As the finale to Aliens Among Us approaches, it seems a good time to have a look back at some of the recent entries in Big Finish’s monthly range of Torchwood that has helped pave the way in popularity and quality. They all feature members of the team who would be unlikely to appear in that “fifth season” – though stranger things have certainly happened in the series! – and tell very different tales in different ways. But how do they fare as entries to the Torchwood canon?
First up for this catchup is the easier to type than say torchwood_cascade_CDRIP.tor, or Cascade as it may be found referred for ease. With anti-piracy ads more likely to lead to memes than behaviour changes, what if the next step were to be more… direct? But before you WannCry 😉 Tosh is on the case!
If the idea of found footage makes you travelsick even when it’s in audio, Torchwood: Cascade probably isn’t going to be for you. It’s not the kind of story that would tend for those driving as the story has elements less linear than typical and the style involves some sudden volume fluctuations that may not be ideal when in traffic!
That aside, it’s a fantastic technical showcase with an emotive and prescient story that adds to the Torch-verse and could potentially give different angles in future. And if you’re considering downloading from any “unofficial” source, remember how much it is at your own risk…
On to The Office That Never Was, and it’s more the Ianto show as he investigates a potentially haunted building.
There’s some nicely set up turns and you see a darker edge to Ianto that shows his depth and place within the Torchwood team where set at a point that did seem to jump from coffee boy to team member. It’s obvious from early on that it’s not a typical ghost story, but by the same token it takes a different angle than the way Torchwood has treated such in the past. Gareth David-Lloyd has been given some real chances to shine in the audio series and this is no exception, with an edge of darkness added to Ianto that both add a slightly new angle to his character without being out of the character already established. That’s testament to both the writing and acting involved, and makes The Office That Never Was a personal highlight!
The Dying Room is something different again, taking place in occupied wartime France and an interrogation by the SS. Taking a different angle in expanding the Torch-verse (yes, that again) it steers away from more recognised characters and instead sets its own. This has a benefit – both interrogator Grau and prisoner DeLuc are engaging characters you want to hear more of – although the plot takes less focus which can occasionally feel rushed as the running time really flies in this story.
There’s a touch of stereotyping to the Nazi evil but it leads to a satisfying denoument that wouldn’t be expected at the start of the story – more please for this side to wartime Torchwood!
It goes without saying that the production values are great as always, and the casts and directing keep the consistently high quality that this range has typified. The Monthly Range (due to continue in March) is a great place to experience audio Torchwood for the first time with an excellent variety and stand-alone options, so what better time to catch up?