Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: Life During Wartime

The Fall
Bernice returns home to the Collection and things aren’t how she expected. In just a few pages Paul Cornell briefs us on the setting and purpose of this collection and just from the very tone of it you can see how different it’s going to be. Both of the previous collections have suffered from a lack of purpose and cohesion, this time, apparently not.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: The Poison Seas

Introducing traditional ‘monsters’ into Series 4 to attract Doctor Who fans over into this mini-range is a pretty shameless piece of advertising, however for the most part it seems to have worked. The first two plays of the series are very strong releases, taking the strengths of their respective monsters and using them to their advantage to tell a completely ‘new’ story. Sadly, on this third release, things start to stumble.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: The Draconian Rage

There are a few things you might expect from the Draconian Rage. It’s by Trevor Baxendale who is known for dark and traumatic stories. It features the misogynistic Draconians who are sure to spark against Bernice’s natural wit and independence. Its got a relatively small cast set amongst a political setting, so plenty of intrigue and backstabbing are expected.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: The Bellotron Incident

Bernice Summerfield and the Bellotron Incident is a surprisingly solid play. Mick Tucker’s script isn’t as clever or witty as some of his predecessors but does hold a tight, well delivered story. The actual plot concerns a planet whose orbit takes it between Sontaran and Rutan lines, which seems a little pedestrian at first but does boast a few genuine surprises throughout. The appearance of Bev Tarrant appears odd on first glance but actually she turns out to be a natural fit, and there’s not a single weak performance from the cast.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: The Mirror Effect

If I thought Lisa Bowerman overacted slightly in certain scenes of ‘Dance of the Dead’, this play rushes in to prove me wrong. This play is full of shrieks and wails, unrelenting in its angst. Only now it all makes sense, it’s called for.

It’s all about context.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: Dance of the Dead

The fact that Stephen Cole also penned ‘Plague Herds of Excelis’ (not actually an official part of the Benny main range) pays dividends here because it informally leads directly into this play. Having Bernice awaken from a party with a hangover, alone in strange surroundings is far from odd. Having her on a ship flying away from an alien peace conference isn’t unheard of either. However, courtesy of the build up in Plague Herds, we know and have felt exactly how important this conference is. It also makes this a very good fit for the Ice Warriors.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: The Green Eyed Monster

The Green Eyed monster is an odd play. It has two plot strands, both highly interlinked, but alone neither would make a satisfying adventure. The tale Bernice stumbles into is just too light and obvious, the villain too melodramatic and the plan too obvious. Alternately Jason and Adrian’s scenes are too short, their dialogue although sweet too simple, and giant leaps in the narrative are made very quickly and too often.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: The Greatest Shop in the Galaxy

Series three of Bernice Summerfield starts bolder than any before it. With a return to the old theme tune, Joseph now established as her defacto travelling companion and an all around tighter sound design, she’s ready to face anything. And in this rip roaring adventure which is half comedy, half action thriller, she gets straight to it.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield; The Glass Prison

Before I start the review can I just say ‘yes’ to the cover.

The covers for the first few novels weren’t ‘bad’ as such, but they weren’t very distinctive. The range changed with the launch of series two of the audios and Dave Stone’s Infernal Nexus, but fittingly that cover was as mad and ludicrous as the content of the book itself. Finally, on the fifth attempt, it all just seems to come together. It’s striking, evocative, moody and deeply personal. It’s just… right.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Bernice Summerfield: The Skymines of Karthos

There are lots of things that aren’t wrong about the Skymines of Karthos. Despite being utterly disinterested in the whole adventure aside from the prospect of seeing his wife again, Jimmy Wilson doesn’t put in a bad turn as Michael Peters. His interplay with Lisa Bowerman is certainly one sided in her favour but its nice to see a dynamic where the two leads aren’t colleagues, and it certainly beats Bernice doing it solo as she did in Secret of Cassandra.