Friday, 31 May 2013

Everyone's a critic these days...

... unless you work for DWM usually. I have just finished reading the latest issue, and experienced a bit of a shock. The review for the fifth volume of Big Finish's "Gallifrey" spin-off series was actually negative - and I mean really negative.
Usually, anything BF produces gets a sycophantic thumbs-up from DWM. Readers are encouraged to buy even the most humdrum of releases. "It's a bit rubbish, but still worth purchasing" seems to be the party line.
Frankly, the review pages of the magazine are often merely free publicity for BF (and BBC Books & AudioGo). There should be an "Advertising Feature" banner across the top of the page.
We do get some proper critical reviews - but these are confined to the DVD releases and new TV episodes.
The book and audio reviews (covering three or four pages on average) are okay at telling you what the release is about, but fail miserably to inform you if it's worth putting your hand in your pocket for. Considering the vast amount of new Doctor Who product released every month (a lot of it BF product) a more critical response from the programme's dedicated publication would be welcome. I read reviews elsewhere (such as SFX magazine) and they are far more honest.
Take the new book by Nicholas Briggs - "The Dalek Generation". SFX totally panned it. DWM says the pacing is all wrong, the second half unclear and the ending "barmy" - then go on to say it is "a solid and entertaining entry to the books range" -  i.e. it's a bit rubbish, but you should buy it anyway.
Now I'm not saying that every critic could or should have the exact same opinion. Two people watching / reading or listening to the same thing are always going to have diverse opinions. But please DWM, at least proffer an opinion. If you're going to use up several pages every month on  reviews, be honest. Fans have a limited amount of money to spend. Let's have more reviews that actually tell it like it is.

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