Friday, 20 June 2014
REVIEW - DOCTOR WHO - RANDOM GHOSTS (SPOILER-FREE)
"In the wrong hands, power can be dangerous. But not mine."
Ironically, this title sounded the most interesting out of all four stories in the boxset. On the Forbidden World time is broken, but nobody can remember why exactly or what caused it. It's The Chimes of Midnight meets The Jigsaw War for Benny as she must live the same events over and over again and then forget all the unimportant bits. Sounds intriguing eh? Well it is - if only they didn't manage to completely cock it up!
Before we begin, let me just get this off my chest: I am a fan who will generally be entertained by anything Doctor Who. It may not all be perfect 10s, but very few stories I'd rate below five. Five being average. And even those are scarce - especially in Big Finish's case, but this story was so incoherent that it smashes any chance of enjoying it. If you need proof, just check out my other reviews. I please easily, but not in this story's case. This is partly because it's nigh-impossible to follow. This isn't timey-wimey. Calling it that would be an insult to Steven Moffat. I will admit that for the first five or seven minutes the format of this story really seemed unusual and entertaining. Like The Revolution, it was a step outside the usual comfort zone. Unfortunately this time it didn't fare so well.
In fact, it completely obliterated the tale. Without touching the plot, this is how Random Ghosts play out. Imagine any 50 minute episode of Doctor Who. Got it? Good! Now divide those 50 minutes into 100 thirty second segments. Finished? Now I want you to randomly sort them around. If it helps, imagine each segment as a puzzle piece and just mess up the pile until you don't know you're beginning from your end credits. That's how Random Ghosts works. It's very confusing. It's not even entertaining listening to random clips in a random order making random sense. Actually - the whole episode seems to have no actual arc linking plot.
You have Ace trying to explain it (or she claims she has explained it multiple times, but people keep forgetting), but the audience just never hears it until the very end of the story. By very end, I mean like two-three minutes before the end credits roll up.
I will praise the author of this story because I can't even begin to imagine how you write something like this. It felt like one of those reality shows where people are talking to the camera and then the scene skips considerably every time someone else talks, but with no 'event' taking place in-between. If this had been an actual TV episode, this format might've succeeded in what it sought out to do, but on audio, it's just a garbled mess. Nothing at all like The Chimes of Midnight or The Jigsaw War. Incidentally, about halfway through, I wondered if there wasn't some way to find the correct order of events like they had on The Jigsaw War and listen to the story in chronological order.
I can't seem to find any praise for this story. Apologies if you did somehow manage to enjoy it, but I'm afraid such a task is out of the question for me. Love & Monsters used to be the worst Doctor Who story on my list, but I think I'll need to fill that slot with something else now.
Rating this episode: 1/10. After two abysmal stories in the middle, here's hoping The Lights of Skaro will end The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield with a bang like it deserves!