Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shooty Dog Thing #4...

...is out. You can get to it by clicking on the Shooty Dog Link under Who Stuff We Like. As always Paul's got the ezine in two different formats depending upon your tastes. I haven't had a chance to go through this one yet, but the previous three have been great so I'm sure this one will follow the trend.

And no, I'm not pimping this just because I've got a piece in the new issue. (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Of note, Paul managed to wrangle an interview with Anneke Wills (Polly) for you Classic Who fans. So pop over, read it, and tell Paul what you think.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Get Out Of My Head Dave Stone!

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked why I hadn't put up a link to Dave Stone's website. I replied that he hadn't really updated it in a very long time. The last thing as far as I could tell being a bit about The Green Eyed Monsters.

Lo and behold he must've been reading my mind because in the last few days he's updated it and made it chock full of new nougatty goodness. You'll notice I've now got the link up.

With the holidays coming I can't guarantee a full Time Team get together this month. Tim and Angelie are quite the social butterflys. Me, not so much so don't be surprised to see some solo episodes from me. Especially since I'll be on vacation starting this Thursday and not going back to work until the new year. Yay me!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gallifrey 2008 Guest Update

I've grabbed the following from Outpost Gallifrey. This may officially now be my dream guest list and quite frankly what a lovely birthday gift I'm giving myself.

Gallifrey One -- North America's annual Doctor Who celebration in Los Angeles -- is announcing several new guests for the February 15-17, 2008 event, Gallifrey One's Nineteenth Symphony.

In conjunction with the Seventh Doctor theme of the weekend, Gallifrey One is delighted to welcome three guests who played an active part in the era: Andrew Cartmel, the script editor for the entire Sylvester McCoy years, who charted the course of the stories and character development from 1987 to 1989; Mark Ayres, the composer who contributed the incidental music for "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy," "Ghost Light" and "The Curse of Fenric"; and actress Lisa Bowerman, who guest starred in "Survival" before becoming the voice of spinoff companion Bernice "Benny" Summerfield for Big Finish productions. Meanwhile, Bowerman will be accompanied by the return of Jason Haigh-Ellery from Big Finish Productions, who will preview the company's 2008 Doctor Who releases. Also joining the convention for the weekend are writer/editor Simon Guerrier, whose work includes novels and short fiction for the Doctor Who lines as well as editing the "Short Trips" anthologies, and Steve Roberts of the Doctor Who Restoration Team, the group that for over a decade has remastered classic Doctor Who serials for the video and DVD era and produced many terrific extra features for the DVD sets. Gallifrey 2008 is also pleased to welcome back science fiction writer David Gerrold and actor/speaker/dealer Bob May from "Lost in Space"... with many other guests to be announced soon!

They join a lineup which already includes the seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy and his companion Ace, Sophie Aldred; the 1996 TV movie companion Grace Holloway, Daphne Ashbrook; Doctor Who series writers Steven Moffat ("Blink") and Paul Cornell ("Human Nature"); writers Caroline Symcox, Keith Topping, Scott Alan Woodard, Dr. Arnold T Blumberg and many more. For more details on the convention, visit the convention website at gallifreyone.com/gallifrey.php.

Now playing: Tiefschwarz - Issst
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Making Up For Lost Posting Time

I just can't get enough tonight.

A little trip through technorati shows me that the ATT has been getting some love on other posts.

This first one may be the oddest thing I've seen. No clue how it happened or why, but my side trip post concerning The Coup has been translated into German. If anyone knows German and can tell me the point of the blog in general and why we got chosen that would be cool.

Second, we've been memed. I'm all about being referred to as a Gestalt Entity. I don't know about the others, but I have a warm fuzzy feeling inside now.

Anyway I (Redo) shall give this a try and maybe in a later post get the rest of the ATT gang to do so as well. The meme in question asks for 'five things about myself that other people may consider lame, but I'm actually proud of’

1. I haven't fallen for the Harry Potter mania. I can remember when the books first came out and co-workers at University of Houston couldn't put them down. I just looked at the books and thought, "wow, those are big for kids to read". To this day I haven't spent one penny on anything Potter related and I get the feeling I may be the only person left on the planet who can say that.

2. Speaking of things I refuse to buy into, Starbucks. I will purchase a cup if I'm in dire need of coffee and I have no other options. But I blame them for the decline of coffee in Western Civilization. What happened to just drinking a plain black cup of coffee? When did we need mocha choca kefir infused double no caf lattes among other frou frou versions of coffee?

3. I love Xanadu. It's cheezy and downright horrid when Gene Kelly sings, but harmless fun. I own the soundtrack on vinyl and cassette. I have roller skates because of this movie. Which I didn't hear about until I was in college.

4. 70's music. Can't get enough of it. Stuff like Dan Fogelberg, Gilbert O'Sullivan, and Barry Manilow to name a few. (Though the song, Clair, by Gilbert O'Sullivan is rather creepy)

5. I'm a huge fan of the Golden Girls and A Different World. I would be perfectly content to sit all day and watch episodes. I am quite shocked at my own knowledge of episodes and characters from each show.

I shall pass this on to the TARDIS Guy, Amy, and Global Girl.

We're Baaack!

