Sunday, 20 September 2015

189 - Revenge Of The Swarm

Sequels, I can understand their popularity with creators and consumers – the public like it so let’s give them more of the same. The flip side if this of course is that the very people that loved the original tend to criticise the sequel for not being as funny or as innovative or just plain as good as the original. It’s a quandary for writers.  Sometimes, very very rarely, sequels are better than the originals – Godfather Part 2, The Empire Strikes Back – but most of the time they are franchise killers like Ghostbusters 2 or a sequel too far like, (shudder), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
I ramble and digress as always, but I finally come to my point. This months main range release from Big Finish – Revenge of the Swarm is a sequel to The Invisible Enemy. Not the most awe inspiring starting point, even the most generous fan would rate Invisible Enemy as average, whilst received opinion is that it is a bit of a dud. But does the sequel breathe new life into the original story or will it be languishing at the bottom of Big Finish popularity polls just as it’s TV progenitor does in TV polls?
The story sees my favourite classic Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, make his first appearance in a Big Finish story since last December’s Afterlife, following on from that story he is accompanied by Ace and Hector played by Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier. Things start off pretty normally, Ace and the Doctor venturing out into the Titan base they have landed in, Hector, left behind in the TARDIS attempting to work some controls on the console, when a crackle go light discharges into him and “contact has been made”.  It seems that the residue of the Nucleus of the Swarm has been dormant in the TARDIS console since the time of the Fourth Doctor waiting…..
It seems like the Nucleus has been playing a very long game, and like the new series on TV this story involves time travel. But unlike the TV series, everything is locked into place and what will be most definitely will be. Nucleus of the swarm wants to ensure its own creation which in turn will lead to its universal domination.
The plot is pure “B-Movie” but done so well and plotted so tightly that this can be taken as a compliment.  In fact it could translate quite easily to the big screen as a summer blockbuster. Jonathan Morris has again delivered the goods when it comes to Big Finish – I have said it before and I will say it again, let him write for the TV series, he really is quite superb.
I make no secret of my love of the Seventh Doctor and McCoy really is on form here as devious and manipulative as he has ever been, but tinged with a compassion and vulnerability often missing.
Do I like it? Yes I do! Is it perfect? No, but it is very very good indeed AND it has made me want to watch The Invisible Enemy again – no mean feat there. In the end, it is what it is, a rip roaring space romp and as this it succeeds, it even has John Leeson back as the Nucleus of the Swarm and you don’t get much better than that!
Overall, contact has been made at 8/10