Blogtor – In Other Worlds – Review of Big Finish’s Terrahawks Series 1
Let’s pay a simple word game. A word is given and you say the first thing that pops into your head. Got it? Okay….
Most likely you thought of ‘a follow up to a story/book/film etc. that builds on the previous entry, whilst doing its own thing, and has a differing level of quality.”
In short, doing something good is one thing, but following it up with something even better is a challenging task, and some that a lot of contenders fail at. But there are those that shine through and show that they are not only as good as the original, but that sometimes they can even outshine the original. Such is the fate that befell Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr’s Terrahawks…
Whilst not the most well-known of Anderson’s shows and programmes, Terrahawks still holds a fond place in the minds and memories of the children of the time. (For some, the terrifying face of Zelda will never leave!) And certainly enough of an impact to prompt Big Finish into an audio revival of the series. And that seemed to do well… (Check out our review here.) Well enough for a second series to be a certainty. But the question now was, how do you follow up a brilliantly bonkers series of a mad entertaining sci-fi romp? Well they found a way it seems…..
The war between the humans of Earth and the androids of Guk continues, as the android queen Zelda, and her maniacal dysfunctional family, throw everything they can at the humans. But fighting on their side, for the Earth, are the Terrahawks. Dr Ninestein, Lt. Hiro, Captain Falconer and pilots Kestrel and Hawkeye, along with their loyal and quirky companions, the Zeroids, are ready to defend the planet from all that Zelda will send their way, from sadistic gameshow hosts, to dastardly living dolls, catastrophic space circuses and impossible copyright infringements. But things take a turn for the strange when Zelda vanishes. And when she’s found, an enemy of both Humans and Androids is following close behind, ready to destroy all…
From the word go, this second series tries its utmost hardest to top its last outing. And it can be safely said that it succeeds on nearly every occasion. Under the returning and remarkable talents of writer/director Jamie Anderson, and other writers Andrew T Smith, Chris Dale, David Hirsch and Terry Adlam, along with newcomer Geraldine Donaldson, we are greeted with eight very authentic feeling episodes ranging from good to brilliant, from Ninestein ending up on a sadistic gameshow run by Zelda’s psychotic ex, to the Terrahawks being threatened by competition, funded by some all too familiar voices, and even the team hitting the big screen thanks to Lord Low Grade. But for the best episode? That honour goes to Anderson’s hour long finale, My Enemy’s Enemy, which delivers just about everything you could ask for in a big climactic finale, and more.
And as for the cast, the returning talents of Jeremy Hitchen, Robbie Stevens, Denise Bryer and Beth Chalmers do much more than excel themselves, they truly make us forget that we are just listening to fictional characters. The four of them have invested so much into all their characters that they now feel real and that we are going on this mad adventurous journey with them. Not to forget, on top of them, we also have Supermarionation legend Nicholas Parsons guesting as a brilliantly psychotic version of himself, complete with send offs to Sale Of The Century and Just A Minute. If there’s one thing that the Andersons can certainly do right in the modern age, it’s send up every last bit of pop culture they can, whilst also being faithful to it at the same time.
But an audio drama is only as good as its sound work, and it is safe to say sound designer Steve Foxon and musician Richard Harvey have truly outdone themselves with this boxset. Foxon’s design work it true to form and genuinely authentic, sometimes too authentic, and Harvey’s score is still as brilliant as it is immensely epic. Of course, the highlights of their work, as is everyone else’s, is in the finale, where every last person involved brings their A-game.
Terrahawks’ second series set out to prove something: that it was bigger, better, bolder, and battier than ever before. And it can be safely said that it has succeeded in all counts. From its top notch writing, to brilliant voice work, and expert sound design, Terrahawks Volume Two has not only proven itself to be brilliant, but thoroughly deserving to be an amazing sequel to both its inaugural audio series and its original television series. Here’s hoping series three can be even better!
