Welcome to Nightvale
To talk a bit more about the characters, I was a bit surprised that they decided to develop Cecil as much as they have, if you listen to the first episode he sounds a bit unsure of how just detached he's supposed to be and, while it's a bit harder to take him seriously as a radio reporter with his vested interest in so many of his stories, it certainly makes him more interesting. The next "biggest" character in the show is arguably Carlos who was interesting even when, like Cecil, he wasn't fully a character yet. He's described as Latino from the outset (I have to applaud the creators to recast his voice, originally one of them did his role and then they found an actual Latino actor to do it instead since they said this was important to them) but I thought that the internet was just up to their usual shipping antics, I never expected the show to go ahead and make him and Cecil an actual gay/queer couple, considering how often I see ship-tease but nothing more it actually blew my mind! And I rather like how they're handling the romance as well, with minor squabbles and exasperation but real affection, it's nice compared to everything else I read. As the series goes on more and more characters are not only introduced but also get speaking roles and I think that by this point they have a nearly even cast of male and female speaking characters which is also quite nice. And as the show goes on they're introducing more characters and fewer, ideas is the best way to put it. In the early episodes of the show everything felt like a trope, a caricature, commentary, or just parody on an idea, one of the best improvements the show has made has been to differentiate between when to do that and when to make the people they introduce into full characters with interesting struggles. They haven't introduced any new characters in a while (disregarding their live show had the actual intern Maureen, author Maureen Johnson, speak a few lines) so I wonder if they'll bring in a new character soon....
So, other than the characters, what drew me to the show? What drew most people I think, the shows particular kind of strange, strange humor. It's not precisely dark humor and calling it dark satire isn't right either, it has elements of both but it's defining feature is just how plain strange it is. Cecil delivers nearly everything with aplomb and so sometimes I'd find myself suddenly laughing when something stranger than normal was uttered (usually when after a really odd segment he'll end with "and that was the traffic") but normally that's not the case, I might not be laughing but I'm certainly enjoying just how throughly strange Nighvale is. From angels not being real (or mountains) to miniatures civilizations underneath bowling allies attempting to invade, this kind of weirdness appeals to me hugely and when the show does veer into plain old satire (since the NRA line in the intro) it has a kind of spot-on-ness that makes you wince with how accurate it is. The show plays with it's hyper-awareness on a meta-level, when I was at the live show I was chatting with the other people in my group and we agreed it was unfair that the show could be so weird and yet manage to have odd messages that really hit close to home. And sure enough, come the last few minutes of the show and Cecil had a few lines about life and living that, while phrased oddly, feel so much more relevant to my life than any of the "quotes of the day" my managers insist on putting on our daily schedules.
For those who haven't yet to succumbed to Nightvale, or who have recently escaped from Desert Bluffs, the show can be listened to for free, without any region restrictions that I know of, on itunes (and other podcast apps as well) and you can find more information about the show in general on their website. Goodnight dear readers, goodnight.