Yes, after a two month hiatus we've gotten the band back together for another thrilling Time Team installment. Nothing exciting on the food front this time, just pizza. Beer supplied by Shiner, the Dunkleweizen version. It looks like we're just doing two today which sadly ruins my grand plans for what would'be been a Fewell double feature in January with Red Dawn and Just War. That makes me sad, but I'll survive.

We start off with the Land of the Dead with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton in her first audio as Nyssa.

Tim and I note that Lucy Campbell sounds a bit too much like Janet Fielding.

Tim: Why did it take like fifteen minutes for the TARDIS to land? We've been hearing that sound off and on from the beginning.

I note that it's only been like six minutes, but it doesn't bode well if it feels like fifteen.

Tim: Have you noticed that a lot of Davison's adventures spend the first episode or so in the TARDIS? Maybe it's a style choice.

We can't figure out if a character is supposed to be Eskimo or Korean. In either case the voice is hardly believable as either. And what kind of name is Johnny Old Man anyway? They couldn't come up with something better?

Then we get more history lessons from the 5th Doctor regarding the discovery of Alaska and ravens. I decide the name of the tribe would be cooler if it was called donkey kong.

Our minds all hit the gutter when Nyssa exclaims that the beast they encounter is so massive.

Tim: I'm just seeing giant penis monsters. Thanks.

Angelie: You're welcome.

Me (as Gary Russell): Yeah, Sarah, even though the giant penis monster is chasing after you just play this bit bland.

Tim: Nyssa was the cool, calm, collected one. Davison had way too many companions and if I had to pick one I'd pick Nyssa. Imagine how their stories would've been without Tegan and Adric.

All the voices sound too similar to one another. If they weren't saying each other's name every other sentence we'd have no clue who was who. We hit the first instance of Big Finish's poor casting of American voices as we listen to Tulung talk about his dad and Brett's dad.

Tim: It's a shame John Barrowman wasn't living in the UK during this time.

Today's audio is brought to you by Al Gore and Greenpeace as we listen to the debate versus drilling for oil and leaving the tasty sea creatures alone. Mmm...them's good eatin'.

We hit the end of the first episode and afterwards Tim asks if anyone actually knows what's going on. We all agree that they're in Alaska, Americans are ruining the land, there's something massive running around, and they just uncovered a fossil.

And once again I decide that the direction for this scene must've been bland, just play this scene with no sense of urgency.

Tim: At least she's not screaming.

And we have title!

Angelie: What?

Tim: Land of the Dead. The mink are revolting.

See, I like to eat animals way too much to care about the faux eskimos and their love for the land. The Doctor becomes the tea bitch for Nyssa and Monica as we discuss whether sex attracts evil or not in these type of shows. Monica enquires if the Doctor and Nyssa have anything going on and the Doctor says they're just friends. I note that this is because it's Classic Who and not New Who.

Sweet! If I wanted I could buy this as a cassette still from the Big Finish site.

Near the end of the second episode I ask if this is where the velociraptor eats the fat one. Tim nods his head and then sure enough Gaborik becomes dinosaur chow. I love it when I'm right.

Nyssa explains that the Doctor told her that the dinosaurs went extinct nearly 65 million years ago. Tim says that that is when they had Tegan and I note that the dinosaurs died when Adric crashed into the planet.

The second episode ends and we take a quick break. Angelie goes for a diet coke to try and stay awake. Thank god for the Benny's because this one's another dullard.

Angelie: We put a different tone to it. We made it sexual so we have to let that die off. I am trying to pay attention.

Tim: This would've made an okay television episode.

Nyssa asks how velociraptors could've cut the phone line.

Tim and Me: Have you not watched Jurassic Park?

The sexual innuendos continue and it seems we've decided on sex for the tone. Really, the jokes just write themselves. "His name is Tulung? It's so tulung it's massive!" See?

Towards the end of the third episode Brett takes Nyssa hostage and threatens to break her neck. Which as we all noted would ruin the plan to use her to protect them from the velociraptors.

Tim: Is this over yet? Oh no it isn't! See, this is weird but I really would've liked this as a tv show. See them in Alaska and the dinosaurs.

Angelie: As an audio I just can't see it.

The fourth episode finishes and there's much rejoicing. Ya! Time to put in Walking to Babylon, the first part of the Time Ring Trilogy.

Angelie: I hope it's massive for Benny.

Tim: As in "Oh, Jason, it's so massive?"

Benny and Jason exchange sexual barbs and it's clear the tone will continue to be sexual in nature.

Angelie: I think he's trying to get her to use the rings.

It doesn't take long for Jason to get himself into trouble and it's up to Benny to save him. Again. She ends up in Babylon and comes upon Ninan, played by Lis Sladen. Or as a whole generation of male Who fans call her, Sweet Sweet Sarah Jane.

I guess it's not so vital to find Jason and the People if Benny has time to shag Lafayette. Or it was a quick shag. Either way, doesn't really reflect well on Benny. Lafayette begins to apologize for having unwed sex with Benny.

Angelie: Wait! I fell asleep. Did they do it?

Me: Yeah.

Lafayette busts out a gun to protect Benny and oops, there's go the future. We get a quick reunion between Jason and Benny before he's knocked out and Lafayette busts a cap in someone's ass. And why does the drone make noises like R2-D2?

Benny wonders why Lafayette had to be the hero when Sweet Sweet Sarah Jane tells her he's gonna die.

