Earthsearch – Mindwarp

This is a prequel to the Earthsearch series (which I loved) but made some 25 years after the originals. And I didn’t much care for it. I really wanted to like it – there’s some solid science fiction here. But, the production itself got in my way. It reminded me of when the modern sequel 3rd, 4th, and 5th series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came out. The style is so different it is hard to consider it part of the series. It was “Dirk-Maggs-ified“, if I may coin a term – to me, that means an overuse of music, distractingly modern sound effects (for a 21st century followup to a 70s classic), and clearly very little respect for what came before so there is no stylistic continuity. 

And that’s exactly how I felt about Mindwarp, which is a Big Finish production. I don’t have much experience with Big Finish productions but I’m in no hurry to hear more from them. What’s the opposite of a golden age? Well, that’s what we’re going through in audio theater now, I think. I doubt Dirk Maggs is to blame – I don’t know enough about the history involved, but this style does seem to be the common modern BBC style. Trying to make “audio movies” – adapting the movie aesthetic to an audio medium, rather than focusing in the inherent strengths of the medium itself. Like mainstream American movies in the 60s – trying to put stage productions on film, rather than develop true cinematic storytelling techniques as was happening in other places in the world.

But, don’t get me started on that.

The only caveat I’ll add is that I went in expecting a continuation (albeit a prequel) of the Earthsearch world and found myself in a totally different kind of production. Maybe the minds behind it felt they were entitled to such a huge departure since this was a prequel. But it was hard to judge it on its own merits. The story was OK, the acting was a bit better than OK – the music was the real problem. It was just so PRESENT. Always in my face, telling me how to feel about the scene. It felt like a TV sitcom laugh track queuing me when to think something was funny. And the way it swelled during halting, dramatic dialogue moments kept making me think the characters were going to burst into song.

Anyway, I give it an admittedly biased D in that it did much more wrong than right. I will not be keeping a copy – I think I’ve gotten all the juice I will ever get from it, no matter how many times I return to give it another squeeze.

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