There’s a slight chance very few people will actually read this review in full. If you’re anything like me just hearing the mere premise of this show will cause you to lose focus in your scramble to subscribe and start listening to this delightful show.
Mount Olympus University is an audio fiction series set on a peculiar college campus where the student body and faculty all have unique abilities. That is, except for Pandora, who is there on a full ride scholarship (that she didn’t apply for). The show begins with Pandora stumbling across an abandoned student radio station deep within the ever-changing hallways of MOU.
Pandora: …I guess that’s the whole story of how I came to be here. At the university. Not this room. I’m in this room because this school is a labyrinth. Literally, I met a Minotaur here….His name is Carlos, he’s pretty nice.
If you haven’t picked it up just yet: Mount Olympus University features a cast of mythological characters all at college age and living their best lives. Thor’s knocking back beers at parties, Athena is president of every student club (except one, but she doesn’t like talking about that one), Pandora’s having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep due to her roommate Aphrodite spreading the love every night.
This podcast is the audio version of slipping into a nice hot bath. The plot-per-episode ratio isn’t super high and that fits the tone of the show perfectly. Pandora, being the only “normal” human character we know of at MOU, has an ongoing struggle with her lack of an obvious power. He struggle with imposter syndrome does wonders to highlight how anxiety can make excuses even evidence of divine intervention can’t defeat.
While it can be fun to listen to intense, plot-heavy series on a regular basis I find myself wanting for something atmospheric I can simply let happen to me. Pandora’s awkward transition from confused freshman talking to an enchanted microphone to a confused freshman radio host is entertaining, but I love that it’s not stressful. There is some drama afoot (Hera’s not too fond of her and it’s all that dick Zeus’ fault) but I’m sure it’ll be dealth with in due time.
The series doesn’t shy away from making deliciously nerdy jokes/references to the base myths the characters are pulled from, but also takes special care to establish the world of MOU does not have any of the same myths that our world has. Showrunner Raenna Nicole Larson goes to such lengths to keep this idea canonical she cuts normal turns of phrase that have mythological implications. In a bonus Q&A upload she mentions catching herself writing “flew too close to the sun” and thinking “Icarus probably goes to MOU.”
While the initial audio quality isn’t the best in the world, this is definitely one podcast I recommend giving the benefit of the doubt. The writing and acting are fantastic, and this little show has gone from simply plugging their Twitter and Gmail address in the pilot to having a fully fleshed-out website with a press kit, cast section, and full transcripts easily accessible for every episode. All this after ELEVEN EPISODES. I can’t wait to see which what lies in store for Pandora and her gaggle of gifted friends!