Me: It's because Jason was knocked out cold.

Tim: People that have sex with Benny always end up in danger.

Angelie: No sex with Benny. Oh my god! Precious moments. (insert choking noises as Lafayette and Benny share a schmaltzy moment as he's dying)

Me: This Hallmark moment is brought to you by...

Angelie: Die already!

Tim: He's been talking for a long time. Shouldn't he be dead by now?

The Drone shows up to save Lafayette and it starts channeling Twiggy from Buck Rogers in between channeling R2-D2 and Max Headroom. Benny gets excited about Lafayette living and I point out that her ex is still around. And sure enough we get a round on who's Jason/who's John Lafayette as each man gets pissed about finding out about the other.

Angelie: Shut up, Jason! You stole her rings.

One of the People is killed when they touch John and we learn that not only should you not have sex with Benny but you shouldn't touch Lafayette. And knowing is half the battle!

Jason starts to teach women's lib as he empathizes with Miriam's plight. Can I just say that Miriam so does not sound like she's 14. And apparently the story of he and Benny hooking up is enough to get Sweet Sweet Sarah Jane to leave the temple and help Benny save the world in the nick of time. And then the tunnel explodes with Benny and Jason in it.

Tim: Was that a cliffhanger?

Me: I'm sorry. Did I forget to mention that this was part of a trilogy?

Tim: Bastards!

We keep the disc going and listen to the behind the scenes interview Nick Briggs did with Lisa Bowerman and Stepen Fewell.

As we look at our calendars check back here to see when we get together in December for The Fearmonger and Birthright.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Will Wonders Ever Cease?

Now normally I could care less about the People's Choice Awards. But as you might've noticed I suddenly have a reason to care.

Who thought we'd ever see the day when Doctor Who would reach a point where it would be up for awards in America, even if it is the People's Choice Awards?

So, people, rise up and choose.

And the best part, much like voting in Chicago in the early part of the 20th century you can vote early and often.

Sidenote: Time Team will be back in action tomorrow as a full unit so check back tomorrow evening for our next installment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Side Trip - U.N.I.T: "The Coup"

I promised all ten of you a couple of side trip adventures and I aim to keep my promises. We should be back on track in November as a full team. We're looking at maybe upping our audio count to three a session for a few sessions which means in theory we'd be doing The Land of the Dead, The Fearmonger, and Walking to Babylon.

On the pimping front let me point you to Magnatune. Magnatune is another source to buy or license music and as their tagline says, they're not evil. You can pick what you want to pay and download in a number of formats including Flac and Ogg or pay a flat fee and get a real cd sent to you in the mail. You can download as often as you like in a 60 day period upon paying for the download and they encourage you to share with your friends. The best part is that up front they tell you the artist is getting half of whatever you decide to pay. Thanks to Matthew Cochrane for pointing me in their direction.

This lunch break at work I'll be doing The Coup by Simon Guerrier, a prelude to the four part U.N.I.T series.

It opens with explosions and sirens and you can never go wrong with a little mayhem to get things started right. We get a BBC reporter telling us what's going on and to propel us into the main thrust of the action. Nothing really out of the ordinary using this technique since it's hard to show and not tell in the audio medium.

I so would not want the job of being the press secretary for U.N.I.T. One must be proficient in the art of BS to convince the media and public that you're not being attacked by aliens but traffic gone horribly wrong. I was stuck in Evacuation Rita and let me tell you, while it looked ugly it definitely wasn't an alien attack. In this case Colonel Chaudhry is stuck with this unenviable task.

It seems as if U.N.I.T is being wrapped up into some new international deal and they're brought out Lethbridge-Stewart to help usher in the new era. But no sooner do we hear him than helicopters come on the scene shooting.

Back to the reporter and I'm already wondering why we should care about him.

And then back to helicopters shooting at Lethbridge-Stewart and no one seems really concerned that they're getting shot at. I don't expect them to go all Bill Paxton Aliens but a little anxiety might be in order. The Brig seems to have shot down a helicopter with one shot and then we get some more exposition, this time regarding the Silurians.

Some more "fun" with the reporter and the new ISIS bloke. Nope, still not caring about him. And again, if some guy is going all Andy Sipowicz on me I'm acting a little more terrified than Curry. But ISIS gets what they want out of Curry, let Curry go free, and then he goes running to Chaudhry. Anyone really surprised he did that?

Some more stuff happening between Lethbridge-Stewart and the Silurians and then Lethbridge-Stewart and the ISIS bunch. More telling instead of showing as we dance around why the Silurians are going after the Brig.

We get another press conference and we finally get some fun stuff as The Brig just busts out with everything U.N.I.T has done in the last thirty years and then busts out with the Silurian Ambassador. He brings peace, love and moist towelettes for all of thirty seconds until the ISIS chick shots him in front of everyone. That's when everything ISIS has planned goes all pear shaped as the Brig and U.N.I.T reassert their authority. Eventually it all gets sorted and the Silurian Ambassador goes back to bringing peace, love, and moist towelettes while the Brig slips out the back.

As a set up for the U.N.I.T series it wasn't horrible. I understand that it's just a prologue but I felt like everyone was going through the motions, even Nicholas Courtney. It all felt flat and two dimensional. My interest on the purely fan level wasn't tickled enough to continue on, though for the purposes of this blog I will get to the series eventually.

