Tales of the Extraordinary, written by Michael Coleman, is a science fiction audio drama podcast set in an alternate universe.
The year is 1926...
...and the Roaring Twenties are in full swing, filled with excess and adventure. Wondrous new discoveries take place on a daily basis, be they of lost civilizations or miraculous super-science. Anything seems possible... in Tales of the Extraordinary, anything is possible! Ancient mysticism, robotic automatons, masked vigilantes, or a chimp who thinks he's The Great Gatsby. Tales isn't the way things were. It's the way they should have been.
The various protagonists keep finding themselves in stranger and stranger situations, from fighting off an automaton, to rescuing a Texas dilettante from the French Mafia, to defeating jetpack-wearing soldiers operating from a zeppelin nation, and much, much more!
The main cast rotates among:
- Richard "Little Dickie" Broughton, World-Renowned Explorer Extraordinaire: A pompous British war-hero with a thirst for adventure, and a tendency to refer to native guides by the name "Ungawa," regardless of their actual names. Despite his Jerkass attitude, however, he does actually do his own adventuring, and will put himself at risk for his companions.
- Mike Sullivan: An Irish-American cop, recently put on vacation. He has a taste for whiskey, knows the Unknown, and lives with Gatsby, a monkey he rescued from a Hollywood chimp-fighting ring.
- The Unknown: A masked vigilante, trained by Shaolin monks, and determined to clean up evil wherever he finds it, by any means necessary.
- Gatsby: A chimp who thinks he's The Great Gatsby. As such, he tends to drink martinis. For some reason, several of the main cast can understand him to a greater degree than is realistic.
- Randolph Moon: An egotistical and hammy film star with a golden voice. Unfortunately for him, he's a silent film star. He has a knack for learning things, though, and he has no problems with the women.
- Dr. Heinrich Von Kleigel: A scientist from Texas, Heinrich creates all kinds of impressive contraptions, including his line of heliochoppers. He is long-winded, has lots of stories, and will speak of nearly everything in flowery prose. The others tend to cringe when he starts with "Did I ever tell you about the time when I..." Despite this, his situational awareness is surprisingly solid, and his stories usually play a part in the story.
- Rod Steveson: A circus strongman, he got caught up in the adventures when England was under attack by men with rocket packs.
- Eddie Tate: A lawyer for Randolph Moon
- Vesper Kingsley: Psychic to the Stars who is the real deal.
- Johnny Strikezone: A baseball player whose uncommon aim with a bat and ball makes him an effective long-range combatant
- The League of Nations Police Force: They're not a secret organization, but they need better marketing, as they are relatively unknown.
- Beverly Wawrla: She can just talk yer ear off, donchaknow?
- Montgomery: A rather rowdy American with a taste for adventure.
- Isadora: A Patagonian Giantess and Drake's traveling companion.
- Vanessa Drake: Dickie's American rival in the antiquity hunting game. Mostly just wants to shoot things.
This series contains examples of:
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Richard Broughton
- The Alcatraz: The Unknown finds himself here. With the help of Mike, Randolph, Mad Myrtle Madigan, and a baseball team, he manages to escape.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Broughton's exclamation of "Applesauce" seems to be nothing more than a family-friendly expletive. However, The expression was very much in use as an expletive in the 1920s.
- Anti-Hero: The Unknown is a violent vigilante, but so far, he's still on the side of good.
- Antiquated Linguistics: Dr. Von Kliegel tends to use a narrative form when talking, even to the point of enunciating "Ahem."
- Beary Funny: Every "advertised" product is the only product of its type that "can be used on bears." Usually at the end of the commercial, you hear someone roaring as if they were a bear.
- Chekhov's Hobby: Usually foreshadowed by one of Von Kliegel's trips down memory lane, starting with "Did I ever tell you about the time when I..."
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of the cast, although Dickie takes top billing.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Gatsby is a chimp.
- The French Mafia: Don't bother telling them that the Mafia is Italian (sorry, Sicilian).
- Gadgeteer Genius: Von Kliegel is practically a One-Man Industrial Revolution
- In Harm's Way: Reason's... er... reason for living.
- Instant Expert: Randolph Moon can quickly learn a skill by watching someone perform it, and then perform it competently.
- Island Base: Island of Dr. Adonis Stavros
- Jerkass: Dickie is British, he's allowed to be proud. It's not his fault that everyone he meets isn't British.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dickie, while he can be a real Jerkass at times, is still willing to help his companions when they're in trouble, even at the risk of his own life. Even his "Ungawas." Well... most of the time. Maybe.
- Kunoichi: Allied with our heroes in "Let's Happy Fun Time Ninja Adventure, OK?" Since then, Shinobu continued to travel with Rod. They constantly correct those who keep calling them "Ninja." (Kunoichi are female, Ninja are male)
- Large Ham: Randolph Moon, star of the silver screen.
- Mexico Called; They Want Texas Back: In "Mexico Strikes Back," Mexico invades to reclaim lost territory.
- Narcissist: Randolph Moon is definitely obsessed with himself.
- Orient Express: One of the storylines of "Werewolves, and Vampires, and Bears (Oh My!)"
- Out with a Bang: Montgomery narrowly escapes this. (And possibly also Dickie.)
- Parody Commercial: And every advertised product is the only one that you can use on bears.
- Pygmalion Plot: Stavros tries to use Vesper to build his perfect woman. It ends about as well as you'd expect.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Dickie
- Roaring Twenties
- Running Gag: Just about every mock commercial performed ends with a song about the fact that the product is the only product "you can use on bears."
- The Silent Age of Hollywood: Randolph Moon is a silent film actor. However, he has been trying to get involved with talkies.
- Steampunk: Adonis Stavros.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Dickie has shades of this, but the Unknown pulls it off more effectively. Being a Shaolin-trained martial artist helps.
- Studio Audience: The podcast is recorded as part of a live performance.
- Tag-Along Actor: Randolph Moon enters the story trying to learn how the Unknown thinks, so he can better act the part on the film "Shadow of the Unknown," so he visits Mike, who just happens to know the Unknown.
- Word Salad Title: Let's Happy Fun Time Ninja Adventure, OK?