This year’s Short Trips continue with “#HarrySullivan”, which delves into the rarely-seen team of the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry. Read on for my thoughts on this new release.
For me, this Short Trip is somewhat of a mixed bag. There’s a lot to like about it, but equally some areas where it falls a little flat.
What I really enjoyed was the incredible worldbuilding Eddie Robson gives to the story. Set in the future, where journalism has advanced along with the technology, #HarrySullivan gives us an exciting, Black Mirror-esque glimpse at what the media might look like in years to come.
Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like this was explored in any meaningful way. Given that Sarah Jane- a journalist herself- is in this release, I was expecting a lot more focus on her. Instead, we focus on Harry, who is turned into a social media icon so that he can infiltrate a celebrities-only retreat.
But for a release named after the him, there’s very little actual development for the character. Once Harry gets to the retreat, all he does is wander around and, because this happens in the last half of the story (with the first half setting up the situation), the story’s over before it really gets going properly.
For a story commenting on social media and journalism, I felt like #HarrySullivan had surprisingly little to say on either topic. Had the focus on Harry or Sarah Jane been stronger, then perhaps this would have been okay, but sadly this isn’t the case.
Louise Jameson narrates this release, due to the unfortunate fact that neither Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) nor Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan) are still with us. She does a fine job, giving each character a distinct and recognisable voice.
Overall, a surprising misfire for the Short Trips range, lacking in the character development I’ve come to expect from these releases. Disappointing, as I felt this story had a lot of potential, not only to expand upon the season 12 team (particularly Harry), but also to provide some interesting commentary on social media and journalism.
#HarrySullivan is available as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com
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