2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Asylum's quite a jolly Torchwood adventure, and not as dark as some of the TV episodes. As such, it is suitable for listening by a younger audience. I often wince during the Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventures at cloying continuity references, and the BBC Radio Doctor Who adventures in the 90s were ludicrously bad and poorly scripted. So, for me, Asylum was very much a refreshing, and very professional audio production in comparison. To be honest, I thought it was a lot better than many of the TV episodes, such as Chris Chibnal's horrendous Countrycide. Some other reviewers have commentated that casual listeners might be baffled by the sudden plunge into the Torchwood universe, but I think this is beside the point, as only Torchwood fans would be buying this CD, and since it's only 45 minutes long, there isn't enough time for a great exposition regarding all that's happened thus far. Besides, the excellent Tom Price's presence as PC Andy Davidson amply provides the outsider's perspective of Torchwood. Anita Sullivan's portrayal of the main characters is spot on, with Jack, as per usual, going over the top in his reaction to Freda (her 'weapon' doesn't sound that dangerous). The story does peter out towards the end, as other reviewers have noted, but that's because the threat isn't as great as Jack originally fears. Ianto and Andy also display a great deal of humour, which is a welcome change of tone, and makes it all the more shameful that Ianto was not utilised more fully in the TV series. So, this episode of Torchwood is mainly focused on the characters of our heroes, without a hint of the cringe factor that afflicts similar episodes in the various Star Trek franchises. And althought Asylum is obviously set before The Children of Earth, it does suggest that there is a Torchwood in the future...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There's something of the typical fan fiction about this drama, which lacks the grit of the television series. One of the problems with this kind of works relationship to the wider canon is that its limited ability to change the course of the main series stunts its capacity to introduce any radical elements. Consequently the ending, where a story might offer a more radical turn, offers only anticlimax. However it does have positive features; the series is professional and not every BBC radio drama can boast so much; strong voice acting and until the end a decent plot. Perhaps its greatest weakness is it lacks a hook, something to really consider or, therefore, remember, but it does provide an amusing diversion of devotees of the shows mythology.
Well, this CD has proved to be a fabulous little time-passer on this quiet Bank Holiday Monday afternoon. I was riveted from start to finish. I wasn't sure what Torchwood minus vision would be like, but the writing & acting brought the story vividly to life.
P.C. Andy Davidson (Gwen's boyfriend) has a pivotal part to play in the story. His character provides much of the humour, along with Gwen, but then at one stage in the story I wanted to shake him for his blinkered outlook, and then he turns out to be an absolute gem: warm, understanding, accepting, a knight in shining armour rescuing the damsel in distress! But I dare not say more, for it will spoil it for those who have not listened to it.
'Asylum' is a good mystery that had me guessing right to the end. It also has excitement, & a few real poignant moments that tugged on the heart-strings. The music added to the general atmosphere, & the mix was perfect, enabling me to hear each word of dialogue clearly, even when there were sound effects &/or music in the background.
These 45 minutes show what a good actress Eve Myles is. She judges her performance perfectly, making her character eminently believable, her sultry, softly-accented voice just made for radio. John Barrowman takes something of a back-seat in this story, but he makes his presence felt in every scene he's in, & even though he can't be seen, he still manages to ooze sex appeal! Gareth David-Lloyd is as dependable as ever, bringing reason & sanity to the proceedings when around him there's high emotion. Special mention must go to Erin Richards who plays Freda, the strange young girl Andy arrests for shoplifting. I was rooting for her all the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this CD & would highly recommend it to any Torchwood fans, & urge anyone who perhaps is not familiar with the series to also give it a listen. You won't be disappointed.
For me, one of the worst aspects of the first two Torchwood television series was the writers' insistence on trying to do big things on a poor budget, which sometimes led to some laughable moments. And often this would be coupled with an almost childish need to shock the viewer with unnecessary sexual references. I'm not a prude in any way, but the adult value of the show often lacked a necessary maturity and so grated on the senses. The nice thing about this series of BBC audio books is that they cater for a family audience and so do not deal so viscerally with body matter, and seeing as the beauty of an audio adventure means that the budget is limitless, the special effects can be as real as one's imagination allows.
Strange then, that this is such an intimate little story with little in the way of big explosions of visiting alien creatures. Nonetheless, it zips along nicely with Gwen and, unusually so, PC Andy Davidson taking the central roles. The overall story is that of a girl out of place, if not time, and she is played believably well by the actress taking the role. The focus is on her and her confusion at being dropped into the strangeness of every day Cardiff. Jack and Ianto's parts aren't as relevant but they make a fine double act these days, and it's always fun to hear them verbally spar.
I suppose the enjoyment level of this audio adventure can only be gauged by just how much one likes either Torcwhood itself or, more importantly, the characters central within the drama. I would imagine, also, that it's only really devout fans of Torchwood who are likely to buy this single CD which lasts less than an hour in length. That's not much to receive for a the price, especially as there isn't a wealth of little extras to add to one's listening value, so it's obviously only for those of unlimited funds or completists.
For fans of the TV series, this audio book may be a bit of a disappointment. The latest TV special "Children of Earth", other than a feeble last two minutes, was so good that it has probably put many people off ever believing the government about vaccinations (in particular a swine-flu vaccine that may not have been tested for as long as usual...). On the other hand, this audio book was, to be honest, mediocre. I enjoy Torchwood, I listen to lots of audio books, but this one just wasn't up to the expected standard.
It falls down in three areas:
(1) The story just isn't that interesting
(2) The acting is variable. PC Andy (Tom Price) was consistently good. However, some of the other performers were inconsistent in their delivery, one example being the exchange between Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd) in the car, which was very wooden. Did I think they were in a car? Nope. I listened to that and pictured them standing in front of microphones. Not good. They didn't have good material to work with, but even so, they could have done better.
