Big Finish review-Torchwood: The Conspiracy

Prepare to venture into an extraordinary realm where Torchwood takes a daring twist, pushing the boundaries of what you thought you knew. The Conspiracy, the inaugural chapter of Big Finish’s New Who spin-off series, ignites a captivating journey that redefines the beloved franchise. But does it succeed? That question lingers, for this Torchwood instalment ventures into uncharted territory, captivating fans with its fresh approach.

The invigorating new Torchwood theme will mesmerise your senses and linger in your mind. Brace yourself, as it may become your latest obsession, perhaps even a ringtone worth keeping. Composer Blair Mowat skillfully weaves a harmonious tapestry, offering a glimpse of the magnificent musical odyssey that awaits us in future instalments. The distinctive Torchwood atmosphere permeates the soundtrack, transporting you to the heart of a captivating episode.

The format itself presents an intriguing surprise. The Conspiracy embraces a unique narrative style, employing first-person narration similar to River Song’s captivating storytelling in The Angel’s Kiss. At first, this may seem like Jack is breaking the fourth wall, but fear not, for there is a fascinating in-story reason behind this narrative choice. It adds an extra layer of ingenuity, enhancing the overall experience and drawing you further into the story.

As we venture forward, we encounter the intricate tapestry of the storyline itself. Think of The Conspiracy as the initial puzzle piece in a larger six-part Doctor Who tale. It skillfully lays the groundwork for future chapters, yet when viewed independently, it vacillates between being “meh” and “ordinary.” Characters other than the indomitable Jack Harkness may come across as relatively ordinary or less captivating, leaving us yearning for a deeper connection. However, prepare to be astonished by the remarkable fact that the UK-based cast, including the incredible John Barrowman, recorded their parts while he was in America. This technological marvel seamlessly creates the illusion of a united ensemble, and credit must be given to the director for orchestrating such an exceptional feat.

Although The Conspiracy may lack an immediate sense of palpable tension, it gradually builds towards an enthralling climax that seizes your attention three-quarters of the way through. Unfortunately, we don’t develop a strong emotional attachment to the secondary characters, making it challenging to empathise when events unfold. However, where this story truly shines is in the flawless portrayal of Jack Harkness. Barrowman’s performance is nothing short of extraordinary, presenting a charismatic yet restrained Jack who takes centre stage. This is the embodiment of the beloved character we know and adore, striking a perfect balance for both innuendo enthusiasts and those seeking a more serious tone.

In terms of timeline, subtle references to Gwen and Skypoint indicate that the story takes place after the events of Season 2. However, intriguing possibilities arise, suggesting potential connections to Miracle Day, as the absence of Ianto and the lack of explicit mention of the Miracle Day team hint at a broader narrative scope. The Conspiracy also offers glimpses into fragments of Jack’s pre-Doctor life, adding an enticing layer of mystery to his enigmatic past.

Is The Conspiracy a suitable entry point for newcomers? Only if you have delved into at least Season 1 of Torchwood. This chapter plunges us into a world brimming with intrigue, assuming a level of familiarity with Jack Harkness and the Torchwood universe. It serves as a thrilling continuation of the Torchwood saga, immersing fans in a captivating web of secrets and conspiracies. However, for those who have yet to embark on the Torchwood journey, it may prove challenging to fully grasp the intricacies of the organisation and its characters. The Conspiracy assumes prior knowledge of Jack Harkness and the essence of Torchwood’s endeavours, ensuring a rewarding experience for dedicated fans while encouraging newcomers to delve into the earlier seasons.

At its core, The Conspiracy excels in delivering a thrilling experience for enthusiasts of conspiracy theories and the depths of the human psyche. It offers a gripping narrative that retains its entertainment value even upon multiple listens. I found myself drawn back to it twice in a single day, captivated by the intricate layers of the story. It’s a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship behind this audio adventure, ensuring that it remains a source of enduring enjoyment.

The Conspiracy stands as a testament to Torchwood’s evolution and its ability to captivate audiences with its bold new direction. While it may have its share of minor flaws, the stellar portrayal of Jack Harkness and the intriguing narrative make it a worthy addition to the Torchwood canon.

Whether you’re a seasoned fan or a newcomer eager to immerse yourself in the world of Torchwood, The Conspiracy promises an exhilarating journey that will leave you craving for more. So, put on your headphones, buckle up, and prepare to be enthralled by this thrilling audio experience that unveils new dimensions within the ever-evolving Torchwood universe.


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I am a co-founder of the Bad Wilf Podcast, a hard working father of two and a dedicated gamer. As well as hosting the podcast I study IT and am learning French. Twitter: @nerdthropology