Tuesday, June 27, 2006

SJS: Snow Blind - "slushy" according to DWM

Doctor Who Magazine isn't exactly rushing to review the second series of Sarah Jane Smith audio dramas. The first two stories, Buried Secrets and Snow Blind, were both released in February this year but DWM has only just gotten around to reviewing the latter story. With this level of alacrity, it should get to Dreamland by Christmas. Still, here's what Matt Michael says about Sarah's Antarctic adventure...
At the end of the previous Sarah Jane Smith audio, Buried Secrets [see DWM 368], Sarah was going to head out to join her new friend Will Sullivan's expedition in Antartica. Snow Blind picks up as Sarah and Josh journey to the remote, ex-Soviet Nikita Base and discover that all is definitely not well.
Having complained that Buried Secrets focused too much on setting up a four-play cycle than telling a strong self-contained plot, it pleased this reviewed no end to hear a straightforward, well-paced mystery story. The ongoing plot threads are clearly there - from the opening news report on the continuing saga of the first tourist space flights and the theft of some nuclear weapon blueprints to the climactic pronouncements from the Crimson Chapter's Keeper - but they're well integrated into a play that can be understood and enjoyed even without the comprehensive recap Big Finish has kindly included.
Despite this, there's a slight staleness about Snow Blind that's perhaps because at times it feels like a trawl through Sarah's back story. After all, it's not as though she hasn't been temporarily blinded before, and she even comments on her previous Antarctic adventure.
Ultimately, Sarah doesn't really discover anything - she just turns up at Nikita Base and events unfold around her. She acts as a sounding board to the protagonists and plays almost no role in unmasking a potentially earth-shattering conspiracy. She might have retired, but on the vidence here Sarah has all the journalistic instincts of a strawberry. As a results, and in spite of some decent moments, Snow Blind ends up slushy.

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