Reviews

Big Finish – Torchwood 1.3: Forgotten Lives

BF TW 103 Forgotten Lives

Do you ever wonder as you get older where the time has gone, that it just seems to accelerate so that what seemed like just a few weeks ago was in fact much longer? Well, since last month’s Fall to Earth it seems that several years has passed to when we pick up with Gwen and Rhys in Forgotten Lives.

It’s been half a decade since the Miracle, and Torchwood’s surviving couple seem to be comparatively settled – such as they can be – raising their daughter and quietly avoiding attention. But a strange phonecall draws them northwards to the isolation of the Bryn Offa Nursing Home, and before you can say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch it’s clear that there’s something unnatural going on – that laundry is going to have to wait…

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The Flash 2×05 – The Darkness and the Light

Kendra and Cisco

Kendra and Cisco

It’s hard to believe we’re already quarter of the way into the season, and this episode demonstrates an element of urgency in continuing to set out the stall ready for the mid-season crossover and subsequent launch of Legends of Tomorrow. At the same time, it also has its own plot arcs to unfold.
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The Secret of Spring Heel’d Jack Episode One – The Peril of the Empires!

UNITED KINGDOM, 1877. When Aldershot Barracks is attacked by the flame-wreathed ‘Night Terror’, Jonah Smith is called out of retirement by Her Majesty’s Government and sent on one final, deadly mission – to capture Springheel Jack!
Peril of the Empires
The last two seasons of Spring Heel’d Jack have been a lot of fun, and I listened to this with high hopes that were in no way dampened.  However, it’s very different from the previous seasons: our hero is now in his 60s, and Jack is much more public than before and attracting all the wrong sort of attention at very high levels.  There is espionage and political intrigue, and baddies with great accents! Fun in a truly believably Victorian setting.

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Big Finish – Doctor Who Main Range 205 – Planet of the Rani

Miasimia Goria, once a quiet planet, now the remnant of the Rani’s failed experiment to create a race of new gods. Decades later, as the Rani languishes in a high security jail chosen specially by the Doctor as the most suitable containment for her, her mind remains free, and plotting. By the time the Doctor returns to speak about her parole hearing, he finds to his cost the dangers of underestimating the Rani’s resourceful, ever calculating nature.  Now the captive is the captor, and the Doctor will learn that there are things in his past that won’t be forgotten.  The only thing that could save him is that the Rani’s desire to finish her experiment may just be greater than her thirst for revenge. But on the ruins of Miasimia Goria, the Rani’s unexpected legacy may prove too much for both of them…

Planet of the Rani

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Big Finish – Doctor Who Main Range 204 – Criss Cross

Bletchley Park, Britain’s most secret weapon in the Second World War.  Early computers clatter away day and night, decoding enemy transmissions and revealing intelligence crucial to the country’s future.
Criss Cross
Leading WREN Mrs Constance Clarke and her team are working valiantly under the watchful eye of the recently arrived Dr Smith.  But while Smith is focussed on the transmissions of a certain spy, he’s unaware that he himself has caught the attention of MI5’s spycatchers. Will they catch up with the Doctor before he uncovers a threat that may just end the war by ending the world?

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The Flash 2×04 – The Fury of Firestorm

flash2x04After the use of a classic story name in episode two, the show continues to mine the comics, this time taking inspiration from one of the titles held by the Firestorm comic over the years.

Last week we saw that with Ronnie ripped from the Firestorm matrix, Professor Stein is unable to remain stable for much longer.
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Big Finish Eighth Doctor: Doom Coalition vol 1

Big Finish’s fourth Dark Eyes season finished that series of box sets with aplomb, and it was hard in many ways to see how the next Eight Doctor series could better it.

