It is interesting to compare and contrast Who adventures that are set roughly in the same historical time and place.
Blackout takes place in New York in the 1960s and while this is a good half a century later (an eye blink for a Timelord), I could not help but comparing it to the television adventure Daleks in Manhattan.
As with that tale, this has the Doctor teaming up with a down on his luck black fellow as his ‘companion of the hour’ as it where, while his permanent companions are off doing their own thing.
But this is really where the similarities end. Were Daleks in Manhattan was a confused mishmash (albeit one with some very strong elements, but elements that were outweighed by illogic), this is an exercise in tight, economic storytelling.
It opens with a great pre-credits scene in which Stuart Milligan as narrator delivers a perfectly timed exchange. After that we’re into the usual Who fare of frantic chases and sinister aliens with questionable motives.
These motives, while plausible, do result in couple of minor problems I had with the story. One concerns a character and their place in what is happening – this is something that would be a massive spoiler, so I can’t go into it here. The other is the Message. Now, it is not in any way a bad Message, in fact it is one I agree with wholeheartedly. It’s just that it is delivered in a slightly heavy handed way that makes the listener think ‘Yes! I get it!
Apart from that, this is a great way to spend an hour and a bit. Milligan, who played Nixon in ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ is a very good narrator, his Matt Smith in particular is excellent.
This is also a very visual story, and I can’t help wondering if it was first pitched as a television adventure, only to be knocked back because of the colossal effects budget it would require, before finding a home at AudoGo?