Audo: THE WHISPERING FOREST
Welp THE WHISPERING FOREST is not as good as COBWEBS however, it is better than most of the recent crop of stuff in the last year or two. You see, others say the problem is with me and to be honest, maybe there is a bit of that there--there is always something to better spend my time on or with...and that is really a problem that goes both ways really. What do I mean? There was a time that EVERY and I do mean EVERY DW story was an event, whether it was on tv or on audio or in a comic. Even when it wasn't good, it was an event...the stories moved, were different, scary, funny, told something, went somewhere and made a point. Or did something shocking. There was an audio a long while back (1999?) that had the Master at the end of an episode. There was no way in heck that I wasn't going to listen to ep2 RIGHT AWAY. There were audios that had Benny teamed up with the Doc and Ace stuck in a hotel making tea...who would not want to know how that worked out? Other stories across ALL Doctors were pretty much the same. Okay, the novels sometimes did not inspire and there was time I considered giving up the NAdventures along the time that Sherlock Holmes appeared on the cover of one of them.
Point is that DW stories are NO LONGER AN EVENT and every one should be. Every DW story should be special. Truth is they are not and they haven't been for a few years now TV wise and audio wise for at least two years (around the time of BOY WHO TIME FORGOT and that has a lot to do with it, believe it or not). Stories were, across those two years or more, routine, sleep inducing, copies of other things done in DW or elsewhere, boring, pointless, needlessly cruel and gross, slapdash with no real menance or funy, and just about silly in ways that DW never was silly. The same dross set in on their TOMORROW PEOPLE run but BF NEVER understood the TP. Their writers seemed to be DW fans who wanted to believe the TP were like DW but that's another story.
DW can go anywhere in time and space and should be special all the time. Even crap like ANDROID INVASION, MEGLOS, THE CHASE, THE SPACE PIRATES, and David Tennant's last hour had something SOMETHING! WHISPERING FOREST has a lot going for it, it has something. BUT it's not an event, it's not special, and it's not fresh and new. It's really as others have pointed out like FACE OF EVIL and a dozen or or other stories and it is really like several STAR TREKS and the STARLOST from the 1960s and 70s. Which is a shame.
What's going for it? The sound is amazing. The actors do a great job. AND there is something decidedly creepy and fresh (the only thing fresh about this really) about people who want to keep scrubbing unti their skin is raw and a civilization based around cleanliness. It's disturbing in a good way that sci fi can look at and change things. Tegan is Tegan, The Doctor has AGAIN some great lines ("Now where were we...oh yes," he punches a man in the stomach, "So sorry but circumstances dictated that I do that!" or something like that. Davison finds that these words came easily to him more so than others and it is because of the script and that this writer knows these characters fairly well and puts them into situations that make them react like they did in the series. He also pairs them up well and lets them get back together at various times. That said, there is a danger from Stephen Cole of having too many DW cliches and cliches in general (Tegan gets most of these but once in awhile Davison says things that we've heard over and over and over and over, for example "Where there's time...there's hope" and "Let's hope visiting hours are over."). Thus the excellent dialog of COBWEBS sort of has some stints here but by the last ep, FOREST really is a bit ...dull.
Davison's other complaint is mine: what is going on? The thing is I wasn't paying attention again because the story is fairly routine so maybe they explained all this: the shades? The Takers? The medical ship? WHy things went so wrong? Why the ShaDes want to die? I also got the feeling, AGAIN, that this would be better on Telly than on audio and would make more sense. I just thought of this now: if FACE OF EVIL were on audio would it sound like it made sense? Not sure. Certainly the ending is cliche: Tegan is STILL possessed by the Mara. Hmmm. I've tried to create a fan fic with the Mara and maybe I h ave but I have to check my notes but to be honest, they better make the next Mara story as different from SNAKEDANCE as SNAKEDANCE was from KINDA. Both of those were okay but I really don't want a retread. Something has to be different: the setting, the siuations, the Mara's wants etc because Mara stories can go very wrong very fast if they try to just copy KINDA and SNAKEDANCE only, two of the best stories in general and two of the best Davison stories. I don't want to see a remake. I want a new slant or new direction not necessarily some unforseen Mara thing going on (or a retread/reimagining such as the awful design of the new Silurians). SO yo have to do both: bring back the monsters as they were while doing homage to their past and their original idea while introducing something new (for example an Auton who wants to be human or just wants to learn how to dance or something silly or creative or more scary...certaily the fifth season failed utterly to do anything good with the Angels but make them lose their originality, scare factor, and menace factor as well as lose their powerful presence and ability to challenge the characters...they just get wiped away by the time warp thingie...that is really bad DW).
In any case, FOREST isn't. It just kind of IS. BF really needs new avenues, new writers, new arcs, and maybe even new pairings. For me, I'd be happy if the spinoffs either just stopped or created stories less often...just create ones that are an event and that are special each and every time because to me that is what DW was and just issn't any longer, flanked by its own mass of quantity over quality and originality.
The music for FOREST, which is mostly good, really sounds alot like THE GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE music.