Now playing: Charles Mingus - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat [Unedited Form]
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 22, 2007

Benny Free Radio

Benny comes to the radio on Tuesday 23 October, 8 pm on Resonance FM 104.4 FM (in London), or www.resonancefm.com on the Internet.

In an hour-long programme, Alex Fitch interviews Simon Guerrier about Bernice Summerfield, who this month turned 15 years-old. Simon then interviews Sophie Aldred and Gareth Roberts about things Benny, Graham Sleight talks to Benny's creator Paul Cornell, and there'll be other fab stuff, some giveaways and exclusive snippets of things to come.

After broadcast, the show will be available to download from www.readyformycloseup.blogspot.com.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Special "End of the World" Edition

First off, stuff's gonna be spoiled in this entry. If you're not down with spoilers stop reading when I get to the actual episode critique part of this entry. I don't want anyone reading this to get to the first spoiler I bust out with and go, "You suck, Redo". You may say that anyway but I rather it be over my opinion, not that I ruined the plot for you.

If you read the entry last week regarding the full Time Team being on hiatus until November you might remember I talked about doing side trips with other parts of the BF back catalog. For like a minute I initially toyed with doing End of the World but quickly shot it down, thinking that it wouldn't be fair to do this one without the rest of the team even though we won't get to this for a couple of years. I ordered this last week the first day it became available through WhoNA and finally got it into my hot little hands this morning when I got to work. (All the important stuff is sent to me there and I was out of the office on Friday.) About halfway thru I realized that I would have to jump ahead personally and give this a go ASAP. I'm terribly afraid my opinion will change in time and when we hit this as a group I might not feel the same way that I do today.

On the topic of spoilers I will admit I availed myself of them thanks to the Outpost Gallifrey forum. It was my own decision, I being the kid that always had to hunt down my presents before Christmas or any other day that involved the exchange of gifts. And with living in the States it means I'm normally waiting a month after the release in the UK to lay my hands on CD's here. On the one hand I hate myself for spoiling the ending and how it's achieved because a bit of the emotional impact was lost. On the other hand considering I didn't leave work until two and a half hours after normal quitting time and the way the afternoon overall went it's probably good I knew what was coming. I was frustrated and crabby enough as it was.

With that being said the spoilers are about to come so here's your last warning. Also parental discretion advised as language used may not be suitable for viewers of all ages.

Among the many things Simon Guerrier said he wanted to achieve with this season was the paring down of the Benny mythology which prior to this season was rather voluminous. When this came out I mentioned to a friend of mine that the easiest way to pare it down would be to start ratcheting up the body count. And between this and The Judas Gift I've been proven right.

Before I begin the lovefest that this blog is destined to become there was one part that I just couldn't get into which is Caroline Lennon as Mira. There was just something about her voice that did nothing for me. It wasn't enough to completely detract from the piece, but in light of the other performances it clearly was the weakest. And it makes me sad that there's actually something that I have to complain apart regarding this episode.

The teaser shows Dave Stone at his taking the piss out of the conventions of the medium best. It's a throwaway moment that really means nothing in the grand scheme of things as what's supposed to be a moment of danger becomes almost an ad for Octopus Onion Rings. The piss taking continues as Jason figures the audience is waiting for the theme song and implores those behind the fourth wall to start it.

It starts and it's awesome. They gave Jason his own theme music to keep with the theme of this being a Jason Kane adventure instead of a Bernice Summerfield adventure. And how crukking cool is that? It's a bit of a Bond pastiche that fits with the character overall. Definitely gonna rip it into my mp3 player for jogging music.

Jason begins to talk about his past and how white, nice, and middle class they were. The bit about getting the word processor is ingenious as we get a whole string of motherfuckers being deleted by the recording device inbetween Jason slamming the thing when he gets frustrated at how advanced it is had me laughing out loud. But in between typical moments we see a side of the character we hadn't really been privy to up to this point, a side that only Dave Stone could show us. It's clear early on that Dave Stone comes through in presenting a definitive Jason Kane, an aim Simon asked him to achieve.

We get through some stuff with Mira and Jason talking about how he feels things are out of whack. Eventually they end up at the Tartarus Gate and hook up with Jason's former boss in the Infernal Nexus, Azagrazar. A nice cameo by Paul Chahidi which made me wish we'd seen a bit more of him and less of Mira. We find out the extent to which Brax has messed with Jason's and Clarissa Jones' timeline and Jason heads off to put things right.

The first point is reached and we get a retelling of the bar scene from Death and Diplomacy where Jason tells Benny about his shitty father. Here we get a cameo from Lisa who does a bit of double duty in at least this scene between acting and directing it. Over the years I've reread this scene and while the past few times I've had Fewell and Bowerman's voices in my head it pales in comparison to them actually acting this scene out.

And here we hit Redo Nearly Crying Moment Number 1.

Those that know me will tell you that while I'm not completely heartless I'm not the most warm and cuddly either. An image that's been finely honed at work (funeral home) so that on the rare moments a co-worker sees any kind of wetness near my eyes they almost fall down in shock. I say this in way of showing how rare it is for me to be that emotionally affected by any sort of media. And with the retelling of this scene we get an added layer of emotion that adds to the horror that was Jason's childhood.

