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3.5 out of 5 stars49
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 24 January 2013
When New York cabbie Clint visits a psychiatrist to discuss his delusions of Alien Abudction, he doesn't expect to encounter a real one. But by the end of the night, he will have seen and done things few humans could ever imagine...

Blackout presents a good idea and a strong opening, only to lose itself amid an over-familiar and unnecessary period and location. Having Stuart Milligan narrate a story based in America is, on the surface, a good idea. He is an excellent narrator and gives a strong performance, but his prescence immediately provokes comparisons with his on-screen story, set in a similar period, with unseen aliens only adding to the similarity. Also, New York seems to be becoming a second spot for alien invasions, with the series visiting ever more frequently, another factor working to the story's detriment.
Which is, in a way, a shame. The actual concept, characters and overall story are good, but it could have been based almost anywhere (Leicester Square would have been a good, and more original, alternate for example) and gained something from the lack of over-familiarity. And Stuart would almost certainly benefitted from a second narrator covering some of the voices: his renditions of the regulars, while very good, bear no resemblance to their real voices, and to me, an American Doctor just doesn't work.

Overall, the concept and performance manage to make this entry to the range okay, but it could have been so much better.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a decent audio book outing for The Doctor. Oli Smith has written an interesting plot that has everything you would expect, with plenty of plot and a little humour thrown in. Having heard many audio books over the years, I found this one lacking something. I did not learn anything about the characters - their feelings or thoughts. If you already know the main characters, then fine, but if you don't then you will learn nothing about them from this story. However, a good deal of the plot is written on the back of the box, which robs the sighted listener of many of the story's surprise developments.

The sound effects are good, if rather dropped into gaps in the speech. There are very few background sounds and, consequently, the whole thing lacks atmosphere. I would have liked to have heard the complete theme music, but Milligan annoyingly talks through most of it. That's also odd, because it's the only time there is sound behind any of the talking. Stuart Milligan reads well, but he certainly doesn't do female voices. Poor Amy sounded like an effeminate boy.

The box says the episode lasts about an hour but it actually comes in at 1 hour 17 minutes. This means there is more in there than appears on the outside, which makes somewhat like a TARDIS!

Overall it's a good listen, and perhaps worth a second listen, but it's not the greatest Doctor Who story ever told.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Many of the recent run of audio adventures featuring Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor have been distinctly disappointing, with genuinely enjoyable stories like The Hounds of Artemis few and far between amid too many that play as either rejected pitches for the TV series or at worst cynical attempts to part fans from their money. This veers more to the former, with a neat premise, a particularly good Maguffin, and a nice revelation about the main human character that can only work on book or audio. Unfortunately it's not quite there: you can see why it could and should work, but it never strikes the bullseye. One of those stories that starts halfway through the story, it sees the Doctor, Amy and eternal third wheel Rory in New York just in time for the 1965 blackout. Looting is the least of the Noo Yawkers' worries, as several crystallise and shatter, with a local undergoing psychoanalysis (guess who is his doctor?) holding the answer to the latest alien threat. And it's a good answer that deserves better plotting along the way to the big reveal, but with his companions largely sidelined author Oli Smith seems more interested in the Doctor-patient relationship than the story at times. The end result is a little frustrating and a bit disappointing, but at least shows a bit more imagination and effort than many other NuWho audio adventures.
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I listen to a lot of BBC Audio books. Some are full cast recordings, some are read by the key figure from the corresponding TV series. Full cast recordings are nearly always better (there are a few exceptions, but not many). I struggle to understand why BBC Audio seem to pick anybody who has been on Doctor Who to read the Doctor Who audio books. I'm not criticising Stuart Milligan (who played Nixon in "The Impossible Astronaut") who reads this one - I just think it would be significantly better to do a full cast recording. It's not as it there are even that many characters in this story, so it wouldn't have been hugely expensive to produce. Stuart Milligan does an adequate job, but I was distracted by it not being the Doctor (Matt Smith) or a full-cast recording.

I won't give the story away, but I'm afraid that the story is certainly not one of the better ones, whether on audio book or otherwise. If written better, it could have made a TV episode, but it did not work for me on audio - predictable, no tension whatsoever, and with a weak ending. The saving grace was the character of the taxi driver, around whom a much better story could have developed.

Passable, but nothing special.
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VINE VOICEon 15 December 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Doctor Who Blackout is the latest audio exclusive cd. This tim it is read by Stuart Milligan (who is perhaps best known for playing Adam Klaus in Jonathan Creek and who also played President Nixon in the Doctor Who stories The Impossible Astronaut and Day Of The Moon). Stuart makes a good reader and captures the characters voices very well. Blackout sees the Doctor pitted against some aliens who are causing people to die in a bizzarre way. The story is quite short running at around 1 hour and 15 minutes and moves at a good pace. It makes ideal listening while stuck in traffic (which happens to me rather too much). So if you enjoy a good exciting story then why not give Doctor Who Blackout a go.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Solid but unspectacular is probably a fair summation of this latest Doctor Who audio exclusive.

