Monday, 5 January 2015
REVIEW - THE HIGHEST SCIENCE
Giant turtles, Wizard King, Diplomacy weapons...what?
Going by the title, I knew this was going to be a bottleneck type of story. It's not a bad thing as we need some fun and games every now and then, so I welcome it. Plus, you have the Doctor and Benny in the TARDIS for an adventure...what could possibly go wrong?
Well, earlier this year, Big Finish teamed up the duo for a box set of adventures and personally...it hurt me. Wasting the Doctor's character on a series of Benny adventures, the lackluster stories (not all, but enough). Going into this story, my guard was up. Could they redeem Seven and Benny? Answer: Yes and No.
I am really happy that Seven is back in control. He's playing the fool, controlling events, playing all sides of the board and still manages to be funny while doing it. His interaction with the bumbling Chelonians were some of the highlights of this story, particularly the 'Diplomacy' weapon. There are some darker elements, particularly nearing the end of it all that snaps you back to the reality that Seven's stories don't usually end with everyone alive and well.
Where the box set wasted the Doctor's character, The Highest Science does the same with Benny. This is a real shame as the two don't have an ocean of audio adventures together so when they show up, I expect top stuff. Summerfield doesn't get to do much during this tale and even worse - is saddled with probably the most annoying character in fiction. You remember the Annoying Orange? Well, Rosheen is more stupid, more annoying and more 'WON'T SOMEONE JUST SHOOT HIM ALREADY'. I get this is an adaption, but doesn't that mean you adapt it to be better than the novel? I pity Benny as I don't know how long Rosheen would've been alive had he been in my company.
I really like the Chelonians. They don't come across as that dangerous, more bumbling than not and they sound more like Selachians (shark soldiers). They are obviously yet another animal-Sontaran knockoff, but their behavior and attitude set them apart for me. They are designed to be serious in a comic fashion and their interactions with the Doctor do just that. Also, if the name sounds familiar, the Chelonians were one of the races that showed up to imprison the Doctor in The Pandorica Opens.
The villain for this piece is Sheldukher, a truly evil and disgustingly cruel individual. Naturally, given the less serious tones of the Chelonians, we need someone like Sheldukher to even the narrative. From the get go, it's made clear that this person has no redeeming qualities. He is evil because he is evil.
I must confess, one of the things that I struggled to wrap my head around was the concept of Fortean Flickers. From what I can gather (and it didn't help that the Doctor didn't explain it like he was talking to a pre-schooler) these flickers are some kind of metaphysical phenomenon that increases the number of random events occurring at a specific time and place. Again, even stating it like that confuses me a little.
Rating this story: 7/10. An enjoyable filler that manages to do just what it set out to.