Cross stitch pattern of the Ars Paradoxica logo. Download the PDF here: Ars Paradoxica Pattern
Grid Size: 99W x 41H
Design Area: 7.07″ x 2.93″ (99 x 41 stitches)
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I finally finished Ars Paradoxica and I didn’t really like it. It had an awesome premise but didn’t deliver on its characters. I loved the scifi aspects and I thought the strongest parts surrounded the creation and implications of the Black Box, a point outside time. Honestly, the whole series would have been better and clearer if we were limited to only observing Partridge as he sends messages through time. That would at least solve the problem of the ever increasingly strained reasons for the characters to record things.
For an audio only show, the voice acting is really hit or miss. Some of the actors sound like their characters, but some of them don’t fit at all. Roberts is supposed to be this no nonsense morally ambiguous character in a powerful position. She’s supposed to be threatening, but she sounds like a fifteen year old. Sharma is supposed to be British/Pakistani, but his accent is so strong and inconsistent that is sounds fake. Sally Grissom’s voice is a little grating, but at least it’s easily distinguishable from the rest of the cast, which is more than I can say for half the characters.
Ars Paradoxica falls into the problem of having way too many characters with not enough to differentiate them. They seem to forget that this is an audio only medium. We can’t see the actors to know who’s talking. There’s a good mix of male and female, but Petra and Esther sound too similar and most of the men are interchangeable other than Sharma and the two black guys who get a tiny subplot towards the end that goes nowhere.
Actually, a lot of things go nowhere. They make a big deal about trying to create a second anchor point so you could go back and forth in time, but they never go through with it. They have a subplot about Roberts being gay that doesn’t amount to anything. There was even a court hearing where I expected her to be fired, not for the heinous experiments she condoned, but for her sexuality, something that would be historically accurate, but they never went there.
I waited three seasons for Ars Paradoxica to get good. I really wanted to like it since I enjoyed The Bright Sessions so much, but I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters other than Partridge and Grissom. I liked how Partridge struggled to stay positive in his isolation. I liked Grissom’s inability to stay put and garden in her forced retirement. However, I did not like being introduced to a character then given five minutes before I’m supposed to care about him being in trouble. I’m looking at you, Mateo. I didn’t like switching from different times and locations without indication of a change. I didn’t like suddenly adding a bunch of new characters when I didn’t even learn to care about the old ones. And I especially didn’t like pressing the reset button at the end so that none of this ever happened!
If you’re desperate for a Cold War time travel story with a lot of strong female characters and you don’t really care about a core overall narrative and just want to be entertained for a bit while you tune out and do something else, then sure, go for it, but if you want a drama that leaves a lasting impression on you with compelling characters that feel like old friends, then avoid Ars Paradoxica.