Podcast of the Week: LEVAR BURTON READS
Recommending LEVAR BURTON READS may somewhat go against the grain of the commonly held perception of Crossfader as a group of self-righteous bags of hot air that hate everything, but gosh darn it if this isn’t just a nice podcast to keep up with. Yes, it’s obviously cashing in on the oft-decried millennial obsession with nostalgia, more-or-less entirely predicated on the assumption that you ‘member READING RAINBOW, but you know what? I do ‘member READING RAINBOW, I do ‘member it being a formative childhood experience, and if the sumptuous, welcoming voice of LeVar Burton now wants to read me hand-picked short fiction, well, who am I to speak out against that?
LEVAR BURTON READS is simply and unapologetically READING RAINBOW for adults (and I believe that there’s already a hashtag of the same circling around), but what makes it interesting is the fact that Burton gets to curate the story each week. And that’s because Burton’s taste is kinda weird! Clearly deeply invested in the sci-fi and fantasy genres (which I don’t recall being even remotely alluded to on the show he’s most famous for), it’s a bit of a “trip,” for lack of a better word, to hear this childhood hero softly intone heady existential tales of wizards and alien assassins into your ear. I know that that may turn off some potential listeners, but I see it as falling in line with what Burton has always set out to do: introduce new concepts to members of his audience and encourage them to open their minds and give it a try.
I promise that this isn’t a cop-out, there’s just not really much more you need in the realm of a recommendation other than knowing there’s a podcast entitled LEVAR BURTON READS where he does just that. I suppose on a technical sense, if you pay close attention, you’ll realize that Burton is particularly adept at the literal physical act of reading as entertainment? Demonstrating a masterful grasp of meter and breath control, Burton never comes across as anything more than calm, cool, collected, and very, very pleased to be there, injecting life and vitality into his characters all the while. With added bonus point occurring when tales such as episode two’s “The Lighthouse Keeper” reveal themselves as morally sound, well-intentioned tales of characters learning, growing, and changing for the greater good, LEVAR BURTON READS further institutes its host among the hallowed halls of our “national treasures.” Still in its comparative infancy, if you ever need a break from the constant woes of our modern world, pop on LEVAR BURTON READS for a spell and drift away.