Blackout – powerful or power-cut?

So a BBC Audio for the 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory as read by Stuart Milligan (who played Richard Nixon in Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon) set in New York at the time of one of its (true) blackouts – this one being November 9th 1965. Written by Oli Smith who wrote Runaway Train (which I thought was very poor) I wasn’t expecting a great deal from this release…

Summary

Well I was pleasantly surprised as to how much better than Runaway Train I found this story of aliens in New York in the 60s. No timey-wimey stuff just a solid tale of a threat to the population, alien abduction of a cab driver, an updated version of spontaneous combustion (but with ice if that makes sense) and several chase scenes. A couple of times it seemed it might overlap with the plot of the current TV show (in terms of the silence and the death threat to the Doctor) but it didn’t.

Main flaw was that too much dramatic tension relied on the Doctor, Rory and Amy apparently about to die from an unstoppable alien poison. Nice idea but we know they won’t die, so that rather defeats the object!

Good and not so good

Good:

  • It was nice to start from a solid US style alien abduction for some reason
  • The reading from Stuart Milligan gave the characters distinct voices
  • New York felt convincing and for me a lot more so than the Big Finish Invaders from Mars version
  • Great scenes in the water pumping station
  • A nice chase sequence
  • Great mint-snow (listen to find out!)

Not so good:

  • The resolution was rushed a bit and relied a lot on an element of bluff
  • How the Doctor first knew to intersect with Clint the Cabbie
  • In reality the November 9th blackout covered a lot more than just New York (Mr Pedant!).

Overall rating: 4+/5.

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