Big Finish Main Range 14
“The Holy Terror”
Before I listened to this, I heard so many great things about it. And I gotta say, I was really excited to listen to this. And after I did, honestly, I was disappointed. I’m not saying it was “BAD”. It was great. The plot was amazing, the characters were all fantastic, and the twist was actually really shocking. Frobisher, the Doctor’s companion in this story was fun to listen to. Even though I got confused as to who he was at first, he grew on me pretty quickly. I like him. And the Doctor was 100% fantastic in this. Seriously, the Sixth Doctor maybe my favorite Doctor now. He’s so good on Big Finish. I love him. Now, even though there were this many fantastic things about “The Holy Terror”, I dunno. I think the main reason why I was disappointed was because I overhyped it for myself too much. I thought this was gonna be the best thing to come out from Big Finish. I really shouldn’t do that. It really kills the experience. I will listen to this again someday with a much open mind. Definitely. Overall, even though I was a bit disappointed, I had great fun listening to this. I’ll give it an 8/10.
Big Finish Main Range 6
"The Marian Conspiracy"
So I'm gonna be posting some "reviews" of Big Finish stories I've listened to recently. I thought it might be fun.
So after I listened to "Project: Twilight", I got curious to how Evelyn and The Doctor met, so I started listening to the first adventure with them together. And I gotta say this was such a nice story. Evelyn was AMAZING in this story, as was The Sixth Doctor. I got hooked with their chemistry really quickly. It was nice to see an old lady interacting with the Doctor. It was awesome. The story itself was nice. Nothing spectacular but nice. Over all, I'd give this an 8/10.
This range is billed as a return to the original Torchwood format and this second episode underlines that, but not necessarily in a good way. It aims for farce but it's not particularly funny, though often ridiculous (Gwen ruins a kidnapper's plans by pointing out she's over the legal limit. Not an excuse your average carjacker would accept, I'd imagine). It also continues what appears to be Aliens Among Us' Big Idea - the use of aliens as metaphors for immigrants in a problematic way.
It starts promisingly, with Gwen and Colchester staking out the hen night of a young woman suspected as being part of the new alien elite weaving its tentacles through the city (metaphorically... probably). Gwen believes most aliens seek refuge on Earth simply to make a better life for themselves and that the night will see nothing worse than alien puke everywhere. Colchester believes all aliens are an enemy to be, sooner or later, exterminated - and predicts death and disaster. Obviously this would be an uneventful episode if Gwen was right about the party, but making that parallel would requires Colchester's broader claim to be pushed back and it's not.
Then there’s the duo's reaction to the hen night eating their way through the night club.. There's no mention of making them pay for their crimes, but endless attempts to appease them by promising a cover up to prevent an escaltion. By the time one vampire girl is waved off in a truck which driver she's almost certainly going to have for lunch, you’re thinking it would be nice if Torchwood *tried* to protect the human race a *little* bit.
But there is good stuff here. The banter between Gwen and Colchester works well and his dichotomy between hard bastard at work, and big oul softie with his husband is still pretty fun.
And then there's the genuinely shocking cliffhanger than kills off a recurring TV character and throws everything we think we know about the ‘new’ Torchwood into question. If fairly average in itself, this succeeds in making you want to know what happens next.
'Epic' just about covers it. The it's one continuous three hour story yet doesn't outstay its welcome is testament to how good it is. Children of Earth is definitely the touchstone here. As well as the epic sweep, there's that sense of swiftly escalating dread as events spiral out of control and an examination of Jack's more morally dubious past acts. Most of all it has that sense of the mediocrity of evil - the corporate banality with which the deaths of thousands are plotted 'for the greater good.’ With a satisfyingly nasty disease at work, it's - of course - revealed to be a deliberate attempt to control the populace that's gotten out of control. Planned to turn infected people into unwitting listening devices and, in time, even to 'hack' their minds to edit out political dissent, it instead causes wires and cables to grotesquely start to burst from people's flesh, more Akira than Ghost in the Shell, for them to become obsessed with the people they love and then go on murder sprees. Each step of the way, those in charge spin each new failure as a new opportunity. Main baddy Frances Godalming's approach to the infection steadily breaking through each new cordon they set up for it is to see it as a great excuse to sell a cure, even though it doesn't work, and even to unleash a different disease she's been itching to try out.
I have to admit I have a disinclination towards conspiracy thrillers that use sinister vaccines as part of their plot. It's temptingly easy a way to structure your evil government agency (of 'Big Phara' corporation as the case may be) trying to work its nefarious will on the population. But these stories don't exist in a vacuum and I'm loathe to see the anti-vaxxer maniacs given any more grist for their mill. However, Outbreak is so well written, performed and conceived, it’s hard to hold it against it in this case.
Outbreak is definitely 'widescreen' Torchwood that more than justifies its 'special release' boxset treatment and a fantastic addition to the range.