Sunday, 21 February 2016


Torchwood’s first audio series by Big Finish comes to a close with More Than This, a story which sees Gwen Cooper take Roger Pugh for a Day-In-The-Life-of-a-Torchwood-Agent ride along so that she can get the necessary building permits approved for the new Torchwood base. She’s resurrecting the Institute from the ground up and she isn’t letting anyone get in her way…not even boring storytelling.

If I had to rank them, I’d either tie More Than This with Forgotten Lives, or put it lower seeing as it falls flat on just about every level there is.

We’ll get the positives out of the way first as there isn’t much to praise this story for, but More Than This features a couple of armor piercing arguments from Gwen over whether goodness invites evil and vice-versa. Those scenes were my highlights listening to the story, but they aren’t plentiful as some of the other elements in Guy Adams’ script.

And now we get to the bad bits. If I didn’t consider it bad review form, I’d just one-sentence bullet-point them for you, but as I do consider bad form, let’s get to this story’s main problem: It has ZERO tension!

None whatever. There is never even the slightest inkling that any character is truly in danger and this is because of another writing issue introduced in More Than This: Flash-forward storytelling.

While Arrow is doing a good job keeping fans guessing this season about who’s going to die, More Than This tells us within the first five minutes that everything is going to be alright. These continuous back and forths also suck whatever interest the listener accumulates and takes them completely out of the conflict.

The plot itself is uninteresting, almost like it’s parodying itself without the actual humor needed. It inverts One Rule by maybe one or two degrees, but features a supporting character that just fails to gain the audience’s sympathy. More often than not, Roger comes across as flat and someone you wish would be killed off, if only to add some excitement. More Than This feels like it’s trying too hard to be deep and philosophical, resulting in boring character interactions. It also doesn’t help that the season finale story feels like an introductory tale into what Torchwood is which actually belongs at the start of a season, not the end.

And this is a season finale for crying out loud! So why is it 100% filler? Why do I feel as though this release and last month’s Uncanny Valley should’ve swapped release dates? Maybe because last month felt like things were reaching their climax while this month it feels like nothing is going on.

Just because an actor provides the voice for their character doesn’t mean they are now in-character. This is something a lot of fans can’t recognize, but I take serious offense to Gwen’s characterization in this story. It’s Eve Myles alright, but for half the story, including its opening, it doesn’t feel like it. There are so many gaps in her character’s logic, not to mention the story’s logic that I just switched off my brain, deciding it would be better to not think AT ALL about what I was listening to.

Lastly (thankfully), given everything that happens in this story, I can’t help but wonder why Jack isn’t helping Gwen. They are clearly in contact, but the story will have you believe that Gwen can be a one woman army when the real reason is that John Barrowman is in America. While the one main character per story has been an interesting detour this season, I believe it’s time to get the band back together. It’s starting to feel like the Marvel Cinematic Universe: It’s great and all, but what are the other superheroes doing that they’re too busy to help whoever’s movie we’re watching? They can’t all be busy right? While season two doesn’t look as though Big Finish will change the current format, I do hope they eventually.

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