Well, I can tell you that the audio drama company has worked out the answer. It’s an answer of many parts, but an answer it is, because the recently released Doom Coalition volume 1 is absolutely awesome.

doomcoalitionhighres_image_large

This first of many Doom Coalition box sets stars Paul McGann as the Doctor, with Nicola Walker as companion and mopey erstwhile botwrangler (I’m going to use that phrase till someone acknowledges it’s great) Liv Chenka. Also introduced is Hattie Morahan as new companion Helen Sinclair, and the excellent Mark Bonnar (late of The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People off of the telly) as The Eleven. (more…)

Big Finish – Torchwood 1.2: Fall To Earth

Torchwood 1.2 Fall To Earth - Big Finiah

Time again for new Torchwood, and the second part of the new Big Finish series heralds the return of everyone’s favourite tea boy – Ianto Jones is here! Well, I say “here”, does the edge of the atmosphere count? He’s headed this way at least… what, under control? Bah, some people want everything…

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The Flash 2×03 – Family of Rogues

flash2x03After last week’s info-packed episode introducing the season arc and bringing non-comics readers up to speed on concepts such as parallel earths, this week’s is a notable change of pace.

Whilst the show keeps the various plates spinning, the focus of this episode leans more towards character development than the multiverse arc.
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The Woman Who Lived, review by Eddie McGuigan

The Woman Who Lived

Review by Eddie McGuigan

So, half way, almost, through this season. Half way out of the dark.

It’s fair to say that this has been the most successful run of episodes in many a year. Sure, there’s the odd droopy drawers moaning about this than and the next thing, but on the whole, it’s been pretty positively received. Part Two of the season promises to be a little more experimental – especially episodes 9 and 11 – but more of that at another time.

If I can criticise s9 at all at the moment it’s for its lack of great enemies – the Fisher King and the Mire are intriguing creations, but not nearly fleshed out enough, meaning they come across, unfortunately, as the Monster Of The Week. With the exception of Davros and Missy there’ve been no stand outs. Yet.

Unfortunately, The Woman Who Lived is pretty much following on in the same vein. It’s a cross between a character piece and a historical romp with a fair bit of jolly old banter, which, despite his protestations, the Doctor does well. Capaldi continues his evolution to be Doctor Prime as he wanders around with a Curio Detector. He seems surprised that it detects curios.

Catherine Tregenna takes a darker tone than Moffat and Mathieson last week in the fate of Ashildr and Maisie Williams manages quite admirably to get a lot of age into her young eyes. She’s not the villain of the piece, but that in itself is pretty much a catch all, over designed Any Monster.

The joy in this episode is in the dialogue and the drive and very much in the chemistry between Capaldi and Williams – this episode is very much Clara lite – and how the two old souls interact. The Doctor’s reticence to take Ashildr with him is beautifully played in Capaldi’s eyes, as is her desperation to leave such a backwards planet. The Doctor’s footprint is not as light as he would like it to be, it seems.

Rufus Hound, himself a huge fan, turns up as part of the deus ex machina finale which you’ll all see a million miles away, and is all a little convenient, but he’s fun in the role of Sam Swift the Quick and again gives more gravitas to the performance than you’d think.

The setting – 17 century England – and the Highwayman conceit – is pretty much irrelevant to the piece, it could be set anywhere, and could have any kind of monster in place of the Tharil-a-like we have, but it’s all pretty inoffensive and does what it does well enough.

There are ramifications in the actions of this story, and it’s all a bit serious and worthy and you just know it’s going to creep up again – and it should, or it’ll be a loose thread of Jenny proportions.  It’s a better episode than The Girl Who Died as it’s way less bitty and way more linear, and the performances are way more serious – director Bazalgette calmly and understatedly ushers the tale along – but it’s unlikely to win any awards, despite the hype. The echoes of this episode will ring more loudly than the episode itself probably deserves thanks to Maisie Williams and Ashildr but that’s fine – it’s a new thread, and, whilst it sort of echoes Captain Jack (Williams is way less sympathetic than Barrowman in Utopia) it won’t bother anyone enough to complain.

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