What Is The Difference Between Archive 81 Podcast And Netflix Show?

Archive 81 is one of the Netflix horror shows that tend to be quite unique in the sense that it takes supernatural horror to a different level with its slow-burn and tense type of spookiness. But not a lot of people know that Archive 81 is actually a horror series that is based on a podcast series of the same name. Even the creators of the podcast are co-producers in the Netflix series. So, what is the difference between the Archive 81 podcast and Netflix show?

While the main characters in the Netflix show are the same, the difference lies in the overall focus of the plot. For example, the focus of the podcast is more of a cosmic sense, which is far off from the theological aspect of the Netflix series. This means that the cultist aspect of the Netflix show is highlighted.

Even though the Netflix series is similar to the podcast in a lot of ways, there are also plenty of differences between them. As such, one could say that the series is loosely based on the podcast but isn’t exactly the same. Of course, because a show is a lot different from a podcast, it was important for the showrunners to find a way to make the Netflix series unique.

Is Archive 81 Based On The Podcast?

Archive 81 is one of the newest entries for 2022 in Netflix’s growing library of horror shows. But the thing about Archive 81 is that it isn’t the same as the other horror shows that you can find on Netflix because it doesn’t use the same scare tactics that are usually prevalent in scary movies and shows. Instead, it is more of a slow-burn and psychological type of scary.

For those who are familiar with podcasts and are fond of listening to them, one of the most popular podcasts is Archive 81. Sounds familiar, right? That’s because the name of the podcast is obviously the same as the name of the Netflix series. But does that mean that the Netflix series is based on the podcast?

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The absolute fact is that Archive 81 Netflix series is actually based on the podcast of the same name. That’s because the name of the main characters and the overall premise of the series and the podcast are the same. 

So, while a lot of movies and shows are adaptations of books, comic books, webtoons, and other similar forms of literature, Archive 81 is unique because it was based on a podcast. For those who are not familiar, podcasts are episodic audio files that talk about certain topics. And for the Archive 81 podcast, it focuses on a manner of storytelling that is almost the same as an audiobook but is more of a TV show in the sense that it only has the audio aspect of the show.

What Is Archive 81 Podcast About?

Those who have seen the Archive 81 Netflix series would know what the basic premise of the story is. Basically, it follows a character named Dan, whose job involves restoring old and damaged video files. As Dan was working on a series of mysterious videos that were recovered from a building that burned down in the 90s, he began to experience supernatural events from the videos themselves.

Now, while you already know what the Archive 81 Netflix series is all about, what is the Archive 81 podcast about? Is the basic premise of the podcast the same as the story of the Archive 81 Netflix series?

In a manner of speaking, the Archive 81 podcast follows the same premise because, after all, the Netflix series was simply based on the podcast. The podcast is created by Daniel Powell and Marc Sollinger, who also play as characters in the podcast.

The Archive 81 podcast uses an episodic fiction format that narrates and tells the story of Dan, who works on restoring damaged audio files from cassette tapes. He discovers that a girl named Melody was involved in some supernatural events long ago, as she was recording the events on a cassette. Meanwhile, Dan also experiences supernatural events stemming from the audio files he was trying to restore.

As you can see, the premise of the podcast is just the same as the premise of the Netflix series. After all, the Netflix series is kind of an adaptation of the podcast. However, as you will soon know, there are some differences between the two.

What Is The Difference Between Archive 81 Podcast And Show?

Even though the Netflix series is an adaptation of the Archive 81 podcast, what people don’t know is that plenty of the things that are in the live-action adaptation are quite original in the sense that they are not found in the podcast. As such, you can also say that while the Archive 81 Netflix series adapted the podcast, it is only loosely based on it.

Then again, the creators of the podcast are involved in the Netflix series, as they are actually co-producers. That means that whatever differences were introduced in the Netflix version come with the blessing and the creative input of the podcast creators themselves, So, what are the differences between the Archive 81 podcast and show?

Cassette Tapes Turned Into VHS Tapes

The most obvious difference between the Netflix series and the podcast is the fact that the show version used VHS tapes. And it makes sense for the series to use VHS tapes because it delivers the story in a video format.

On the other hand, the podcast revolved around Dan restoring cassette tapes instead of video tapes. That means that he was only restoring audio files, and it was through these audio files that he got to know Melody’s story while experiencing supernatural events as well. And because podcasts are only audio, it makes sense for the podcast version of Archive 81 to use cassettes.

But for the Netflix series, using cassettes would take away the interactive portion of Melody’s story. It made sense for the showrunners to use VHS tapes instead so that Dan could immerse himself in Melody’s story while witnessing through his eyes the many supernatural events that occurred back then.

Melody’s Sexuality

This is merely a minor change in the Netflix version, as Melody is straight in the show. Meanwhile, in the podcast, Melody is lesbian because she actually has a wife. And the change may seem odd to people who are familiar with the podcast because plenty of shows nowadays are more inclusive in the way they deliver the sexuality of their characters.

But it makes sense that Melody is straight if you think about it. In the Netflix series, she has a romantic relationship with Samuel, who turned out to be the main antagonist of the show. The fact that Melody was involved with Samuel was an important part of the series because of how it allowed Samuel to manipulate her.

The Supernatural Aspect

Arguably the biggest difference between the Netflix version and the podcast is the supernatural aspect of the Archive 81 story. This is why we said that the premise of the two versions is the same, but the flow of the story may not be similar. And this is also why the Netflix version is, in a way, only loosely based on the podcast.

In the podcast, the supernatural aspect of the series is at a cosmic level that explores gods and other similar deities. The podcast gives you a Lovecraftian element in the supernatural events that are happening to the characters, and the fact that the level is cosmic makes you see how irrelevant and small the podcast characters are in the greater scheme of things.

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On the other hand, the Archive 81 series focuses more on a religious and cultist approach in delivering the supernatural part of the story. The Visser, which is the building that burned down and the very same building that was the subject of the videos that Dan was trying to restore, houses a cult that worships a demonic deity named Kaelogo, who is entirely original to the Netflix series.

Kaelogo was trapped in a statute by a group of witches called the Baldung. Meanwhile, the cult in the Visser worships the statue and uses the supernatural mold seeping out of the statue to mess with the psyche of the other people living in the Visser.

So, in a way, the main focus of the Netflix series is different from the one in the podcast, even though they have the same premise in the sense that the supernatural events stem from the cassettes/VHS tapes that Dan was restoring.