Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bloodtide by: Jonathan Morris directed by: Gary Russell: The Evolution Experiment

Bloodtide stars Colin Baker as the Doctor.  It was written by Jonathan Morris, directed by Gary Russell and released in July 2001 by Big Finish Productions.


I have an interesting history with Bloodtide.  I have personally listened to Bloodtide four different times and every time I find my opinion on it has changed rapidly.  My first listen I wasn’t really paying attention because I had heard so many good things about Project: Twilight.  The second time I liked it mainly because it was a story with Evelyn in it and it has the Silurians not from Warriors of the Deep and Charles Darwin.  The third time I found it so boring I fell asleep three times while listening and then just forgot whatever I enjoyed about the thing.  This time was the fourth time and it was another time I liked this one, but not as nearly as much as I liked it on my second listen through.


The plot sees the Doctor and Evelyn arriving in the Galapagos Islands during the voyage of the Beagle where Charles Darwin will make his discoveries about evolution.  Not all is well on the islands as a colony of Silurians have woken up which brings some interesting revelations about the creation of humanity which is where the plot really shines.  Then it just becomes a rehash of Doctor Who and the Silurians.  Luckily once this happens there is only about an hour left in the run time and Doctor Who and the Silurians is already a good story it doesn’t tip the scales into the realm of the story being bad, but it does make me know exactly where the plot is going and how everything resolves.  What Morris does with his rehash is what he is famous for, making the story have a very bleak tone that I just love.


The way Morris characterizes the Doctor and Evelyn is great.  While they are not romantically involved with one another, here they are written almost like they are an old married couple enjoying their retirement.  Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor has such good repartee with Maggie Stables’ Evelyn that I just can’t help get lost in their performances.  The Doctor wants to try and help negotiate with the Silurians yet there aren’t any real sympathizers with his cause.  His actions are so futile he ends up allowing their destruction because without it the world is doomed.  Evelyn gets separated from the Doctor and shows just how independent she is.  She’s the one to come up with plans and just the presence of Maggie Stables in this one is completely worth it.


Miles Richardson is the standout of the cast as Charles Darwin as the man has his faith broken over the course of the story and it becomes hard to listen to.  The man fears God but has the idea put into his head that God is dead and it only gets worse when it is revealed the human race as we know it is all just a giant experiment from a crazy Silurian scientist.  The implications break him and it takes Evelyn and the Doctor explaining just how big the universe is to get him to come back to his senses and help save the day.  Darwin is on the Beagle under Captain Fitzroy who is pretty much the Brigadier, but after Part Two he becomes really bland and forgettable.  The Silurian Tulok is played by Daniel Hogarth and is good at being a way to get the story going and provide a villain.  He shows us a lot more of the Silurian’s culture which is a good thing as I found it interesting.


Jonathan Morris also pulls several twists from under our feet which all have horrifying implications.  Other than the fact that humans were created by Silurians, Morris pulls out that much like the way we eat meat, the Silurians eat us which feels like a natural development for them as they easily could have.  The scene when Evelyn and Darwin find the livestock freezer actually succeeded in making me nauseous.  He also brings back the Myrka from Warriors of the Deep, but as a powerful force.  It was chilling to see what it did and almost funny to notice it is credited to be playing by Robert Shearman and William Johnson.  I think Johnson may be a fake name meant to be the back half of the Myrka and if I’m right I find it hilarious.


To summarize, Bloodtide’s biggest crime is that it is a rip off Doctor Who and the Silurians, which is already a better story.  Everything is actually really good with some great humor and a bleak tone yet there are story problems with a blander supporting cast and an opening ripped from The Spectre of Lanyon-Moor almost word for word.  70/100

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