‘THE NEW WORLD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Star Cops are back! And they’ve come to Mars! 😀
From watching the shorted-lived ‘Star Cops’ TV series on DVD and hearing the two ‘Mother Earth’ CD box sets by Big Finish in 2019 as well as hearing ‘The Stuff of Life’ audiobook in 2021, I was looking forward to checking out the two ‘Mars’ box sets featuring our Star Cops characters on Mars.
The two ‘Mars’ box sets arguably form the third season of ‘Star Cops’ had it been made for TV and had the BBC not cancelled the series in 1987. Although it’s debated that the show’s creator Chris Boucher had intended to continue the TV series with the ‘Star Cops’ characters heading off for Mars.
At least that’s the impression given when Nathan Spring asked everyone at the end of ‘Little Green Men and Other Martians’ – “Anyone for Mars?” It took a while for Big Finish to get around to doing the series set on Mars after doing the ‘Mother Earth’ stories, but thankfully they were on the case. 🙂
The ‘Mars’ saga is very different compared to the ‘Mother Earth’ collection of ‘Star Cops’. And that’s not just to do with the series now being set on the red planet. The arguably third season of ‘Star Cops’ has been reduced in terms of the number of episodes. It’s now six episodes instead of eight. 😐
The first ‘Mars’ box set contains the first three episodes whilst the second box set contains the last three. It’s interesting how these ‘Star Cops’ audio seasons by Big Finish are structured. I’m curious why it’s now reduced to six episodes instead of eight. Hopefully the episodes will be very compelling.
For our first ‘Mars’ box set, we have the return of David Calder as Nathan Spring, Trevor Cooper as Colin Devis and Linda Newton as Pal Kenzy. I’m not sure why Rakhee Thakrar’s Priya Basu and Philip Olivier’s Paul Bailey weren’t invited to appear with Nathan, Colin and Pal in the first ‘Mars’ box set.
I shouldn’t complain really since Priya and Paul are going to be in the second ‘Mars’ box set anyway, but it’s peculiar how they’re not with Nathan, Colin and Paul in the first place when going to Mars. Maybe Priya and Paul are holding the fort whilst back on Moonbase to be close to Earth’s proximity.
I made the conscious decision to purchase ‘The Stuff of Life’ audiobook and the two ‘Mars’ box sets as downloads from Big Finish instead of physical releases (though ‘The Stuff of Life’ is a download-only story anyway). When I purchased the ‘Mother Earth’ box sets, they were physical CD releases. 🙂
I don’t really need to own more ‘Star Cops’ audio releases from Big Finish as physical copies. With ‘Mother Earth’, it was because Sarah Sutton was in ‘Hostage’ and I hoped there would be behind-the-scenes photos in the CD sleeves, which there weren’t. I assume it’s the same for the ‘Mars’ box sets. 😐
The first three episodes of ‘Mars’ in its first CD box set are as follows. There’s ‘The New World’ by Andrew Smith, who is one of the script editors on the ‘Star Cops’ audios, ‘The Shadow of This Red Rock’ by Una McCormack and ‘Whatever Happened to Gary Rice?’ by Guy Adams, another script editor on the ‘Star Cops’ audios. The first box set’s three episodes are directed by Helen Goldwyn. 😀
In the first episode of the ‘Mars’ saga called ‘The New World’ by Andrew Smith, we begin with Nathan, Colin and Pal arriving on the red planet. They’ve come after a six-month journey from Earth.
In one of the rarest occasions in ‘Star Cops’, we begin with a teaser sequence of Nathan, Colin and Pal arriving in orbit of Mars before we cut to the opening theme music. It might be the first of many.
I still would’ve preferred it if we had Justin Hayward’s ‘It Won’t Be Easy’ theme song for ‘Star Cops’ rather than the current theme music Big Finish use. It’s not bad, but it isn’t as catchy as Justin’s song.
On the planet Mars, Nathan, Colin and Pal have come to set up a new Star Cop base. Mars is a very different environment compared to the one they’ve been used to on the Moon close to planet Earth.
It’s intriguing to hear our main characters being far away from home when on the planet Mars. Hopefully their time will be well-spent with all the crimes likely to be committed on the red planet. 🙂
However there is resentment from those who don’t see the Star Cops as being a necessary force to be on Mars. So far, Mars has got on fine without a police force. This might likely change in the series!
It was intriguing to hear the political struggles going on to keep the human colony on Mars a stabilised society. There’s already friction occurring between the colonists and the tourists on Mars.
There have also been a number of water thefts occurring on the red planet. Water is essential for humanity’s survival on Mars. Hopefully no-one will change into Flood monsters by the end of this. 😀
Nathan, Colin and Pal get to meet Issy Van Randwyck as Barbara Holmberg, who is the coordinator of the Barack Obama base. They get a nice welcome from her but not from anybody else on Mars. 😐
Barbara however isn’t altogether comfortable with the idea of a Star Cops presence on Mars. She publicly supports Nathan in his endeavours, but it’s not clear whether Barbara’s support is sincere. 😐
The story also features Oliver Dimsdale as Jean Arnaud, who runs a colony site near Olympus Mons on Mars. Oliver Dimsdale’s quite well-known for playing Daniel Marlowe in the ‘Grantchester’ series.
He’s also done a number of ‘Doctor Who’ Big Finish audios including ‘Infernal Devices’ with Sir John Hurt. It was eerie to hear Oliver Dimsdale play Jean Arnaud’s character with a subtle French accent. 😀
Just to sidetrack, having seen Oliver Dimsdale in ‘Grantchester’, I wonder if Big Finish would ever consider casting Robson Green in ‘Star Cops’ at some point. It would be fun to hear him in ‘Star Cops’. 😀
I like how Jean Arnaud’s character develops in the episode when he interacts with Nathan and Pal whilst investigating a murder at his colony site. He slowly comes to see the Star Cops as beneficial. 🙂
The episode also features Heather Coombs as Kristin Mendelson and Jake Wardle as Martin Jeffries. Kristin and Martin are likely to be trouble for the Star Cops as Kristin committed murder in this story.
Martin also seems determined to get Kristen free from the Star Cops. Heather Coombs also plays Cara Hopkins briefly in the episode before she gets killed and her killer is actually Kristin Mendelson.
I like how Nathan and Pal interact with each other as work colleagues. There’s less rivalry between them. Pal is clearly loyal to Nathan whilst they’re solving a crime and working out who committed it.
I enjoyed Colin’s story with Barbara, especially when they get to know each other and when they’re investigating missing people out there on Mars. Colin gets to be quite adventurous in the episode. 🙂
The episode comes to an end on a shocking cliffhanger. Nathan and Pal are about to take Kristin away before Martin causes trouble. Aboard their shuttle, Nathan and Pal find the shuttle sabotaged.
It’s rare that a ‘Star Cops’ episode ends on a cliffhanger so abruptly as that. I believe Andrew Smith is going for a saga-approach by ending each episode with a cliffhanger. How will this be followed up? 😐
‘The New World’ is an enjoyable start to the ‘Mars’ saga of ‘Star Cops’. What will happen next? How will Nathan and Pal survive? Will Kristin escape? Will Colin and Barbara find Nathan and Pal alive? 😀
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of ‘The New World’, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including David Calder, Trevor Cooper, Linda Newton, Issy Van Randwyck, Oliver Dismdale, Heather Coombs, Jake Wardle, director Helen Goldwyn, writer/script editor Andrew Smith, etc.
‘The New World’ rating – 8/10
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