Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
If a year or two back when Big Finish started the Torchwood range you would have said they were going to do one with a new Torchwood crew, not involving any of our favourites I might have been dubious; but Big Finish’s Torchwood has been so good and diverse in it’s output that series producer James Goss has earned the right to do something completely new with it and earn’t my trust.
So Dollhouse takes us to 70’s LA to give us Torchwood ‘Charlie’s Angels‘ style. Three new female American agents that have been recruited by UK Torchwood. This audio is a full on tribute to not only Charlie’s Angels, but also gives homage to the feel of a lot of the detective shows from the 70’s in America. It plays it large and fun.
I can see exactly what they are going for in this and I can see how many will enjoy this. It might not have been for me though. I don’t think anything I didn’t care for was a mistake by them’ rather something they were going for I just didn’t like and this is an important distinction of intent verses mistake.
For instance the three leads Laila Pyne, Kelly-Anne Lyons, and Ajjaz Awad are playing large, brash archetypes of characters. The story is also larger and camper in places than usual Torchwood (although Torchwood does of course have this side to it!).
One of the more objective complaints I could give this is that it didn’t feel like Torchwood to me. I know we are in a different Torchwood branch; but it lost the darkness and only really introduced the aliens 20 minutes in. I was also disappointed not to get a ‘behind the scene’s’ at the end. Sometimes if I haven’t enjoyed an audio as much it can be good to hear the intent of the writers, producers and cast as then I can re-watch and sometimes enjoy it more hearing their angle on it.
There was some bits I thought were really interesting. The way they showed the views toward race, gender and sex politics of the time was great. No one put in a bad performance and were true to the style this audio was going for and credit for that goes in part to Lisa Bowerman for reading the tone the writer, Juno Dawson was going for correctly as far as I could hear. I also think that whether or not you like this particular story you can see how the world and characters they have created could pay dividends later in a further story in this world. For me I would like to see them move away from the detective genre and give this team a more serious treatment as maybe suggested by the ending which I won’t spoil here.
Usually it’s here I would give a rating out of 10, but this would seem unfair as although I know this story is not for me, I don’t think it’s not for anyone. If you love 70’s cop shows, large brash fun characters and something new, you might very well enjoy this and comments above aside I am looking forward to seeing what they can do next in the Dollhouse Torchwood world.
You can but Dollhouse here: https://www.bigfinish.com/news/v/torchwood—the-dollhouse
Order from Amazon
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