Hank the Cowdog podcast: Lost in the Dark Uncharted Forest review

The first episode of the Hank the Cowdog podcast, “Lost in the Dark Uncharted Forest,” has dropped.

The first episode of the Hank the Cowdog podcast, “Lost in the Dark Uncharted Forest,” dropped on Monday, September 14, and it’s a good start.

Storyline

If listeners aren’t used to John R Erickson’s series of children’s novels set on a Texas Panhandle ranch, “Lost in the Dark Uncharted Forest” does well at introducing the setting and main characters – Head of Ranch Security Hank, insecure-but-common-sense-filled deputy mutt Drover, human ranch owners Loper and Sally May, their son Little Albert (about five-ish years old) and their hired help Slim.

Hank and Drover discover a giant paw print in the mud one day and soon determine that it belongs either to a raccoon, Pete the Barncat or Sinister the Bobcat. So they set up a stakeout that night to investigate.

The next morning, Loper and Sally May return from a mysterious-sounding place called a “hospital” with a tiny human critter called Molly, which neither Little Albert nor Hank is quite sure what to think of.

As the episode concludes, Hank and Drover spot Sinister hiding in a thicket of bushes.

What we thought

Matthew McConaughey nails Hank’s overwhelming self-importance in “Lost in the Dark Uncharted Forest,” and Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights) does a great job of voicing Drover. (Drover is a blend of Plemons’ FNL character Landry Clarke and Barney Fife, honestly.) Plemons’ real-life fiancee Kirsten Dunst also does well as Sally May in conveying her new-mother frustration and anxiety.

The strings-heavy music sets the tone as a throwback radio drama, and Hank’s personality as a narrator really comes through well in the writing. Listeners don’t have to have previous knowledge of Erickson’s books to enjoy and understand the story.

The Hank the Cowdog podcast will consist of five scripted episodes, and it was produced by QCODE and HTC Productions, and presented by the San Antonio-based grocery store chain H-E-B and Purple mattresses.

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The Hank the Cowdog podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Music and Spotify.