Reviewed By: traves8853
Review Date: 10/16/15 10:49 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
'Terror of the Sontarans' is written by John Dorney and Dan Starkey. Dan Starkey also plays all the Sontarans in this production, has played Sontarans in previous Big Finish productions as well as the TV series, where he plays Strax who is a Sontaran. All Sontarans are Dan Starkey, Dan Starkey is all Sontarans. There is a Sontaran on the cover of 'Terror of the Sontarans' and the opening scene has an obvious Sontaran voice. So, what is the first cliff hanger? It's the reveal, proper, of the Sontarans. Some might say that was underwhelming.
Mel and the Doctor receive a distress signal from an old mining facility that, unbeknownst to the Tardis crew, the Sontarans were using to test the mental and physical durability of alien species. It's a typical base under siege scenario. The psychic gems and sand are interesting ideas, yet not very original.
Andy Hardwick's music is majestic. The violins almost give me goose bumps. Yet, the music is overbearing and sits on top of the speech like oil on top of water. It often comes in unexpectedly and telegraphs what' coming. During action scenes speech can be drowned out. There is a deluge of bloviating characters with Anvil Jackson, Stettimer and Sontarans galore. Anvil is very much in the mould of Ace Rimmer/Lord Flash Heart. A lot of Sontarans trapped in non-Sontaran bodies. The Sontarans are squat sadists which is a refreshing change, and are perhaps at their most interesting when they are going mad. The non-Sontaran characters are shallow and forgettable. Sylvester and Bonnie both give memorable performances.
Lots of action scenes are set in the dark which leads to a lot of exclaiming, announcing and describing by the characters. The dialogue is also terribly clunky terrible often, and the exposition is often clumsy. Sontarans aren't exactly known for their eloquence are they? To be honest it was only the vague attempts at humour that kept me going through a lot of this, and most of those tend to fall flat. Ketch's observation that the Tardis is bigger on the inside is abruptly cut off by the Doctor snappily retorting, "Oh, do try and be original!" was both amusing and ironic.
For all its glossy production values this rather clunky. Main areas where it falls down is writing and directing. It's longer than it needs to be and the action scenes, of which there are many, are often confusing. The dialogue and narrative is trite. Overall, this makes for a very stodgy production. Doesn't cover its self in glory no matter how many Sontarans are in it.