Eventually he remembers Lucy and along with the rest of the fans that have been following things at least as long as Death and Diplomacy we all wonder how he forgot about her. Here's where we hit Redo Nearly Crying Moment Number 2 as he goes back to make things right for Lucy. I hope we get a chance, maybe in a short story anthology, to see if what Jason did was enough for her. Especially in light of what happens to him at the end.

Speaking of which we get the confrontation between him and Brax, something that I've been waiting to happen since the events of The Crystal of Cantus. Brax basically tells his whole scheme and then we hit the Redo Nearly Crying Moment Number 3 where Peter walks in and Brax convinces him to kill Jason. It's the only moment where I actually teared up as while Jason is being killed he's imploring Peter to remember and that he forgives him. That was utterly heartbreaking and while it's probably cliche also completely diabolical on Brax's part.

The end with Brax asking Peter what he's done and no end music is brilliant. Though I must say I found myself driving home mad that it was slightly reminiscent of the end of Earthshock as there's no music to somehow make us feel sad that Adric's dead. Much of the differing bits within the Benny mythology are put to rest but if Benny thought Peter was gonna need therapy at the end of The Loyal Left Hand in Nobody's Children boy is he gonna need some time with Dr. Phil now. This could be mined for years to come and since the guys behind the Benny line haven't failed me yet I'm sure they will.

I have said this before and I will say it again, this is probably Stephen Fewell's finest performance in the Big Finish universe to date. This season especially he's been given scripts that allow him to just bust out one superb performance after another. It's almost ashame that he's got to get in what one would assume is his final performance as Jason save The Final Amendment to probably get his best script to work with. Hopefully this isn't the last we see of him as an actor within the Big Finish stable, especially considering since he was one of the first, paving the way for what's come in the years since Beyond The Sun came out.

Along with much praise for Fewell I have to give mad love to Dave Stone. He's seem to have found a home for his special brand of writing in the audio medium and it's ashame that Big Finish hasn't used him more. This is only his third script overall and considering the only time they employ him is to write scripts involving Jason it might be his last. That being said one could say that if we ever see him in a lineup of authors for an upcoming season they're retconning Jason's death.

Lisa Bowerman did a wonderful job directing. Just enough to hit the right emotional note without being too maudlin. Matthew Cochrane and David Darlington provide an awesome music suite that's given it's own chance to shine as a track at the end of the CD.

Overall, this tops The Crystal of Cantus in my personal list of top ten Big Finish audios.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


For all five of you that we know read this blog never fear, we'll be returning probably in November. Real life has conspired to keep all three of us from getting together for the next installment. (Not that I'm complaining because the real life reason is rather fab.)

In the interim I'll be venturing out on my own with some side trip bits of the Big Finish catalog, probably the U.N.I.T series of audios starting with The Coup by Simon Guerrier in the next couple of days. In the new year I hope to have some correspondents cover other pieces within the Big Finish universe like Sapphire and Steel and The Tomorrow People. Also you might've noticed that I'm finally replying to some of the nice comments you fine folks have made the last few months. I like to feel the love so don't stop commenting.

In the pimping deparment Rob Sherman's got a book that should be out in the US in November if you believe Amazon.com, Tiny Deaths.

I'm currently working my way through Paul Cornell's British Summertime. Only about 50 pages or so in, but it's Cornell and he's yet to disappoint me as a reader.

If you're a Benny fan go pickup a copy of Nobody's Children and then enter the review contest sponsored by Jon Blum, one of the authors featured in the novella collection along with Kate Orman and Philip Purser-Hallard. For even more fun after reading the novella collection go to Phil's website and read a nifty shorty story and tidbits about the process of putting the collection together.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gallifrey One

Tickets are on sale for Gallifrey One's Nineteenth Symphony: Opus 2008

Current guests listed to appear include Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Steven Moffat, and Paul Cornell.

We're going. Are you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cornell Interview

For you fans of Paul Cornell I'd like to point you in the direction of DWO WhoCast.


Lovely interview with Paul mainly about "Human Nature" and some other bits as well.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

More Benny Goodness

For the Benny lover in all of us I'd like to point you to Shooty Dog Thing fanzine #3. 25 pages of all things Benny, including interviews with outgoing producer Simon Guerrier and voice actor Lisa Bowerman.

You'll also find links to the first two issues of the fanzine which are also worth reading.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Quick cross plug. Our Audio Time Team member Tim has decided to embark upon the task of watching the TV series in broadcast order starting with "An Unearthly Child". Start following his adventures tomorrow. I've slipped a link off to the side under the "Stuff We Like to Look At" heading.

Personally I think he's a glutton for punishment. Then again I went back to Bolivar seven times to get the same footage and only had one breakdown so I can't really comment.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

All Things Lisa

We decide to give thanks for today's Lisa Bowerman double feature by eating turkey and then going on an excursion for TCBY yogurt. Our turkey cravings had not been satisfied since the annual Nitro-9 all day Thanksgiving marathon last November.

Before we get to the actual ATT installment I must point you to Big Finish's website where they've posted the cover for the next Benny, wait scratch that, Jason Kane play "The End of the World". Actually, the latest post at Simon Guerrier's blog has a bigger photo of it. Either way, awesome cover by Adrian Salmon that just adds to the growing anticipation regarding this audio that should be out the early part of September.

Now with this month's blatant Benny plug out of the way we can move on to this month's ATT installment.

