Big Finish Productions
|Written by||Mark Morris|
|Starring Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton|
|Synopsis: One wouldn't normally expect to find elephants, gorillas and rhinoceroses roaming free in Suffolk in the year 1911. One wouldn't normally expect to find an extra-dimensional police box at the same time/space location either. Two aliens, named the Doctor and Nyssa, exit said box, only to find themselves pursued by a hungry lioness - for they've landed in the private hunting grounds of the famous explorer Nathaniel Whitlock, who's brought together a motley group of friends and acquaintances for a weekend's shooting. But one of Whitlock's guests isn't all they seem. One of them wants the secrets of the Moonflesh, the mystic mineral looked after by Whitlock's retainer, a Native American known as Silver Crow. Because the Moonflesh is reputed to have the power to call down spirits from another realm... and soon, the hunters will become the hunted.|
Boredom Strikes Back by Noe Geric 18/8/22
I don't know if Mark Morris read his script before sending it to the script editor because it could've spared me the uncomfortable experience of listening to Moonflesh. Not that it's bad in any way, no. It's just incredibly dry. You've more chances to find water in the Sahara desert than in this four episodes story. Nothing is interesting, it's incredibly predictable, and the characters are mostly Over the Top. It reminds me of Land of the Dead, another story that was written in a hurry due to scheduling problems, and it was as boring as this. I found myself playing some scenes again because I was unable to follow anything. It was one of the first audios I bought, because I found the cover really splendid. But I shouldn't.
The plot is typical nice-monster-being-bad and with the mystical nonsense of the Indians mixed with a bunch of stupid, very stupid characters. The Doctor is perhaps everything that went wrong with the Fifth Doctor. He's unable to do anything. He's powerless. I was going to scream when the alien (wasn't he called foetus or something like that? I couldn't hear; the voice filter was bursting into my hears) was manipulating him to take control of the TARDIS, and good old Fifth was just unaware of what was going on. Of course it wasn't the case, but the Doctor was so stupid during the rest of the story that I really believed he was that dull and managed to help the alien take control of his ship. Nyssa get nothing really interesting to do except talk nonsense and remind us she has psychic powers just for the sake of continuity and for a plot point that was just pure filling. The other characters are all a bunch of big idiots. You've got Whitlock, played by Tim Bentick at his most irritating and totally OTT. Shouting every five seconds and with no characterization beyond that. His daughter Phoebe is as blank as a sheet of paper. The two guys, father and son; one complains, the other one is just there. And...
Hannah Bartholomew. Played by Francesca Hunt, she's perhaps one of the most irritating of the lot. And guess what? She disappear at the end to come back in the next two releases as a companion! (She'll be less irritating, but she'll be as useful as Turlough in The King's Demons). Her character is responsible for the whole thing that is happening, but no one cares. She is supposed to be a good person, but she's doing everything wrong! She helps the rich father to escape from the house invaded by the alien, but manages to get him killed. She comes back five minutes later like a little flower and forgets to tell the son (Hector) that his father is dead. And when she finally admits it, it's in the most throwaway fashion. What sort of monster is she? There's also that Indian I've forgotten. He speaks of spirits and ancient gods, but he's basically like everyone else: paper thin.
The sound design is incredibly blank. The dinner scene feels like everyone is just playing music with the knife and the spoon and not actually eating anything. The gorilla attack was so badly realised I didn't get it was actually a gorilla attacking the rich guy. The score reminds me of Mischief Maker, one of these Nintendo 64 games everyone has forgotten about. It's not bad, but it just pollutes a story supposed to be set at the beginning of the twentieth century and not in deep space with a score that won't exist until 1980.
It's as this point that I feel Big Finish is also filling the Main Range with useless releases. This one is just there for the Main Range to exist. It's a story even I could write. The dialogue is as camp as anything else. "I can open these curtains without your help", great; "I hope they're all right" couldn't you find something more obvious to suggest you're filling the story with useless stuff? There's also that weird moment in which the Doctor and the Indian take drugs, meditate and began to fly across Montana towards a giant head and meet some White bull who is supposed to be a god. And then this sequence manages to beat the evil alien. I think the only point I could give to Moonflesh is the cover. It really doesn't look like anything we could've seen during Davison era, and it feels incredibly epic. Of course, the story is everything but.
If you've ever wondered why I think Big Finish is running out of stream, listen to this one. It's boring from beginning to end. The back cover already tells you that's you're going to fall asleep listening to this. And once again I ask: is Big Finish listening to reviews? I mean, not just the two guys saying that this release is incredibly good, but also to the hundreds who says Moonflesh is pure boredom? I wonder why they keep hiring Mark Morris when his stories have never been interesting. None of them have been good, and yet he still keeps coming back with more dull stuff. His novels are okay, but can Big Finish keep place for good audio writers? Do they never learn from their mistakes? The cover is a bonus point; this is tolerable, but it's not interesting. Don't pay for it except if, like me, you're a completist. 4/10