Doctor Who varies in tone, jumping from fun space romp to claustrophobic teatime horror. When you tune in, you are never quite sure what you are going to get. It’s adult spin-off show dials this up to 11. There are worlds of difference between Countrycide and Something Borrowed, a fact that Big Finish have not forgotten. If anything, the contrast is even starker on audio.
Serenity is penned by James Moran, writer of the series 2 episode Sleeper. I was excited to see one of the TV writers come back and get another go at Torchwood. Since 2008, Torchwood has worked out a lot of its kinks (pun intended?) and sits comfortably in its own little oeuvre at Big Finish.
2015 was when everything changed, and I was very much ready.
Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) are a sci-fi power couple, alongside the likes of Han and Leia and Wash and Zoe. So many people love this pair, so the chance to hear them together again is always nice. Barrowman and David-Lloyd embody their characters so easily that they are a joy to listen to. In this latest story, we hear them pretending to be a happily married couple. With all the sickeningly sweet lovey-dovey talk you would expect.
They are living in Serenity Falls. A picturesque gated community with constant barbeques and competitions for the best kept lawn of the month. Naturally, our two main characters are not particularly at home in this environment. There is a lot of fun to be had hearing Ianto grit his teeth through all the false happiness. The play does an excellent job of making you hate all the lovely inhabitants.
The supporting cast are excellent at portraying the sort of people who live in a gating community. Petty squabbles and catty put downs are the bread and butter of how this community survives. They may have wide smiles and pleasant greetings, but they are hiding something. There’s an alien amongst them, but can Jack and Ianto survive the place long enough to find out who?
This is a very funny episode of Torchwood. The laughs come thick and fast. The intro to the story sets the scene perfectly whilst also being entirely hilarious. Jack and Ianto have had to deal with some utterly horrific things whilst working for Torchwood, so it’s nice to see them in a less life-threatening situation.
It’s not all smiles though. The characters uncover some very dark elements in this seemingly happy community. Facades fade and the reality of what is happening becomes apparent.
It is well worth your time finding out how.
Torchwood: Serenity is available from Big Finish for £9.99 on CD and £7.99 on Download