We start with "Whispers of Terror" starring Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. Not even two minutes in we have to pause the audio so I can tell the time I was drunk at the first bitter singles party and found myself on the floor with people dancing around me to Come on Eileen.

Tim: The music sounds like it could be right out of the John Nathan Turner era. It's (at least initially) kind of Malcolm Clarke-y.

It doesn't take long for the Doctor to start shouting, something Tim notes that he's really good at. And then it doesn't take long for the Doctor to get into the thick of things as far as the plot is concerned. As in getting blamed for the death of some random guy whose body they stumble upon. Tim and I both pick up on the noises in the background towards the end of the first episode at about the same time. It's nice to see someone, in this case Justin Richards, realize that they're writing for the audio medium and take advantage of what can be done aurally.

Tim: The first time I heard aural antiquities I thought dentures. Not sure what that's all about.

A few minutes into the second episode we get to hear Lisa Bowerman as Beth Pernell for the first time. It's an interestingly subdued performance compared to her Benny work. It's still the same voice but she manages to take it down a notch of two tone wise to differentiate it from her Benny voice.

I'm not sure how Peri falls for the creature mimicking the Doctor's voice towards the end of the second episode. Tim thinks she could've figured it out eventually on her own if the Doctor hadn't shown up

Tim: Peri has enormously bad dialogue in this story. More so than normal.

It's not the greatest, but she does get some zingers at Baker's Doc, something I don't think really happened in the TV show.

Tim: It's almost as if Nicola Bryant is pissed about being there and choosing the most awful choice possible. I know she's better than that, but it's like she took a look at the script and asked if she was really gonna to be saying those lines. Then the director tells her yes and she just gets the attitude that pervades the entire story.

Before the weird interplay between her and Colin during the third episode I was gonna say that overall the interaction between the two of them was way better than it ever was in the show. This gets into a conversation regarding her ability as an actress and how most people probably underestimated her acting skills. Which in then turns to conversation regarding her American accent slipping possibly less than her top on the TV show.

We get to the point where Beth is torturing the Krane audio creature and we all agree that that's pretty cool. Kind of like dipping the toons into turpentine in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. And we finally have a cool villain. Lisa Bowerman rocks as the baddie for this audio. While she doesn't get many scenes with Colin she is able to hold her own.

Justin poses interesting ideas regarding the notion of democracy and politicians. But the ending initially leaves a little to be desired.

Angelie: Lame?

Yeah, but then we get an epilogue of sorts and I get the ending I was looking for.

Tim: So far out of the three it's the best we've heard. It goes out of its way to use the audio medium to its full extent.

We switch from Evil Lisa to Good Lisa as we slip in "Beyond the Sun".

Angelie: And this is where I come alive. We all have our niches.

Yes, yes we do. And I'm slowly converting the world to the wonder of Benny, one person at a time.

This is the second audio adapted from the book of the same name, this time by the author of the book, Matthew Jones. This is also the first time we hear Stephen Fewell as Jason Kane. And I should freely admit here and now that I'm a big Stephen Fewell and Jason Kane fan. I shan't bore you with my theory of how Captain Jack is just a poor man's Jason Kane. I run through that each month at the Nitro-9 meetings. I will also freely admit that judging by the reaction on the 'net I might be the only person besides Dave Stone and Stephen Fewell that actually likes the character of Jason Kane.

The Valley girl accent that Jane Burke affects for Tameka wears on me very fast.

Tim: Is Benny's theme disco on purpose? I envision some 70s French sci-fi show. I'm also convinced that I've heard about the Chelonians before.

Bowerman and Fewell fall into an easy relationship as Benny and Jason. Even though it's the first audio for these two you get the feeling that they've been doing this for a long time. And a nice job by Bowerman in conveying the ambiguity Benny feels towards Jason.

Tim does a goggle search for the Chelonians and proves that he was right.

Tim: I wouldn't have recognized Anneke Wills on my own. She was so young when she was on Doctor Who.

Angelie: Can we just kill Tameka now? Wait, Jason did it with Bernice, while he's got a girlfriend? Bastard.

Fortunately we hit the end of the first disk so I take the break to explain a bit about Jason.

Nice incorporation of Benny's journal into the audio format. It works in moving the plot along and giving much needed exposition.

When the hell did Tameka develop the ability to hotwire a car? She gets it to work even though she goes on about it being voice activated. Tameka has spent many minutes telling us how she detests hard labor, but she can hotwire a car? WTF?

Sophie Aldred is back on the scene as Miranda and she very quickly descends into the typical villain voicewise. Benny asks Miranda about Jason and we choose this moment for a coffee and popcorn break. The coffee is the Post Alley blend from Seattle's Best. An awesome alternative to Starbucks. Even though they're now owned by Starbucks. I cried when I learned that.

Tim: When I hear Sophie I picture the portrait of her that you see briefly in Silver Nemesis, a bit aristocratic. I think it's great that I get to hear her as someone other than Ace.

Now Tameka can kick ass two seconds after she's whining about her hair just as she's about to be blown out into space? Again, WTF?

