WARNING - CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR FIRST TWO TOMORROW PEOPLE AUDIOS!
Ok, we've had two releases of the four we've been told we're getting, so having done a fine job in bringing Doctor Who into the 00s, how is BF's *other* major telefantasy revival doing?
The New Gods
A nice, straightforward reintroduction to the whole Tomorrow People thing. The new setup is good. We have the old guard of TIM and John, who sound like someone cryogenically froze them in 1980 and let them out for this audio, we have Elena, new to us, but who has obviously been around for some time and the newbie Paul, who like Stephen in the original series, is the one who serves to help introduce the viewer/listener to the whole Tomorrow People concept by breaking out.
You really can't help but think of Posh and Becks throughout this. The whole story manages to pick up on the whole celebrity culture vibe and run with it. It may be a cliched plot, ancient artifact gives people the ability to control the masses, but it's written well enough and with enough little touches to get away with it. The scene where the baby is possessed is quite chilling.
The performances are rather effective. As mentioned above, Nicholas Young and Philip Gilbert could have been in hibernation for the last twenty years for all we know, they both slip effortlessly back into their roles. Helen Goldwyn does a fine job of being the more caring and sharing TP (and it's also good to hear her playing the same character for more than a single audio) and Daniel Wilson brings a good mix of the confused and enthusiatic to the newest TP. the actors playing Zane and Katya may *sound* like bad actors, but I'm sure it's a case of good actors managing to make the *characters* sound like bad actors and just reinforces the link to those modern celebrities who can't give a good interview or press conference to save themselves.
Sound design is nice, with the original theme music and old sound effects brought back into action and the usual echoey voice effects for telepathic conversations.
There are a few refernces to the series of old, but mainly this comes from hearing the warmly familiar terms such as jaunting, biotronic, stun guns and AE Suits again. It's a nice, although I hate to use the word, "tradtional" story, with enough new elements to make it valid to a newer audience.
All in all, an assured start to the new range.
The Deadliest Species
Whereas New Gods seemed to have pretty minimal references, Deadliest Species has plenty of them, in fact at times it can feel like you've been battered around the head with the Steel Chair Of Continuity(tm).
But having said that, it was good to find out little bits and pieces about what's been happening both to the ex-TPs and the Galactic Trig in the last twenty or so years. Whereas the Who audios have mainly small gaps to fit new adventures into, the Tomorrow People has this enormous piece of uncharted territor and even during the first release, I was wondering if we'd ever be told what happened during it.
Having so many continuity references can be a bit of a double edged sword with the effect they can have on newcomers. Some may be put off by the amount of stuff mentioned, whereas others will want to go out and find out about all the people and events referred to, hopefully the latter is the case.
The pre-titles sequence manages to work for the informed and the uninformed. To newcomers, they know someone trying to get in contact with the TPs has been shot, to us old fanboys, we spend the duration of the theme music thinking "Was that *the* Kenny who just got shot?". As it turns out, yes it was, which immediately grabs the attention, as we've never had a TP actually get killed before. (note : I know there's kind of an exception, but I really don't want to spoil that for anyone who hasn't seen it, because it's absolutely stunning...) Then later on, we have the offscreen death of Tsu Tai(sic?). While these deaths are a surprise, they do seem slightly arbitrary, but I suppose that's mainly due to the non-availability of the actors to reprise their roles.
The Sorsons are, well, Sorsons. Not exactly the brightest aliens in the universe, but at least Gary provides a nice little explanation of why a bunch of idiots like this have been so successful in the conquering game, there are just so many of them, it doesn't matter how stupid they are, they just keep on coming no matter what. I liked this, along with someone describing them as six-foot mushrooms when that's not exactly what *I* thought they looked like last time I saw them. Let's just say, if you thought Alpha Centauri was bad... :)
Oh, I also kept picturing Zippy on the bridge of the Sorson warship, but hopefully that's just me.
Stephen's traitorous turn is well handled, with the mentions of Stockholm Syndrome and the believable explanation of his resentment for John. Let's face it, John *can* seem a bit of a prat at times, and Stephen's feelings are perfectly understandable. Liked the use of hyperspace in the hostage situation and liked it even better when it turns out Elena's just *playing* at being the damsel in distress. You go girl!
The final talk between John and Stephen is good and the Sorson's plan is foiled. A possible story arc is also set up with Paul having a bunch of information stuck in his head about the Sorsons which gives him something else to do other than just being the "newbie".
There were two things I *really* liked about this though, the first was the direct reference to the 90s revival. I suppose in the back of my mind I was always worried it would just be ignored, but no, TIM confirms it all happened. (And the little fanboy in me hopes that somehow we can have a real meeting of the 70s, 90s and the 00s Tomorrow People sometime...)
The other was Hollos' death scene, which was just beautifully written and moving and just underlined how much of a threat the Sorson Empire is. To me it's one of the most effective and moving scenes in any BF audio yet. Lovely.
I can only honestly think of one real criticism of the audios so far and that's that the theme music reprises at the beginning of the second and third episodes seem far too long, maybe they could be shortened a bit to give us a minute or two more of story?
All in all, it's been a great start to the range, which I think manages to appeal to those who like me, remember the original 70s series and also to those who may never have heard of it before. Here's to the next two releases, and hopefully more beyond that.
Now...any chance of reviving Star Cops?