each season ends with one.
    • "Murder in Progress" ends with Eve's name being cleared but Liam's actually killer still at large. The season ends with Julia Io meeting with the killer and attempting to make peace between him and the ACIP board.
    • "Fair Weather Foes" ends with Doug in jail being recruited by a mysterious stranger.
  • Shout-Out: Several in-jokes regarding Disney, especially EPCOT, as well as a few non-Disney ones.
  • Show Within a Show: "Mysteries of Progress" by Alan Atlas, a sensationalized "true crime" show. One of its episodes was on the disappearance of Albert Last, Eve's boyfriend, in a science experiment. This tarred Eve with the nickname "The Technician of Temptation."
  • Static Stun Gun: Tim owns a gun that launches electrified coins.
  • The Theme Park Version:
    • Tim's description of the "International Showcase" modeled after various countries, specifically "Little Persia."
    • Also, the "Oriental exoticism" of the Temple of Heaven.
  • Useless Security Camera: ACIP has fake cameras. This ensures their employees behave but without the risk of being hacked.
  • The Voiceless: Whoever or whatever killed Liam Crawford. They don't speak and are represented only by mechanical whirring noises.
  • Weather-Control Machine: The City Weather Department can actually capture storms and store them in rooms.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: "The Signal"
  • Zeerust: In "Electro Park", a corporate-sponsored attraction boasts about the incredible new technology of wireless communication in a time when "Chimes" (basically smartphones) are already common. Tim thinks the attractions could use a little updating.