|In blocky capital letters, the word 'TANIS' is presented against an almost black background. In small orange, blue, and green squares in the bottom righthand corner are, respectively, the letters P, R, and A.|
|Hosted by||Nic Silver|
|Updates||Every two weeks|
|Audio format||Podcast (via streaming or downloadable MP3)|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||36|
|Original release||October 13, 2015 – present|
Tanis is a mystery horror fiction podcast executive produced by Terry Miles who also voices the podcast's narrator, Nic Silver. In the show, Silver undertakes a search to discover what and where the mysterious entity Tanis is. While the style of Tanis evokes the earlier investigative nonfiction podcast Serial and its plot commingles real-world historical events and places with fictional elements, Tanis's production team never acknowledges the story's fictional nature.
After its premiere on October 13, 2015, episodes of Tanis have generally been released every two weeks, with longer gaps between each of its three seasons. Critical reception of the show has been positive and it peaked on the U.S. iTunes podcast download chart in the eleventh spot. A television adaptation of the podcast is planned as of 2017.
Content[edit | edit source]
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Nic Silver, a former radio host, discovers references to something called Tanis in two disparate sources. He begins hosting the podcast in an effort to determine what and where Tanis may be, quickly enlisting the help of an "information specialist" known via the username Meerkatnip. Silver comes to believe that Tanis is currently somewhere in the Puget Sound area. His search, aided with information provided by Meerkatnip, leads him to confront a variety of mysterious groups and organizations: Tesla Nova Corporation, a group Silver calls "The Cult of Tanis", and a group known as the Grackles.
Format[edit | edit source]
Tanis is a mystery horror podcast released every two weeks on iTunes and other services. Terry Miles, with the production company Public Radio Alliance, serves as the show's executive producer and provides the voice work for Silver, who Miles refers to as his "cousin" and who is listed as the show's other executive producer. Episodes of the show take approximately one week to plot and write, another week to record, and two weeks to mix, edit, and score. Dialogue is recorded where it occurs in the narrative, such that a scene which takes place in Tanis in a living room would be recorded in an actual living room. Tanis is scored with backing music and features a musical intro song by Miles's former band, Ashley Park. Financial support for the podcast comes from listeners via Patreon and sponsors, for whose products and services ads are integrated into the production.
The podcast was described as "deep fiction" by The Guardian because, while it blends real-world and fictional events and people into its narrative, the show's creators and characters never acknowledge that the podcast is fictitious. The podcast, according to Molly Osberg in Vice, occurs in a world that "isn't so much an alternate reality as [a world] that hovers comfortably adjacent to ours." In addition to the regular episodes, Miles also produces a variety of supporting documents and interviews which he posts on the show's official website in order to lend plausibility to the notion that the events of the show may be real. Tanis mimics the successful format of the earlier nonfictional investigative podcast Serial, notably its "unpretentious narrative style and mystery 'plot'". It is one of a spate of podcasts released in the wake of Serial's first season in 2014 that remixed those elements of Serial with the horror and mystery genres, other such podcasts including Alice Isn't Dead, Ars Paradoxica, and Tanis sister show The Black Tapes.
Themes[edit | edit source]
Themes of powerlessness and uneasy alliance with a (possible) enemy are present in Tanis's narrative. Michael J. Collins described a pattern in mystery horror podcasts of narrators existing within uncertain personal or professional situations, such as Silver's inconsistent work and sleep schedules, which mimic "the lifestyles of overworked, yet unremunerated, Millennials." Collins wrote that Tanis evoked millennial economic unease when Silver accepts aid in his investigation from Tesla Nova Corporation and thus becomes complicit with the organization Silver believes may be responsible for the goings-on he is investigating.
Episodes[edit | edit source]
The first season of Tanis premiered October 13, 2015, when the first two episodes were released. The third episode was released on October 19 and subsequent episodes have generally been released every two weeks. The second season premiered April 20, 2016, and season three premiered February 21, 2017.