And over an hour after we first hear Jason we finally get to hear him again. Nice bit with the reunion between Benny and Jason. It's almost a shame that this book was picked as the way to introduce Jason into the audio range. He features so little in the book that it's almost as waste of Fewell's talent. I could see Gary Russell ringing Fewell up and going "Good news, we're gonna cast you as Jason without making you audition. Bad news, we're doing Beyond the Sun. If it makes you feel any better I'm also gonna also cast you as Jones."

Tim: Does Tameka die? Because you know, if she doesn't, that would be a great first scene for a Benny tv show pilot. This music kind of sounds like the theme from Dune slowed down and played on a synth. If Miranda's soliloquy had been written by Joss Whedon, she'd suddenly find herself impaled in the middle of it. Thus is the beauty of Joss Whedon, he takes your expectations and totally destroys them.

And now it's like they're doing that scene from Flash Gordon as they toss the figurine around. We have to rewind back to the beginning of the figurine toss around to catch the bit where they capture Jason and then threaten his life.

Tim: I love the bit where Benny goes about how Jason knows she is far less likely to leave him behind if he tells her to.

We sadly realize that Tameka is a bit like Buffy with the valley girl attitude and weird latent ability to kick ass.

Tim: Benny's moral code is a lot to fit on a grain of rice. I was imagining something a little more succinct.

Angelie: I still like the Benny adventures better. I still haven't found a Doctor audio that I like yet.

Tim: Benny comes from a different time. Doctor Who wouldn't be what it is now if it didn't come from the sixties.

Next month we should be listening to "The Land of the Dead" and "Walking to Babylon".

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Steam and Changes

We're slowly picking up steam as I see we're starting to get some comments. Thanks to those who have taken the time to let us know what they think and to those who have been spreading the word about us.

You might've noticed that we've made some cosmetic changes in the hopes of making this a tad easier on the eyes. Did we succeed?

We've locked down Sunday for our next gathering with Whispers of Terror and Beyond the Sun being on the bill for listening.

Or as I've come to call it: The Lisa Bowerman Double Feature.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Phantasmagoria and Oh No It Isn't!

We got together today for another ATT installment. Lunch was rustled up at a local Honey Baked Ham store, home of the world's best ham. (Their tag line, not ours.)

After gorging on all things hamlicious we settled down for Phantasmagoria, with Peter Davison and Mark Strickson. It still takes way too long to develop the plot and get to any thing resembling action.

Tim: They were trying to do in the style of a Classic Who story with four episodes. Not sure it works for the audio medium though.

Personally I think that once again this could've been condensed down to one disk with maybe two stories if you wanted to keep the cliffhanger aspect going. Either way, by the time we get to the end of the first disk, Tim and Angelie are playing with their new cell phones, photographing my cat in various poses and backgrounds.

The usage of Turlough seems wasted. Nothing actually happens that was engineered solely by him. But I guess you couldn't have him stuck in the TARDIS ala Sirens.

Tim: At least at in the audio medium, Strickson has some dialogue, and no time to do his famous "look around acting." I am kind of surprised that Turlough finally seems happy to be in the TARDIS. Maybe Strickson's just excited about having an acting gig again, and it's translating to his character.

No real vocal standouts this time around. The villian is voiced in such a way that you can almost see him twirl his moustache while tying some poor helpless blonde woman to some train tracks.

We make it to the end with our will to live intact this time out.

Tim: I did like how the villian had his plan used against him.

Not as bad as Sirens, but there's still a long way to go.

A change of venue along with some errands occur. We dine on burgers, which Tim has managed to dry out, due to being distracted by a YouTube video with 1,500+ Filipino prisoners dancing to Michael Jackson's Thiriller. Tim points out that the Philippines and Iceland become major world powers in the Who continuity sometime around the fiftieth century. And, "Oh no, I've killed dinner." We decide to start the other part of our ATT mission and pop in the first audio Big Finish did, Oh No It Isn't! Tim and I give Angelie a quick tutorial on Benny and how we get to Big Finish doing this audio.

More laughs and more willingness to pay attention ensue. Lisa Bowerman slips into Benny rather easily and makes a rather complicated story work. Doran pops onto the scene and I quick explain how that's not Jason and by this time in the Benny continuity she's divorced. Nick Courtney appears in the role he was born to play, a giant cat spouting dick and dwarf jokes.

Tim: This is a bit like Sartre, referencing ("Hell is little people.") the first bit where Benny is trying to figure out what kind of an afterlife she's in.

Angelie: I'm enjoying this a lot. They're getting to the plot a lot faster and it keeps you involved in the story along with the humor. Also I grew up with fairy tales so I like how they're making fun of them.

It kind of slows up a bit on the second disk as we hit some exposition but even at its slowest it still moves faster than Sirens of Time or Phantasmagoria. And nothing like a bit of angst as Wolsley worries about what happens to him when they return to normal. Also the 2 minute end theme where I imagine a visual montage ala' a Bond opening sequence with smoking guns coming out of inappropriate places.

Next month will Whispers of Terror and maybe Beyond the Sun.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Next Gathering

We've put our heads and our calendars together and the 28th of July is when we'll do our next installment. Hopefully that means you can start your work day off right on the following Monday with our latest excursion.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Blue Light Special

Big Finish is having their annual Summer sale. Numerous items are on the list, some with discounts as deep as 80%. Pick up a bargain (or three) and follow along with us as we start moving forward with this project.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I was recently asked how the listening experience goes in a group setting. If you're of my generation and of a certain geeky nature then odds are good you like to MST3K what you're watching. Ultimately I think it's inherit in our nature to comment and once someone gets a good one off the show is usually rolling to see who can come up with the best one.

