What does this mean? This means pure, 100% Twin Peaks, uncut by baby laxative, if you will, straight from Jacques Renault to us with no Bobby Briggs middle man--yes, I'm talking to the hardcore fan now. This is exactly what I keep saying; keep the cooks in the kitchen to a minimum on these shows, it pays off in purity of vision, True Detective standing as the best example.
On the other side of the coin, Doctor Who, a series which has harboured so many visions extraordinarily well, has even branched into audio plays which I've been delving into lately. Last week, every day from Wednesday on, I basically inked and coloured comic from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed and in addition to Ken Burns' entire Civil War documentary I also listened to the first several monthly Doctor Who Big Finish serials which began broadcast in 1999, six years before the television series was relaunched by Russell T. Davies. The stories I've listened to feature Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy reprising their roles as the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Doctors, respectively, and the plays have a few writers who would go on to write for the new series, including two whose work I tend to hate, Mark Gatiss and Gareth Roberts. I've listened to a Mark Gatiss play, Phantasmagoria, and it's pretty bad, though not quite as cartoonishly bad as some of the stuff he's been writing lately. On the whole, though, I really like what I've heard so far.
They've been surprisingly political, two of them featuring stories about politics with very strongly liberal points of view, much more in line with the classic series than somewhat less politically radical new series has tended to be. Whispers of Terror and The Fearmonger both feature monsters that infect people's brains through political speeches, the latter including a satire on a Rush Limbaugh style talk radio host. The audio oriented monsters, of course, are also more suiting to the format. But in addition to these, I've found the monsters on this shows to be strikingly creative. My favourite so far has been the Fifth Doctor story The Land of the Dead which involves alien fossils from the pre-Cambrian era coming to life. The story is also nice for featuring some actual flirtation between Five and a guest star, a catty interior decorator. Davison rarely had opportunities to even hint at romance in his television run. The story also features some really wonderful explorations of Nyssa's character--these audio plays also feature the original actors who played the companions.
The performances have been excellent, except, of course, from Colin Baker, who I'd heard had actually improved a lot for the audio plays but so far I'm not finding that to be the case.