I have one, no two, problems with this story. One, is Martha. Never liked her, highly doubt I ever will. My second problem is the science... It was my understanding that everything needed protons and electrons to stay together, adding in neutrons and stuff as the atomic masses got bigger... take one of those away and things go a bit wonky?
That aside, I've never cried at an audiobook before... I'm one of those fans who was very attached to both Tosh and Owen, to hear about what happened to them - assuming they recovered Owen's body (Gorman laughing about Owen living in the sewers with the Weevils aside) - giving hthem both a proper funeral got me started. The constant mentions of them through the piece just served to remind me of the lose and made me in or near tears throughout the entire thing...
I love how the recording was basically done as an episode but without the visual, no description of what people were doing but heavy breezing and footsteps to suggest movements let the imagination build the picture in my head itself, and I love that. I hate being told what to imagine to much.
Overall, this product is a stroke of genius and was a great way to celebrate the end of the world... wait, hang on... the non-end of the world.
After listening to several of the Doctor Who audiobooks, I fancied something a little bit different. Naturally, a Torchwood audiobook seemed to fulfil the need for variety. And it just so happens that Lost Souls is absolutely terrific stuff.
Lost Souls was a special audio drama broadcast in January 2008. Taking place after the devastating Series 2 finale "Exit Wounds", Lost Souls sees Captain Jack, Gwen and Ianto struggling to deal with the tragic demises of friends/team-mates Owen and Tosh whilst going about their jobs, protecting Cardiff and the rest of the world from hostile alien activity. Before long though, they're summoned to Geneva, Switzerland by old team-mate and friend Martha Jones (former companion to the Tenth Doctor), to investigate strange disappearances. Just as the world-famous Large Hadron Collider is about to be activated for the very first time.
Joseph Lidster has written a very haunting and inventive little drama here, true to the whole theme of the Torchwood series itself (darker and more adult then Doctor Who). Admittedly, I haven't seen as many episodes of the Doctor Who spin-off as I have its parent show, but it doesn't really matter, as Lost Souls is a very accessible radio-episode. Meaning people who have never watched the actual show can just dive straight in and enjoy it without wondering all the time what Torchwood is all about.
Dealing with the aftermath of Owen and Tosh's deaths is beautifully expressed by the cast here. John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd and Freema Agyeman give typical first-class performances, like they do in the TV show. Be it quipping or dramatic, the team just act naturally, doing their characters justice as always. The production values are high-quality also, from the music to the sound effects. You can really believe everything that's happening here, to the point where you can envision it actually being televised.
Tying the events here with the real-life scientific breakthrough of CERN's Large Hadron Collider is inspired too. The accuracy of the facts portrayed about the 2008 experiment provide a realistic touch to Lost Souls and are also tied in nicely with the mystery and threat presented in the episode. The experiment about to be activated, the mystery of the missing people, key conversations amongst the team, and Gwen and Ianto enduring the nightmares of their dead friends coming back to haunt them; these are all the gripping, tense highlights to relish in from listening to Lost Souls.
As a bonus feature, there's a nice little 25-minute "Torchwood: All Access" Bonus Feature featuring interviews with Russell T Davies and various cast members, shining a bit more light for those Torchwood newbies. And it certainly helps round things off nicely.
Torchwood: Lost Souls is easily on a par with the quality range of Doctor Who Audiobooks out there. Obviously, we love Captain Jack and Martha, but this a reminder of how Torchwood is very much its own thing, and should be lauded all the more for it. Seriously worth the pennies.
To celebrate the switching on of the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland Lidster comes up with an aching Torchwood paen that honours the recent deaths of Toshiko and Owen whilst imagining the worst that could happen when the LHC comes online. Martha, now working for UNIT, has been called in by a friend to investigate disappearances among the workforce at CERN in Geneva, then her friend disappears and unwilling to bring the entirety of UNIT into a delicate scenario she calls Jack. There are voices in the air, saying that they are the dead, that they want to come back.
The recording isn't particularly long but it is very good, it's a dramatisation rather than a reading of an audiobook so it's packed with sound effects and hearing Ianto, Jack and Gwen speak of their grief and connecting it with the madness that the irrecoverable loss of a loved one can drive you to is seamless.
Whether or not this episode finds itself as a bonus on an eventual DVD box set (which I have few doubts it will) this episode should not be ignored if you're a Torchwood completist. It's an odd piece crowbarred as it was into Radio 4's "Big Bang" day for the launch of the Cern project and yet containing some very woolly pseudo-science, but as an entertaining play that acts as a coda to the second TV series it's a very enjoyable way of passing 45 minutes in the company of characters you know (and - I assume - like if you're thinking of buying this...). Also included is a half hour "All Access" radio documentary which goes behind the scenes, and, if you enjoy Torchwood, is worth a listen - even if you hated the play. You should also bear in mind (and at the time of writing this isn't an issue) that it is probably worth checking any future DVD extras listings in case of duplication.
I have listened to this story more than three times and it is very good. I think it is always good when you get a full cast audio drama with all the voices of the actors, rather than just one person telling the story and doing the voices, which in my opinion can get quite boring. It was also good that this story featured Martha Jones. I would recommend this to Torchwood/Doctor Who fans.
I've listened to quite a few Torchwood audio books and this is definitely one of my favourites. I like how it's the actual cast speaking, without a narrator. It felt like a bit of a slow storyline but it was still good and true to the TV series. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys Torchwood, whether on TV, audio book or on page.