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< 73. Thicker than Water
75. Scaredy Cat >

74. Live 34

Rating Votes
10
34%
41
9
18%
22
8
21%
25
7
14%
17
6
7%
9
5
0%
0
4
6%
7
3
0%
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2
0%
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1
0%
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Average Rating
8.3
Votes
121
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 8/20/17 5:22 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

I love stories that play around with form, and this is a wonderful example. It's a deceptively simple concept, and it's the superlative execution that really makes it work. It would be so easy to get this badly wrong, but "Live 34" maintains a very convincing illusion that we're listening to a live audio news broadcast. The guest cast has to get a lot of credit for the success of this story. The story only works if Drew Shahan, Charlotte Singh, and Ryan Wareing are credible as news personalities.

Incorporating different styles of news program is also very important to keep the story from getting bogged down or becoming overly repetitive. Part One gives us a live headline news program, Part Two takes the form of a pre-recorded news feature, and Part Three is a live "ride-along" style of program. This keeps the story fresh and engaging and prevents it from getting tedious.

It's also interesting how the script uses the regular cast, featuring just one familiar character in each of the first three episodes. The different perspectives we get from these three episodes combine to give the listener a very clear pitcure of the overall situation on Colony 34.

As others have noted, things start to get a bit stretched in the final episode. The inherent tension in the format comes from the fact that "Doctor Who" stories don't happen in real life, so the fourth episode (which reveals the full dimensions of the story and resolves it, live on-air) inevitably loses some of the realism and the plausibility of the first three parts. But that's a small problem, and it does little to undermine the effectiveness of the story as a whole. All in all, a wonderful story.

And I'm happy to say that my complaints about how politics and terrorism were used in "UNIT: The Longest Night" and "Gallifrey: Imperiatrix" do not apply to this story at all. This story gets it right.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: JacobzReview Date: 3/24/17 1:25 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The whole radio concept is super interesting and fantastically done, everyone is acting on top form. My one complaint is that the last episode feels a bit rushed. But other than that, super good.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 2/4/17 4:49 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This is one of Big Finish's most impressive experimental stories as we are brought four separate news casts from the radio station Live 34, the top channel on Colony 34 where the Doctor, Ace, and Hex have inserted themselves to challenge the regime of Premier Jaeger, the Colony's long-time ruler who has been delaying a general election for five years.

The story is chillingly realistic. The news programs feel true to life. Andrew Collins and Duncan Wiseby deserve a lot of credit for the way they played a news anchor and a news magazine host respectively. They manage to create a feeling of authenticity that brings appropriate and gravity to the proceedings. The realism makes the grim nature of this police state planet feel plausible and that's terrifying.

One complaint people about the story is that we've seen this all before: tyrannical government feeds misinformation, rules and oppresses planet, Doctor comes to the rescue. And yeah, that's true. But the difference between a good Doctor Who story and a bad one isn't the total originality of the plot, it's how the story is told. And this one is told brilliantly in a way that makes the grim reality of a police state come to life.

That's not to say the story is perfect. The second half of the final episode has problems as everything is sorted out with the help of a far-fetched technicality and whenever a character announces that they're doing a denouement, there's a problem. But that's not to say it's bad, just not as good as the rest of it. And the first three and a half episodes are so solid, I think the issues can be forgiven. It's still one of Doctor Who's all time best dystopian stories.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
4
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
1
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: YorickReview Date: 11/10/16 9:29 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

McCoy rolls enough r's to last a lifetime and some of the effects get annoying after a while especially when the station goes off air for 25 hours. On the whole a very average tale