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".

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