Once again the Big Finish Torchwood range proves it can do no wrong with the brilliant Juno Dawson story The Dollhouse. In style it’s a very obvious Charley’s Angels tribute, and being of the right age it really worked for me. It’s also Torchwood, so there’s aliens, some swearing and plenty of dark undercurrent.
I loved it; here’s why…
The product page sets the scene:
1970s Los Angeles – the city of angels and broken dreams. Three remarkable women keep the West Coast safe from alien attacks – they are Torchwood Los Angeles.
So many young girls come to this city hoping for something better. For some, luck is just around the corner. For others that golden ticket never arrives and they just fade away.
But it’s not that simple. Everyone has a value to someone, and Torchwood are about to discover Hollywood’s darkest secret.
In a nutshell there are aliens, missing actresses and a villain. There is also a Mr Beamish (Guy Adams) an ersatz Charley, who of course makes his presence felt by phone. Juno Dawson’s world creation is wonderful, as each of our angels has enough back story to make them interesting without spelling out too much. This means plenty of scope for character development and future stories. With three new characters to get to know, the women in question are as different from each other as possible: Marlow Sweet (Laila Payne) is a scientist with an interest in the alien, Charley de Bujeau (Kelly-Anne Lyons) is the former criminal who grew up in a trailer park and Gabi Martinez (Ajjaz Awad) is a south American with a healthy interest in fast cars (and spaceships!). Add to this a few other characters, including Valerie Fox (Eve Webster) and the scene is set.
The story eschews the normal theme tune for a funky disco beat but soon gets into pure Torchwood, despite the trappings. There’s humour (Roswell jokes) and glamour, with a sinister reason behind the vanishing of series of wannabe actresses. Underneath the Charley’s Angels homage the actual plot is fairly simple, but still dark and the ending has its own surprises.
There’s no interviews (shame) but plenty to suggest there may be more with this crew, and having let the djinni out of the bottle who knows what other such idea might come forward? Miami Vice, Starsky and Hutch, Dukes of Hazzard…
More please, and soon!