Review By jolyon 7/9/14 1:22 pm
In theory, this adventure should work well. It has a strong cast that put in good performances. I wonder if Geoffrey Beevers draws attention to the problem with this story in his interview on the extras. He comments that there have been times where writers have given the Master really interesting things to do, in 'Master' and in 'Mastermind'. This story is more standard storytelling - which is great, but it's not going to get 10/10. I may have missed the explanation as to how the Master came up with this completely bonkers plan in the first place. Frankly, his plan here is so mad, it is up there with some of the Anthony Ainley incarnation plots, which is a plus in my book!
Louise Jameson gets some moving material to play with again. She delivers the goods, as you would expect, but there is something that left me feeling cold come the conclusion - it wouldn't be fair to say that it's the fourth Doctor himself, but knowing that I love both the Master and Leela in this story, my mild indifference may be towards Tom Baker's performance.
Certainly a release I will want to reassess in the future. I also look forward to seeing others review this, to see if they can put their finger on where this doesn't seem to work.
Review By jolyon 6/8/14 10:31 am
Judges opens with a pre-credit sequence that fans of the TV series have been waiting for: Greg, Jenny and Abby are back. In just a few sentences the relationships are clearly established and as the episode progresses it is simple to work out where in the first series this is set. The story has parallels with a number of the television episodes that look at how you police a community that has no law.
In my eyes, the strongest episodes of the TV series are those that look at how we would deal with death in a society that has just seen so much life lost. I thought that 'Exodus' touched on this in a hard fashion, but in 'Judges' shots are fired in anger, the body count continues to grow and not all of my favourite characters make it safely to the end credits - this is so very Terry Nation. Everybody is given a clear motive for behaving in the way that they do - Adrian Lukis plays a blinder as James Gillison. Once again, the listener is drained, but must know what happens next...
Review By jolyon 6/7/14 7:12 am
Straight gritty adult drama. Voices you may love in other ranges are given devastating material to perform. The cast give this everything. Louise Jameson and Terry Molloy both offer opportunities to shed a tear before bedtime. No spoilers here, just a note to say that the production team have a lot of respect for the original series, as you would expect from Big Finish. Nothing about this provides comfortable listening, but I want to carry on with it, and I want to hear more. I just wouldn't want to think about the choices they have to make, or what I would do in their position.
The interview extras also provide some beautiful supporting comment. A mature release.
Review By jolyon 5/31/14 3:09 pm
It's funny how the order you listen to these adventures can have an impact on how you assess them. Only yesterday I was reviewing 'Survival of the Fittest' with a plot made possible by highlighting the importance of the TARDIS to make communication with aliens possible. What was once a 'Time Lord gift' is crucial to this story as well, but used in a very different but equally clever way to forward the plot. The conceit of the Criminal Code provides enough material to get to the midpoint, allowing for an action-packed second episode.
Lisa Bowerman is great as Bernice and she is given a good story to tell. The framing device for telling the story works perfectly.
Review By jolyon 5/31/14 3:24 am
Goodness me this little three-parter is something very special.
We have a Doctor and Klein who have travelled far and wide, allowing her to have mellowed. The tensions become a grudging respect as she finds that she learns from him. Then we have the TARDIS, a focus for Klein's interest and central to this production as the device that allows the humans to communicate with the aliens. We have the aliens, like bees in a hive, communicating by scent, with a capacity to engage with what they see in total honesty but an instinct that kicks in when the fear and anger become too much. We have the humans, a sort of Glitz and Dibber, who bring humour, humanity and dishonesty into the mix.
Klein's journey here is glorious. From mellow time traveller, she learns about the insect culture, becomes our viewpoint character against the humans and we support her, even though she delights in being able to play the authority figure again. But, like the insects, when it all becomes too much - the anger of having been manipulated by the Doctor again - her instinct kicks in and she is as base as the warriors of the hive.
If you can be moved by the death of a butterfly, horrified by the impact humanity can have on a hive, intrigued by a fresh take on what insects might say if they could speak to us, and delighted by a tidy calm performance from Sylvester McCoy, this is the story for you. Incredible world-building.
Review By jolyon 2/1/14 2:24 am
Dark and challenging, playing on the public perception of lawyers, this is one of Big Finish's most testing plays. When the perfect job offer comes along, Tony reasons it through with the assistance of the mysterious Lou. As the journey they share takes some unpleasant turns, Tony must consider all of the information open to him to stay on top of the situation and survive.
David Llewellyn has written a beautiful insight into the demons that haunt Tony, the past that led him to this train journey, and his decision making process. Jerry Lacy and W Morgan Sheppard put in a couple of spot on performances.
The last few tracks of this play are everything I have come to expect from the Big Finish Dark Shadows range. Loved it.
Review By jolyon 11/25/13 8:11 am
The Dark Shadows range maintains the consistently high standard. Terry Molloy puts in a nice performance as Moloch, whilst Fay Masterson's Sally is an interesting foil for Quentin Collins. Thanks to a little recap and some helpful infodump, the story stands up well alone. With vampires, werewolves and zombies, the heart continues to lie in the human story at the centre. Twisty turny fun and games.
Review By jolyon 6/15/13 2:19 pm
The Mervyn Stone books are so very funny, but this is a bitesize taste of what made the novels work so well. If you love a murder mystery mixed with comedy, this is the release for you. The last tracks are completely game-changing. You'll spend a little bit of time trying to work out who is a grotesque twist on who from the real world and then the last track gives a new level of self-awareness. Big Finish hold a twisted mirror up to themselves in an hour of audio that must - PLEASE - be the start of a new series...
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