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Reviews By RyanOM1991
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: RyanOM1991Review Date: 11/9/16 9:44 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Eerie, funny and poignant.

The Doctor and Leela land in the middle of a Russian weapons project. Saying any more would spoil this little gem, which is played completely straight with grim seriousness throughout.

The plot isn't overly fast-paced but the atmosphere and suspense is heavy and tangible throughout, thanks largely to Stephen Critchlow's performance and the effective sound design. The use of silence and subtle effects form a palpable sense of foreboding.

Stephen Critchlow's performances as the characters are excellent. Although his Leela is a little off (it's hard to imagine anyone but Louise Jameson nailing the role) his Fourth Doctor is exceptional. He doesn't mimic Tom Baker, but he perfectly captures the essence of the character and gets the vocal mannerisms spot on. All the supporting characters are easily differentiated and Mr Critchlow imbues them with a depth of character simply through the conviction of his performance.

The script is sharply written. Although the literal dialogue may not seem to reveal much, John Pritchard encourages the listener to read between the lines. Exchanges are often terse and short, but it's this understatement that makes each character all the more real.

It has to be said that not a lot actually happens, but the vivid descriptions and the mystery of the threat keep the listener on their toes. The nature of the threat itself won't be spoiled here, but it is particularly unsettling and - in the final scene - very poignant. There is definitely a philosophical message running throughout that comes to a climax at the end, but it is done with subtlety and never feels heavy-handed.

If you're expecting a roller coaster ride, Sirens won't do it for you. But if you're looking for an extremely atmospheric character-based story with effectively understated drama, this is a perfect choice.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: RyanOM1991Review Date: 2/6/16 9:01 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Thoughtful, cutting and disturbing.

Uncanny Valley picks up where The Conspiracy left off. Jack Harkness is still on the trail of The Committee. His investigations have led him to a castle in rainy Wales owned by multi-millionaire arms contractor Neil Redmond.

While it seemed he was finding his feet again as the character, John Barrowman has clearly settled back into the role of Jack Harkness. There is no doubt that this is the same character we left 4 and a half years ago. His charisma shines throughout his scenes and provides some much needed optimism to the story to balance the dark storyline.

Although it's his face on the cover, Barrowman really has the supporting role as the majority of the story is told in flashback from the point of view of Neil Redmond, played by the talented Steven Cree.

Portrayed as a lost and broken man after a car accident, Redmond is given a raw and gritty portrayal by Steven Cree. His story of a man that his peak who plunges to the darkest depths is made all the more effective by the actor'so performance. What could easily have been a smug and unlikeable protagonist is given energy and likability through Cree's naturalistic performance.

Without wanting to divulge spoilers, Cree also performs another role - that of NJ. While Cree's performance as Redmond uses naturalism to give the character a heart, flaws and soul, his performance as NJ is completely different. Cold, clinical and unsettling, the character evolves from naive and innocent to more complex and almost sadistic. The words that the character speaks are somehow rendered meaningless through their clinical tones, which is inherent to the character's chilling nature.

Although the story starts off as a typical Torchwood episode, it becomes far more involving and unsettling half way through, as it tackles some original and uncomfortable themes. It gets increasingly difficult to listen to (in a good way) but very rewarding. Redmond's fate has undoubtedly left him with some troubling issues, which makes the twisted relationship that develops with NJ unnervingly believable. The culmination of their relationship towards the end becomes even more disturbing, but was always inevitable.

It's hard to say that this is enjoyable as it's a challenging and disturbing listen, but it's highly recommended. Steven Cree has given a powerhouse dual performance, while the upbeat and charismatic support of John Barrowman provides a welcome counterpoint to the disturbing nature of the story.

It would be difficult to argue that this isn't the strongest installment yet, and it's hard to see how this can be topped. But I'll look forward to finding out.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: RyanOM1991Review Date: 2/6/16 8:08 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

One of the best Prisoner stories of all time.

In the original series, the strongest episodes pushed Six to the limit. This story does that more than any other.

Mark Elstob's performance is perfect - his portrayal of a man fighting to stay strong in the face of oblivion is masterfully pitched. Fury, confusion, depseration, despair - Mark Elstob effortlessly glides between these.

Sara Carver also offers a nuanced performance, giving her character a complexity that could easily have been left aside in the hands of lesser actresses. In spite of some morally questionable actions, the listener is left with no doubt that the character's intentions are good as Sara Carver offers a vulnerable but dignified take on a victim of the Village. She makes an important scene between Nine and Six very affecting by layering her character's fear and sadness with a dose of strength. Listening to the scene was heartbreaking - you'll know it when you hear it.

Ramon Tikarim is perfect as Number Two - charming, suave and sinister. His smooth tones prove to be a perfect counterpoint to his character's disguised but tangible nastiness. Offering a person opinion, his take on Number 2 is up there with that of Leo McKern. It would be a shame if this proves to be his only story.

Helen Goldwyn's diversity of performances is clearer here than ever - deranged, calculated, menacing - it seems her range is extremely broad.

Nicholas Briggs has written a masterpiece of a story. It's tightly constructed, disturbing and deeply affecting. In my opinion, easily the best of the set. While the previous two stories in the set have been well written, they essentially tell the same stories as the originals and restrict the writer's creativity. Nicholas Briggs is an extremely imaginative and thoughtful writer, so an original story where he has carte blanche to take the story wherever he wants is extremely welcome.

The sound design and music are also extremely effective, building a disquieting and unsettling atmosphere.

Overall, one of the strongest stories of The Prisoner of all time (including the original series). One can only hope that Nicholas Briggs writes many more original stories for the series.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: RyanOM1991Review Date: 1/9/16 8:24 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Not a fast-paced start, but something much more thoughtful and effective.

Doctor Who has been criticised by some for its frantic pace since 2005, so this more considered and thoughtful approach was a nice surprise.

John Hurt lends some welcome gravitas to the part of the Doctor - sympathetic and abrasive in equal measure. He pitches the role perfectly, avoiding melodrama but never underplaying.

Lucy Briggs-Owen is equally excellent. She's strong, not brash. She's confident, not cocky. She's witty, not irritating. Like John Hurt, she pitches it naturalistically without losing any of the drama. With her performance and Nicholas Briggs' engaging scripting, Rejoice is the perfect budding "companion".

Happily, this isn't an explosive noisy blockbuster but a thoughtful reflection on war has affected both the universe and the Doctor. Nicholas Briggs scripting is superb, dealing with heavy-handed issues in a meaningful and realistic way. Nothing feels contrite or melodramatic - the angst and bleakness is handled intimately and with dignity. As expected, this doesn't feel like a typical Doctor Who story - no running through corridors or bombast. This is something far more reflective and engaging.

The soundscape and music is amongst the best that Big Finish has ever produced, building a variety of tangible atmospheres within seconds.

A triumphant beginning to the series which holds great promise.

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