(3) The background sounds were also variable. In places they were ok, in others they disappeared, leaving the performers to convey any drama with their voices alone. Given the variable acting, the absence of background sounds just made the wooden acting more obvious.
So, for fans of the TV series, I think this will be disappointing. For people not familiar with the TV series, I suspect there will be no interest factor at all.
Having never listened to a audio book before I wasn't really sure what to expect with this product. With it containing the original cast as the actors however I decided to give it a try.
I listened to this on my computer whilest working at my desk and kept wanting to look up and view the video so I definately found the experince a little jarring to beging with. Having known the characters from the Torchwood TV series however I quickly formed a mental image.
I was really glad that I brought this product as as a art student it's often nice to have something on in the background whilest your working, but films can be destracting and music gets irratating if you have it on all the time (to me with my limited collection anyways). Having a audio story makes time pass alot quicker and my only complaint about this story that at 45minutes long, I found it going far too quickly!
The story focuses around a girl called Freda, who has fallen through the rift. Alot of the story is 'narrated' by her as she remembers things and sorts through her memories. Characters you are more familar with include Gwen, Jack, Ianto and Andy Davidson (PC) all voiced by their actual characters on screen.
After listening to this I believe that in high likely-hood I will buy more audio-books. I read alot, but often don't have the time to read as much as I would like so this medium seems like a really nice way of experincing a story whilest you are doing something else.
I enjoyed this story, mainly because it was so good to hear all my old Torchwood friends again. The acting and direction is really consistent with the BBC television series, and in some ways, the tone is similar to the episodes of the second series (not as black as Children Of Earth), even though this takes place after the team lost Tosh and Owen. Where the story DOES differ substantially from the television series is that the character of PC Andy is allowed to take centre stage for much of this drama, and this is one of the strengths of an audio format like this. Tom Price is always likeable in the role on television, and is no different in this story, except he does get to show a little more moral backbone than we are used to, standing up to both Gwen and Jack. Gwen also comes off well in this story, but with little time spent on Captain Jack and Ianto, I did feel a little short-changed. Worse than that is the fact that the story seems very similar to the brilliant first series TV story "Out of Time", (in which an aviator woman from the past falls through the rift), with elements of "Sleeper", (where the alien woman is unaware that she isn't human). But these don't ruin the experience for me, and the story's saving grace is that this is a nice little character vignette for Andy. We are allowed to see both his compassion and Tom Price's acting strengths within the familiar Torchwood setting.
This is the second of three Torchwood episodes that recently played on Radio 4 in the week before Children of Earth was aired on TV. They were mostly average to good but in my opinion this was the best of the three. The problem is that in order to fill the afternoon play slot, they had to be a bit toned down from the TV.
Anyway, this is a fairly quiet episode, the only real bit of excitement is when Jack, for no apparent reason, suddenly decides he wants to shoot Freda (I won't go through the plot, this is already covered on this page) until Gwen calms him down. This suits the afternoon slot well having a more cerebral storyline rather than all guns blazing.
It is well written and mostly well acted, in particular the actress who plays Freda who uses the language of the future as if it were natural to her. It is really a Gwen and PC Andy episode with little input from Jack and Ianto. The quieter story suits Gwen's character well.
The only gripe I have is that there wasn't really an ending, Freda's future was left up in the air.
Together with the other two stories (available separately), it made a good little run up to the blockbuster that was Children of Earth. As a stand alone CD, it is a little flat. Four stars for the writing and acting and its suitability for purpose. Plus any extra Torchwood is welcome IMHO.
The recent, marvellous, third series of Torchwood on TV was justly critically acclaimed and while this radio drama's not quite up to that dazzling standard it knocks the socks off most of the episodes broadcast in the first two. The ironically quite juvenile fixation on 'adult' subject matter is thankfully missing, but as this play was designed to be broadcast in the afternoon that's not a massive surprise. Instead we have a more genuinely grown-up story revolving around mysterious urchin Freda, which focuses on how Torchwood's usually gung-ho approach to things can occasionally compromise human (or otherwise) rights. It's greatly in the play's favour that by far the most interesting member of Torchwood, Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) is firmly at the centre of things here along with her lovable policeman friend Andy (Tom Price, in a far bigger role than he's ever had in the TV show). John Barrowman gets little more than a cameo role as Captain Jack, while Gareth David Lloyd's Ianto has even less than that. This is a really enjyable, thought-provoking way to spend 45 minutes - and what's more it even includes some intriguing revelations abut the Torchwood organisation itself whih will hopefully be followed up if the show returns to TV...
on 24 September 2009
"Torchwood": Asylum (BBC Audio) Last year's Torchwood radio play for BBC radio 4 (Lost Souls) was a brave effort but clearly demonstrated how unused the majority of the main players were at acting for radio. Fortunately, this year, the main players have all learnt from their experience, and their performances were much better - less shouty and more focused.
Torchwood: Asylum is the first of three radio plays that follow on from 'Lost Souls' and set the scene for the TV show's explosive third season (Children of Earth). This story focuses on a young woman, Freda, who appears abruptly in Cardiff apparently armed with some kind of futuristic ray gun, and speaking a half-incomprehensible dialect. PC Andy finds her first, but then he calls in his former colleague, now Torchwood employee, Gwen Cooper. They take over Freda's case, but Andy insists on remaining involved as they struggle to solve the mystery of where Freda has sprung from. The answer is a surprise to them (but probably not to the listener) - and involves some timey-wimeyness that we see less often in Torchwood than in its parent show, Doctor Who.