Welcome to Night Vale is one of the hardest podcasts to explain. Set in the fictional town of Night Vale, we get to listen to Cecil Palmer’s radio show that details all the Night Vale news of the day. This might have been boring if Night Vale was just a regular town, but nothing in Night Vale is regular. Hiram McDaniels, literally a five-headed dragon, is one of the inhabitants. Another is Old Woman Jose, who houses dozens of Angels (which do not, of course, exist—it would be illegal to know anything about them if they did). Megan Wallaby is a detached man’s hand with the mind of an elementary school girl. News can range from a PTA meeting being disrupted by a sudden appearance of dinosaurs, to the yearly Night Vale poetry night.
While Night Vale is steeped in Lovecraftian horror, there is also a good amount of comedy and heart. Most of this comes from the show’s narrator, Cecil. Like any good radio host, he has a silky smooth voice and a finger on the pulse of the community. Some of the comedy comes from Cecil’s reaction, or lack thereof, to the various creepy and unsettling things that happen in Night Vale. Despite this, it is very easy to find some sort of connection to Cecil. He is a genuinely caring person, and loves just about everyone in Night Vale. It’s hard not to smile when he begins to talk about his crush, or to feel for him when his cat is hurt.
Welcome to Night Vale is not for everyone. It is genuinely creepy at times and if you have any crippling fears they will most likely touch on them. However, if you can get past that, you will find a podcast that will genuinely surprise you with its colorful cast of characters and plot. At the time of this article, there are 48 episodes, but each one is roughly 30 minutes long, with two live bonus episodes found on their website here. If you are up for a bit of horror and fun, then the Welcome to Night Vale Podcast is for you.