For the purposes of this project you have to be of the mindset that you want to at least attempt to hold the comment to a minimum if you can't keep completely quiet. We tried having an audio listening group before and we found it didn't work after you reach a certain number of people. The lack of visual stimulation doesn't help either.

We're coming into this with the knowledge that we're going to attempt to pay serious attention, hence why a lot of the socializing is done beforehand with fine food and fine beverages. That's not to say the comments don't come. With Sirens we just had to say something to maintain sanity. And I don't think we'll ever be completely quiet. But I would say for anyone trying to do something similar that it works better with a small group.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sirens of Time

Wednesday night we gathered together at Tim and Angelie's House of Fun for our first foray into this little experiment. After a mishap involving chicken gone bad and the procurement of fresh meat we had baked chicken with some lovely Shiner '98 to cleanse the taste buds and chocolate Hob Nobs for dessert.

We began our listening after dinner in the car as we had one mission of vital importance that had to be completed in a timely fashion. Since we're going in release order number we started with The Sirens of Time, staring Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, and Peter Davison. With two Benny plays under his directorial belt, Nick Briggs is writing and directing this inaugural drama. The first episode opens with the Timelords getting attacked and talking about the end of their civilization being seriously nigh. My immediate reaction was that they're talking about Russell killing them all off. Next we're finally introduced to the 7th Doctor and immediately we noticed that the timing of sound effects seems to be off. He's talking about hearing the Cloister Bell long before the audience ever hears it. And then just as quickly bells cease tolling. Not that I want the bells to be tolling loudly the whole time, but don't just drop one or two tolls and think you've created enough tension.

Eventually we get to the 7th Doctor being stranded on a planet where he meets a bunch of people, including Maggie Stables as some pig jailer. If ever an audio was in need of subtitles this is it. The accent and voice are so rough it's a nightmare to fully figure out what she's saying. Thank god she's killed off at the end of the first episode so we don't have to endure that performance any longer. Tim noted that it might've been cooler if each Doctor's adventure involved his theme as opposed to the generic one.

Next we get Mark Gatiss giving his German accent some work in the second episode with the 5th Doctor. This was universally agreed that this was the strongest one of the story. There's a bit of action, you can never go wrong with U-boat dramas, and Tegan and Turlough are stuck in the TARDIS. My personal theory is that they just closed the doors so they could get it on, but then again my mind likes to wander into the gutter. It's a shame that a nice pairing like Gatiss and Davison is wasted on what probably would've made an excellent drama on its own, but has to be sandwiched in this overall crap.

We move on to the 6th Doctor solo adventure and by now we're losing the will to live. You start getting the information you need to understand the full story towards the end of this episode but by now it's too late. Tim notes that point of caring what's going on has past. Now we're just listening to finish this up and not wimp out. I have trouble remembering the story being this horrible and Tim can't remember if he even listened to it all the way through when he first bought it. I'm also saddened because while not perfect, even the first series of Benny audios had a decent mix of action, adventure, humor, and drama and I just figured Nick Briggs would've remembered some of that when writing this.

The final episode is where all three Doctors finally get together. Then we're subjected to a rewind of what we missed in the previous three episodes. It's like Nick Briggs knew we'd probably fall asleep so he slipped this in to make sure we couldn't escape. Much groaning ensues when the Doctors all say 'contact' before mind melding and when they address each other as 'Doctor'. At this point I firmly feel this story needed dwarves with chainsaws.

Eventually the day is saved and the story is over. Near the end we switched the display on the player to countdown how much time was left. With mere seconds left I finally got excited ala New Year's Eve, without the snogging, Dick Clark, and huge disco ball in NYC. Angelie and I agree that the best part about this story is that it's over. Tim points out that much like the '96 movie there was a ton of fan expectation attached with this. There's little chance of expectations being met when the bar is initially set so high, especially with all three Doctors involved. While there were some notable performances it's not enough to save the piece as a whole. While we all admit to being a little sleepy, we finish a little after eleven at night, it's also noted that there wasn't much to keep us awake. Opinions are running so low Tim almost wants to abandon the project, but Angelie and I convince him to continue on. I've listened to enough plays to know that they get better, it's just a matter of how many we have to get through to get to that point.

We get together again sometime in July with hopes to make it an afternoon meeting. This was we won't be so sleepy and we can get through more than one play. We know we'll be listening to Phantasmagoria with our second choice up in the air.

Inaugural Post

First off, if someone has a better description I'm all ears. I think the current one is significantly less pretentious than my first attempt, but I'm down with reading your suggestions.

As the slightly new and improved description says I (Redo), along with my friends, Tim and Angelie have decided to test our endurance by trying to work our way through all the audios, including spin-offs, in the Doctor Who audio range produced by Big Finish. Think of it as the audio version of the Time Team project Doctor Who Monthly has been conducting for many years now. (And we have blog title!)

Once a month or so we'll get together for an afternoon or evening and try to get through one, if not two, audio dramas. Some times both will be from the main Who range, others might be a mix between Who, Benny, Gallifrey, or any of the other spin-offs.

We encourage comments and look forward to seeing if you agree or disagree with our opinions.