Torchwood – ‘The Dollhouse’ reviewed

❉  The latest in Big Finish’s monthly series of Torchwood adventures.

Perhaps after this, maybe we just shouldn’t mix ‘Torchwood’ and America again. Like ever.

Whilst the eponymous ‘Dollhouse’ is a rather nifty germ of an idea, I can’t say the surrounding parts of story live up to it. There’s rather two flaws in the piece from the get go.

The minor one of the two is….why is there a Torchwood in the US? There’s some mumblings of the United States being a former colony of the UK in the beginning of the story, which is true, but that was the dusty past even in Queen Victoria’s time let alone the brown and beige 1970s. The outfit is rather small and seems a bit clandestine, but none of the more interesting aspects of their existence is ever delved into. Which is a shame, because a story about a secret British organisation that hunt’s aliens on US soil in the 1970’s sounds like it should be fun…

The main crux of The Dollhouse is that it’s a pastiche, perhaps even a parody of Charlie’s Angels which is a trickier prospect than one might know. You see, Charlie’s Angels was not a great piece of television. Its main selling point was seeing beautiful women dress up in costumes and fight bad guys. This is an audio play. So you’re left with not much to play with going on this route. In fact, you end up being a poor imitation. As for possibly being a parody? This is neither insightful or funny to succeed in those departments.

The dialogue seems rather clunky and anachronistic at times (perhaps intentionally?), but the cast is certainly game. Guy Adams’ ‘Mr. Beamish’ (‘The Dollhouse’s Charlie) seems to be in a whole other production entirely (a good thing).

I kept waiting for a twist in the tale, for things to get a bit darker or even to make more sense, but it never came. The ending does seem to imply there might be a possible sequel in the works… One could only hope that there’s something much more interesting under the surface of this trio of Torchwood operatives.

All in all, it’s a confusing and poor entry in Big Finish’s ‘Torchwood’ series and not at all an indicator of the high quality the series has put out thus far. I suspect the law of averages got the upper hand here. Rather a shame, as there’s always room for more female lead series at Big Finish. (And new talent! The actors and writer seem to be fresh faces for BF’s roster. Alas…)

Not recommended.


❉ ‘The Dollhouse’ was released on 18 April 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until June 30th 2017, and on general sale after this date.

2 Comments

  1. I disagree. I found this to be great fun! There could be a reason for a Torchwood US that has yet to be revealed… with it’s disbanding coming soon… from Big Finish!
    I thought the villain/threat was really disturbing. A living hell isn’t dark enough??
    I think this will be a love it or hate it episode.
    Brilliant? No. Super fun? IMO, YES!

  2. I agree with the review. I’m generally a pretty easy audience, but this was, hands down, one of the absolute worst releases that Big Finish has ever put out, utterly, painfully, absolutely horrendous. A horribly written bland pastiche, with atrocious performances. How anyone could give this trainwreck of a release even a passing grade is somewhat staggering. Truly awful.

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