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.


Anonymous said...

Fascinating stuff! I shall pop back regularly and see how you're getting on. It's really great to see those early BFs getting some attention these days - God, though, they seem from a long time ago! Have fun!

Rob Shearman

Dave Doty said...

Phantasmasgoria is an audio that seems better in memory than in the present. Not only did my memory cheat, bukt I find myself thinking of it more fondly again than I did even just a few hours ago.

My main concerns were the number of seemingly interchangeable voices. BF usually do a good job of casting people with different sounds, but almost all of the men in this audio (aside from the regulars and the older professor) can be hard to distinguish. Also, the mysterious male rogues Valentine and Lovejoy mixed a bit in my mind when listening, I often thought of the wrong one when a name was invoked.

Still, those are mostly problems with following the plot at the time, which probably explains why it seems nicer in memory, when plot detail starts to get fuzzy anyway. I liked it more than the Team did, but I agree the best is yet to come.

I do agree with the complaints about Turlough, and I think "hanging a lantern" by having the character comment on the story problems is a terrible way to handle them. Still, Turlough was a favorite, and I was excited enough at the time to hear him again I could forgive it.

I deeply enjoyed ONII't, as a book and both listenings, but I don't have much to add.

I'm really looking forward to hearing what the Team has to say about Whispers of Terror.

Nicholas Whyte said...

Hi, I'm doing a similar project, though going rather faster than you, I think!

I felt there was nothing very special about Phantasmagoria, except that it shared a plot twist with The Stones of Blood and I thought got away with it better. The soundscape of London was quite nicely done, though the writers seemed confused about who Queen Anne's father was (making me wonder for a bit if this was supposed to be some parallel universe; but no, it was just a mistake). Since I was never a huge fan of Turlough, his presence here didn't really excite me.

MerseyMal said...

Listened to Phantasmagoria last week. Much better than Sirens Of Time, though as Dave Doty says there was a bit of confusion between some other the characters voices due to their similarity - except for Mark Gatiss and David Walliams who stood out like a sore thumb.

Heard Oh No It Isn't for the first time a few months ago and loved it.

The Audio Time Team said...

Yeah, Gatiss does stick out like a sore thumb. His voice is distinctive enough that just about every time I hear an audio and go "Is that Mark Gatiss?" I'm normally right. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It just shows how casting can make or break a production, especially an audio.