Every season of Within the Wires tells a stand-alone story within an alternate history of the 20th century. The Great War has spun out of control and raged for decennia, reducing the whole world to rubble. After this, the survivors build a New Society while rooting out the cause of all conflict: tribalism. How? By dissembling the nuclear family…
Every season is very different, so a sort review per season:
- Relaxation tapes, unknown date. Not the easiest to start off. It takes some time before you find the story behind the relaxation tapes and the tapes transition into more storytelling. But when it does, it is a heart-wrenching story. And the institute where it takes place is at the core of the alternate world you’re piecing together.
- Audio guides, 1971-1986. I think my favourite season. It has the most innovative way of storytelling and its story is hardest to grasp. It was wonderful to be invited to imagine all the different art pieces the audio tour touches upon. In the reflecting power of art, you see the changes of the world that the artist lives in.
- Office reels, i.e. notes to a secretary, 1953-1961. This season has a great tension build-up with something of a detective-feel to it. You feel something is off, but who is exactly playing who? Also a great sneakpeak in the bureaucracy of the New Society. A way more positive image than we have seen so far.
- Audio messages, 1993-1999. These are letters from a mother to her daughter, leading a community living in hiding from the New Society, because they chose to live with family. It shows another side of the multi-sided coin that is this world. While the mother is travelling around the world spreading the idea of her Cradle, her community grows more distant under her daughter’s leadership. Although it was interesting in the aspect of world building, this was my least favourite season. The story and acting could not hold my attention.
- Phone calls, 2008-1997. A love story in reverse, literally. It took me a while to figure this one out, but when I felt it, oh, I felt it. Sprinkled with worldbuilding on the surveyance-side of the New Society, it was another great season.
- Medical notes of an in-house nurse, 22-30 October 1973. A ghost story. Not the best season as far as the use of the type of audio is concerned and the paranormal felt a bit out of place in the world built by the previous seasons, but the end kind of made that make sense. Anyway, it was a truly and beautifully haunting story that brought the mysterious ‘Great Reckoning’ closer.
You don’t have to listen to them in order, but you do have to listen to them! So take your pick!