My family and I have been avid Jonathan Park fans for many years. We see the clear issues with the Original Series (sound effects, deus ex machina, abrupt teaching moments, etc.), and we were looking forward to listening to the new series after we subscribed to JP Unlimited. However, we were dissapointed in many ways by these first two albums (Sorry, series. It's gonna take a while to get used to that, lol).
A) The Script
While the scriptwriting is an improvement over the original series in terms of blending teaching into the story, it fails miserably in making me feel attached to these characters.
Jessie has two different "modes", if you will. One is a high-pitched, immature food enthusiast who experiences emotions much like a pubescent girl would, EXCEPT she is 16 (according to the description). The other is a spiritual, serious investigator who doggedly and sometimes ruthlessly digs into someones past. And, in the case of the second series, album 1, she even posts highly sensitive information about someone she knows (and highly distrusts) in an effort to... you know? I don't even know what her motive was. She said it was to convince him to change his mind, but it seems like just a ridiculous invasion of privacy, ESPECIALLY since he asked her to not even look into his past. This is his right, and she should respect that.
Isaac is equally interesting. He fluctuates between a measured, intelligent Christian who is struggling with his faith. But, at seemingly random moments (to fit the plot, I guess), he morphs into a Bible-trashing, immoral jerk who attacks Jonathan and the others with calculated jabs, threats, and even violence at times.
Jonathan. A quasi-perfect, hyper-intelligent Christian who has a never-ending supply of memorized verses, rarely seems to be in the wrong (if ever), and is only opposed by someone in the wrong. He is the voice of the writers/publishers. This is shown by his consistent (but unrealistic) inclination to pray literally all the time. While it's good to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17), there are times where it is not wise to push someone to pray, and borderline rude. When you talk about how someones father has died, that person shows that they are still hurt and don't want to talk about him or God, and you then proceed to ask him to PRAY with you? Again, he should prolly be praying then, but he just asked you to not talk about his father (in both senses, lol). This person did not take it well, and it clearly impacted their relationship with each other.
Really quick, tell me if this sounds like good scriptwriting:
Doctor Maddox: What brings you to Cairo? You look rather young to be walking the mysterious streets of Cairo unaccompanied at night.
"and 'it' is a pronoun, replacing the noun, kangaroooooo" #SchoolhouseRock
B) Sound Design
The production quality of the original stuff wasn't perfect, but it was adequate for the era it was first released in. The fact that it never really improved over the following years just shows they couldn't/wouldn't put more resources into the production. But when A) sound effects/voices are put in a ridiculously unequal balance between Left and Right tracks, B) Vocal clips are placed together so close that they nearly interrupt each other, and C) when sound effects are so much louder than voices that they drown out the voices and hurt my ears, there is a serious issue with sound design, especially with this being a BRAND-NEW production in the year 2017. It is unacceptable, especially since these issues were not corrected in the second series.
C) Archaeological Finds (and lack of listed sources)
Many of the archaeological finds (burial boxes, for example) seem to be made up. I was unable to find any real example of them, and I tried a LOT. In addition, these burial boxes (supposedly containing bones of male infants) don't even work with the evidence. The Bible says that the Hebrew midwives were commanded to murder infant boys, but they REFUSED. This means they didn't kill any babies. This is followed by the command to throw boys into the Nile River. This does not mean that the boys were killed, then returned to their parents. They were thrown into the Nile River. No offense (seriously, don't take offense to this), but it would be a little hard to fish infants corpses out of the Nile River. It's pretty big, and babies are really small.
Even though I've said all of this, I'm not all negative on Jonathan Park. I really appreciate what they've done in general with reviving this franchise, and I LOVE the third series. In my opinion, you should skip these series and go straight to that one. It has a little recap at the beginning, you're not missing that much. I just wanted to express my opinions on these two series and give people a proper warning before they give these a listen.
P.S. Jessie sings too much. That's not even a real problem, I just don't like it lol.