Season 1[edit | edit source]
|Episode||Title||Release date||Production code|
|1||"Seeking Tanis, Runner Available"||October 13, 2015||101|
|2||"Radio, Radio"||October 13, 2015||102|
|3||"The Girl in the High Tower"||October 19, 2015||103|
|4||"The End of Rocketman"||November 3, 2015||104|
|5||"A Rat, a Writer and a Conspiracy Theory"||November 18, 2015||105|
|6||"The Servant Girl Annihilator"||December 1, 2015||106|
|7||"A Dungeon Masters Guide to Tanis"||December 16, 2015||107|
|8||"Raywood, WA: Population One"||January 6, 2016||108|
|9||"A Man, a Milkshake, and a Serial Murderer"||January 19, 2016||109|
|10||"The Grackles"||February 3, 2016||110|
|11||"Eld Fen"||February 17, 2016||111|
|12||"The Map"||March 2, 2016||112|
Season 2[edit | edit source]
|Episode||Title||Release date||Production code|
|1||"The Wall"||April 20, 2016||201|
|2||"Levity Elks"||May 4, 2016||202|
|3||"Pacifica"||May 18, 2016||203|
|4||"The Alameter Line"||May 31, 2016||204|
|5||"A Message, a Manuscript, and a Russian Picnic"||June 15, 2016||205|
|6||"Phyreses and Aries"||June 29, 2016||206|
|7||"Devil's Fingers"||July 27, 2016||207|
|8||"The Map to Heaven"||August 10, 2016||208|
|9||"Was It the Red King, Kitty?"||August 23, 2016||209|
|10||"The Voice in the Darkness"||September 7, 2016||210|
|11||"Once More unto the Breach"||September 21, 2016||211|
|12||"We Get What We Deserve"||October 5, 2016||212|
Season 3[edit | edit source]
|Episode||Title||Release date||Production code|
|1||"Frances Manners' Place in the Woods"||February 21, 2017||301|
|2||"The Office of Alien Property"||March 8, 2017||302|
|3||"An Artifact, an Adorcist, and an Asylum"||March 21, 2017||303|
|4||"The Lines of Alaise"||April 5, 2017||304|
|5||"Elements and Artifacts"||April 19, 2017||305|
|6||"Brother, Where Art Thou?"||May 3, 2017||306|
|7||"God in the Machine"||May 31, 2017||307|
|8||"The Second Barrier Study"||June 14, 2017||308|
|9||"The Taskers, the Smallwater, and Lovecraft's Friend"||June 28, 2017||309|
|10||"The Ath"||July 12, 2017||310|
|11||"Feathers or Fur?"||July 26, 2017||311|
|12||"Between There and Here"||August 9, 2017||312|
Reception[edit | edit source]
Tanis has received critical acclaim. Melissa Locker, writing in The Guardian described the podcast, as well as sister show The Black Tapes, as "compelling and wildly addictive." The scholars Danielle Hancock and Leslie McMurtry described the podcast as "elegantly illustrat[ing] the new Gothic horror podcast paradigm" on account of its production value, attentiveness to the possibilities of the podcast format, and in-universe connections with traditional elements of Gothic fiction. In Bustle, Lucia Peters praised the melding of real-world and fictional elements in Tanis's narrative, calling the podcast "a fascinating, if somewhat confusing, ride." Tanis peaked on the U.S. iTunes podcast download chart at number 11.
Television adaptation[edit | edit source]
In 2017, Universal Cable Productions and Dark Horse Entertainment announced a deal to adapt Tanis for television, led by Miles and television writer Lee Shipman. Sam Raimi and Debbie Liebling will serve as the show's producers.
References[edit | edit source]
- Locker, Melissa (December 19, 2015). "Listen to This: how Tanis podcast keeps mystery alive in internet age". The Guardian. Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- Collins, Michael J. (2016). "Pod People: Brave New Worlds of Digital Audio Drama". Alluvium. 5 (4). doi: .
- Dudley, Joshua (March 24, 2017). "People Who Podcast: 'Tanis' Creator Terry Miles Obsessed With Black Tapes, Rabbits". Observer. Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- Tatham, Chelsea (June 5, 2017). "What to watch and listen to this week: New additions to streaming, Tanis podcast". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on June 10, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
- Osberg, Molly (February 24, 2016). "'The Black Tapes' Is 'Serial' Meets Creepypasta". Vice. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
- "TANIS by Pacific Northwest Stories". Apple Podcasts. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
- Hancock, Danielle; McMurtry, Leslie (2017). "'Cycles upon cycles, stories upon stories': contemporary audio media and podcast horror's new frights". Palgrave Communications. 3: 17075. doi: .
- Peters, Lucia (October 7, 2016). "8 Creepy Podcasts To Listen To Late At Night". Bustle. Archived from the original on September 1, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
- Shaw, Rob (June 23, 2016). "Vancouver duo enjoys success with popular Black Tapes and Tanis podcasts". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on November 2, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- Stanhope, Kate (July 17, 2017). "'Mind MGMT,' 'Flutter' Adaptations in the Works at UCP as Dark Horse Re-Ups Pact". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 15, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.