In 1994, Adventures in Odyssey producers made a decision that would change the course of Focus’s outreach, the careers of hundreds, and the fandom of thousands. What was the decision? To keep the show running after the voice of it’s main character, Hal Smith, passed away. This began an active search for a new voice, while on the other side of the radio, books were being published, the Last Chance Detectives was beginning, and people were wondering what would happen to their favorite show. When Paul Herlinger left after The Truth Chronicles was released, another search and another hiatus began. For me, this begs the question, how much longer can this show run?
This month Adventures in Odyssey will be celebrating it’s 33rd anniversary. It has managed to adapt to voices changing or actors passing away since then. One thing they have done is creating episodes explaining such things, (Coming of Age), or creating storylines out of circumstancial events (Whit’s Departure and Return Saga). Or, our least favorite option, just make the characters the actors played disappear (Richard Maxwell, Kelly).
In the case of whole families there could be a grand exit, and bring back certain characters periodically (such is the case with the Barclay’s with Jimmy and George). Or leave out some, but bring others in as sort of recurring characters (The Washingtons with Marvin and Ed). The last thing can be to keep characters as mainstream characters, while their family disappear, but are still made mention of (The Jones’ and Emily, and the Straussbergs with Mandy, until the Straussberg arc).
Now that we’ve looked at how it’s run in the past, lets look at how it could run in the future. In the role of writers, directors and producers, they can just hire new ones, like the team did with well-known Nathan Hoobler of Kathy Buchanan. Now Abigail Geiger has joined the team, and she could become just as renowned in 10, 15 years. With actors, it could be more tricky, but I’m sure they could work around it. The main problem would be if a main characters contract ended or worse, they died. If Will Ryan (and God forbid) passed away right now, would it start an arc? What about all the characters he plays? What would happen to them? Same with Katie Leigh. Just something to add to the equation.
In conclusion… We’ve evaluated writers and directors, actors, and even the possibility of main characters passing. How much longer can AIO run? Hypothetically speaking, forever. Odyssey has shown it has the means and the adaptaional ability to keep the show up. There might be bumps along the way, but the future looks very bright. Within the means of logic, however long they want. They can go for another 33 years if they think it best. Anyway: