Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Review | Torchwood - Empire of Shadows by James Goss

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Torchwood: Empire of Shadows demonstrates how far the format of Torchwood can be pushed and still make riveting drama. This story falls in the midst of a great run of stories by author James Goss. One of the great things about Goss’ writing is the fact that every story can be so different from one another by change of character, location, time or tone. The only consistent thing about his writing is the brilliance. 

Empire of the Shadows takes Torchwood in a whole new direction as the story moves into the far future Earth Empire and re-visits Zachary Cross Flane, who was last seen rescuing Ood from the Impossible Planet. In that story the Torchwood archive is mentioned in passing. But this passing mention becomes the central conceit of this drama.

Zachery works for the Torchwood Archive and that connection is going to lead him into a mystery and conspiracy which can turn from suspenseful to comedic in a couple of sentences. A cross between Tomb Raider and House of Cards, no one can be trusted. 

Shaun Parkes returns from the television episodes to play his first role with Big Finish - and here’s hoping it’s not his last visit. Shaun imbues Zachery with a warmth and charm which allows us to accept him as the hero of the story without question. But his frivolity underlies a wisdom and seriousness that you don’t want to cross. 

The sound design requirements for this story were huge. Naomi Clarke does a great job portraying future spaceships and landscapes, echoing temples and city wide destruction. Supported by a strong score by Blair Mowat, the dialogue has a convincing backdrop on which to rest. 

As always, Scott Handcock works his directorial magic. He manages to take a small cast and make a huge, future epic adventure. 

A must listen for anyone who loves Torchwood or want to know more about the Future Earth Empire. 

Philip Edney

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