BLOGTOR RATING: 10/10
Terrahawks: Volume Two is available to purchase on CD and Download from the Big Finish website, or from all good stockists.
“Terrahawks, stay on this channel…”
Back for more, after 2015’s popular release, is Terrahawks, the fondly remembered action adventure comedy originally brought to you by the men who created Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Dick Spanner.
In the not too distant future, the Earth finds itself under constant threat from Zelda, a blood-thirsty android who, along with her fiendish family and monstrous creations, has established a base on Mars. The only thing standing between this evil queen and her quest for the ultimate annihilation of mankind are the Terrahawks – an intrepid band of heroes led by the stern but fair clone, Doctor Tiger Ninestein.
In this new series, the Terrahawks defence grows all the more desperate, when a terrifying new enemy joins the Androids on Mars. This new villain has a sinister connection to Queen Zelda; and together with an army of new monsters, the Earth doesn’t stand a chance!
Eight episodes on four CDs, with a bonus, behind-the-scenes CD featuring interviews with the cast and crew.
- Sale of the Galaxyby Andrew T Smith and Jamie Anderson
Guest starring Nicholas Parsons
Ninestein and Zelda both receive invitations to appear on a gruesome gameshow – The Sale of the Galaxy. But will grim gameshow host, Nickel-plate Starsons’ personal history with Zelda influence the outcome of the game?
- The Trouble with Toy Boysby Chris Dale
A pernicious puppet – one half of a famous ventriloquist act – is on the loose, but even the Terrahawks can’t keep a bad dummy down as Timmy the Toy Boy takes his final act to Hawknest!
- Return to Sender by Chris Dale
The return of a missing NASA probe and an encounter with an old flame of Ninestein’s means a case of fatal attraction for the Terrahawks.
- Renta-Hawks by Andrew T Smith
A beautiful island in the pacific – the secret base of Global Rescue. So far – undetected. Outwardly the luxury home to billionaire ex-nightclub owner Dick Branston. But there’s something fishy about this gang of slick would-be heroes – particularly the firm’s backer.
- Chain of Command by Geraldine Donaldson
With Zelda missing, the government’s focus is firmly on the Terrahawks, and Ninestein is under serious pressure to cooperate. So when a mysterious device lands in Texas, Kate and Mary must go on a Thelma and Louise style mission to prevent the package getting into the wrong hands.
- Lights, Camera, Disaster by David Hirsch
It-Star’s plans for a propaganda movie go awry when Anderburr Pictures’ new owner – Lord Low Grade – decides to make a few alterations to the script.
- Count Anaconda’s Magnificent Orbiting Circus by Terry Adlam
Roll up, roll up for the most amazing show in the Universe. Malevolent MC Count Anaconda welcomes one and all to the orbiting big top, although the chances are that you may never leave…
- My Enemy’s Enemy by Jamie Anderson
Hiro and Ninestein finally decode Zelda’s message, and not a moment too soon. The android queen is in trouble – on the run from her greatest foe; a direct descendent of her original master – Prince Zegar of Guk. Finding themselves outgunned and outnumbered, could this be the end of the Terrahawks?
Guk Warning: This audio features murder, violence, destruction and warfare, all involving puppets – some scenes may be disturbing for puny Earth-scum!
Written By: Jamie Anderson, Andrew T Smith, Chris Dale, Geraldine Donaldson, Terry Adlam
Directed By: Jamie Anderson
Jeremy Hitchen (Ninestein, Hiro, It-Star [male], Hawkeye, Dick Branston), Robbie Stevens (101, Hudson, Yung-Star, Stew Dapples, Cy Splitter), Denise Bryer (Zelda, Mary Falconer, It-Star [female], Grandma Buggins), Beth Chalmers (Kate Kestrel, Cy-Star, Miss Donaldson), Nicholas Parsons (Nickel-plate Starsons), Richard James (Jeremy Vile)
Director and Producer Jamie Anderson
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs