Review: Build a Prince

Review: Build a Prince

One of the staples of at least the American Christmas is the Hallmark Movie. I remember getting sucked into them, pretending to read a book in front of our fireplace as my mom decided 17 movies in a row with vaguely the same plot was an excellent way to spend a day.

While incredibly meme-able, the Hallmark Christmas Movie is a phenomenon we look forward to. These movies have created a space in our culture, and while I wish there were wider parameters for the movies, I understand the space they inhabit. You’re not supposed to think, you’re supposed to feel, be entertained, and move into another world with a happy ending.*

With this new podcast, Build a Prince, we have exactly that (at least hopefully as not all of the episodes have been released yet). This new audio drama brings us a familiar setup:  a fictional European nation, royalty, and a nonroyal in a romantic storyline. It’s familiar, but better because this time it’s a Princess who needs a Prince instead of a Prince who needs a nanny, cook, or whatever other non-romantic endeavor a writer came up with that once upon a time ago. Princess Adelaide, played by Spencer Grammer, and Hayden played by Billy Flynn, give us a charming, and entertaining performance with the go-to dramatic flair of daytime television. While some people might walk away from the idea, I hope you don’t. This is a podcast to relax to, to enjoy for the sake of enjoying it.

Written and directed by Jenni Melear with the story by Jenni Melear and Elena Farinas Phillips, Build a Prince gives us the comfort of a holiday romance, with the flair of a nearly Lady Whistledown-style narration, and a solid production. It is a modern-day love story, but obviously with the posh attitude of royalty. While I wish some scenes had more of a soundscape, I’d rather have less than too much background noise trying to make a scene. The simplicity brings an extra charm to the story. Honestly, everything about this story is warm, familiar, and fun to listen to as you decorate, shop, and generally move through one of the most stressful times of year.

Episodes are released on Fridays and are about twenty minutes long. I look forward to waiting for every episode to be released to listen to it all in one go, hopefully when I’m curled up under a blanket on Christmas Eve, with a warm cup of cocoa in my hands.

Listen to Build A Prince here

The Bigger Picture*

I find myself having some degree of audio fiction fatigue. One, there’s a lot of audio drama that sits in the horror and science fiction world. While I enjoy them, the degree of fatigue I have listening to these podcasts is real. I don’t enjoy being scared all the time, and so I really measure the amount of audio drama I intake, because there’s such a saturation of this type of podcast.

Build a Prince gives us a different feel, and I hope it catches on. Kaleidoscope, the podcast studio behind Skyline Drive released this reel earlier this week about podcasting needing more well-produced “low” topics. The amount of times I say something along the lines of “this is an important topic” is incredible. There’s a saturation of it. Yes, there are a lot of important topics to be aware of. Listeners also need a variety of fun, not heartwrenchingly important topics to engage with. Comments on the above reel included dating show backgrounds, but I also want more fiction that hits this nail on the head like Build a Prince has. I don’t always want to walk away from a podcast with big feelings. Sometimes, I just want some cocoa to sip on and enjoy the sugary sweetness of it.