Storytelling is undoubtedly one of THE most powerful forces of human civilization and one reason for that is that storytelling can seamlessly blend reality and fiction. In fact, it can, and often does filter and re-color reality. Heck! It can even invent reality. Nobody knows that better than the podcast network, Wondery whose recent production, ‘Blood Ties’ has been causing ripples of popularity.
Wondery is considered to be the HBO of podcasting thanks to its richly realized audio stories which boast of high production value and A-list performers. In fact, it is the biggest independent podcast publisher in the United States with over 50 million downloads each month.
Wondery jumped to prominence and success due to its successful true-crime podcasts like ‘Dr. Death’ and ‘Dirty John.’ Recurring listeners of Wondery shows are bound to find ‘Blood Ties’ similar in tone and the way it has been told.
The podcast is divided into six episodes of about twenty minutes each. Gillian Jacobs of ‘Community’ fame lends her voice to one of the protagonists of the podcast series while Josh Gad who voiced Olaf in the ‘Frozen’ series voices her brother. Amy Landecker from ‘Transparent’ can also be heard in ‘Blood Ties.’ Moreover, since launching in December, the series has remained at the No. 1 spot on the Apple Podcast Charts.
Now, the first question that might have popped into several listeners’ minds, probably even before starting the podcast is whether it is based on a true story. It is certainly told with as much attention to detail as Wondery’s other true-crime podcasts are.
Blood Ties Plot:
To begin with, the story of ‘Blood Ties’ is extremely topical. However, it manages to stay away from clichés and straightforward narratives which might feel overdone. Instead, it weaves the topical “topic” into an engaging character-driven tale.
It follows the siblings, Eleonore and Michael Richland whose father is a renowned cardiologist and affluent entrepreneur. Their father WAS a renowned cardiologist rather as the story starts with his and his wife’s unexpected death in a plane crash.
However, the Richland siblings soon learn of allegations of sexual misconduct against their father when a New York Times reporter is ready to blow the whistle. Both, Eleonore and Michael are confronted with a moral conundrum: of deciding to stand behind the truth or honoring their father’s legacy by disbelieving the women accusing him. They also have material interests at play, making their choice even tougher.
Is Blood Ties Based on a True Story?
The short answer is NO. The podcast series is entirely scripted and fictional. However, there is a reason that it feels so real. That is because it has been tailored to feel like one. “It is the latest in a growing wave of fictional podcasts featuring top-tier talent and compelling, ripped-from-the-headlines narratives,” as Wall Street Journal puts it.
The series’ true-crime tone made me think about the Apple TV+ show, ‘Truth Be Told.’ While the show is not great, it does reflect the trend of dressing up fictional thrillers as true-crime stories to lend it an authentic feel which makes viewers/listeners cease questioning a story’s reality. “It’s verging on the precipice of being so believable that you question whether it is real or not,” says Josh Gad.
Moreover, the appeal of ‘Blood Ties’ is also a result of its purposeful similarity to Wondery’s other psychological thrillers like ‘Dirty John.’ That is, in fact, something the podcast network did intentionally in order to heighten the probability of success of ‘Blood Ties’ since it is Wondery’s first fictional podcast in three years.
You can listen to the podcast here.
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