The storyline, which features the 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory investigating aliens getting up to no good in 1965 New York, is engaging enough whilst it lasts, but is ultimately fairly standard stuff. Oli Smith's prose is likewise functional but unflashy, with the author content to provide a solid adventure without ever attempting to dig any deeper into any underlying themes or interesting character beats. The actual blackout of the title ultimately only serves as atmospheric window-dressing to the alien plot, whilst the creature's appearance and 60's US setting is perhaps a little too reminiscent of 'The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon' (a point further emphasised by the use of Stuart Milligan - aka Nixon in those TV episodes - as the reader), robbing the story of any unique hook of its own. Even the New York in 1965 setting seems arbitrary, with only a throw-away line about the Swinging 60's and the colour of one character's skin - for all its bearing on the plot the story could have been set absolutely anywhere.

None of this is to say that 'Blackout' is a poor story - it just lacks that certain something to raise it above being average spin-off material. Stuart Milligan does a fine job as the reader, injecting the material with energy and drama, and Oli Smith does a fine job of capturing Matt Smith's 11th Doctor. It's just a shame the storyline never quite kicks into a higher gear.

3.5 out of 5.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 September 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The CD begins immediately with a dramatic prologue describing an alien abduction, drawn in the sinister-sounding tones of a New York cab driver. The listener is thus plunged head first into the heart of an alien plot against the population of America's iconic city.

Once past the essential signature tune, the story continues with plenty more action. There is an unexpectedly amusing one-liner, beginning "In New York we don't believe in aliens..." and, however improbable it might be, the perilous journey Amy and Rory take by road-sweeper is highly entertaining.

Stuart Milligan does a great job with Oli Smith's story, his American accent being in keeping with the setting of New York, with occasional lapses when voicing the English characters. However, the production is quite different in character to the other Dr Who CD I have ("Doctor Who": The Hounds of Artemis: (Audio Original) (BBC Audio)), partly because it is read by a single person, rather than by two actors.

The story is well-written and delivered in style. It is well-paced but is confusing because for dramatic effect the writer withholds the explanation for the aliens' interest in New York until near the end. Finally, all is revealed and all the threads are brought together in this surreal tale. However, one 'side-effect' of the confusion is that there is no hardship in listening to the story all over again!
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In 1960's Manhatten a cab driver called Clint has gone to see a Psychiatrist to see if they can explain his strange dreams of being beamed up by a white light and having needles pushed into his body.

He tells his story only to discover that the person he has been talking too is not the Psychiatrist Dr Bruce but a man calling himself the Doctor.

New York is under siege the water supply has been poisoned and having drunk the water so have the Doctor, Amy and Rory.

As the city is plunged into darkness and Amy and Rory try to disrupt the water supply and end up being chased by aliens through the city, the Doctor builds a device to communicate with the giant spaceship hidden in the clouds above the city in a desperate attempt to save the lives of his companions and the city.

This story is written by the same writer as the Runaway Train but I did find this slightly less engaging.

The story is read by Stuart Milligan who played President Nixon in the latest series but although he does a good concise job of reading the story being an American does mean that it does grate slightly on the ear when he is reading dialog for the Doctor and co.

I understand the producers keeping to people who have been in Doctor Who to read the stories but is may have been a bit more engaging if it had been for instance Matt Smith or Arthur Darvell reading the story.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 September 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This audio book has been specially written for audio and it uses the medium well. Unlike the last Doctor Who audio book I read (listened to?) there are none of the TV show stars in this, instead it's read by a guy called Stuart Millgan (who was Nixon in season 5) who has a strong American accent (he pronounces his name stewaart for example) who is really good and plays the different characters well and they do seem distinct.

The doctor sounds different with the accent, but it's convincing impression of Matt Smith's doctor.

The story starts well, with one of the guest characters talking to a psychiatrist - you do need to pay attention to this bit!
Once the doctor is revealed/arrives to help with the mystery, but it's rather run of the mill story - it's a bit of a Who done it (pun intended!) and quite enjoyable - the sounds effects work well with the sound of traffic on a New York street or water dripping in tunnels.

This story seems to be slightly longer than the normal audio books - it certainly seemed to be longer than the one hour stated on the box.

Overall a good listen, well written and with good effects and characters but nothing earth shattering.
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VINE VOICEon 23 October 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
New York City, exploding bodies, the Doctor and his companions in peril and the clock ticking - this appears to have all the elements of a classic Doctor Who story but although aspects are very enjoyable the struggle that Stuart Milligan has in providing distinctive, convincing voices for the Doctor, Rory and Amy did slightly limit our family's enjoyment. We listened to this on a car journey [an adult, a 12 and 14 year old] and it did keep us engaged for the hour long story we felt the story flowed well and enjoyed the fact that it seemed to be a realtime countdown. As it is set in New York and the main extra character is american it did mean the choice of Stuart Milligan was appropriate but I must admit I have enjoyed the stories where actual Doctors or companions read the stories more because it is good to have a familiar voice that you identify with.
As a Doctor Who fan it is a fun way to pass an hour and some of the quirks of the Doctor, Amy and Rory do come through but I feel it would have been more enjoyable with Matt Smith or Arthur Darvill reading it.
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