The Heart’s Desire

Posted in Audio by - August 12, 2018
The Heart’s Desire

Released June 2005

Under normal circumstances, Christmas would be a time to spend around family, but a previously uncharted pulsar strangely pulsing in Morse code that is threatening to destroy the Braxiatel Collection sees Bernice zipping halfway across the galaxy to the mysterious Marlowe’s World in hopes of somehow saving everything she holds dear.

Strangely, ‘The Heart’s Desire’ represents the second consecutive story in which Bernice has been trapped in a fictional world, though the backdrop of two mysterious onlookers in a competition to see if Bernice will notice does present some additional intrigue as events unfold. Unfortunately, the world presented here is filled with the worst clichés of detective and gangster genres, and the rapid succession of assassination attempts and bank robberies hardly allows for any meaningful development amidst all of the action. Worse yet, the performances make it difficult to determine if this entire story is being played as serious or tongue-in-cheek, but the dreadfully over-the-top nature of Topsy Turve makes the entire production a tough one to take seriously in any respect, her ear-piercing intonations and all-too-frequent screams at any hint of danger extremely disconcerting and distracting. Due credit must be given to Lucy Beresford who fully commits to the role, but Turve alone takes away any sense of verisimilitude that the surroundings may otherwise exude.

‘The Heart’s Desire’ essentially boils down to a series of unrealistic events occurring until Bernice finally calls the bluff and states that she will not play along any longer. This brings with it two very interesting concepts, though neither is handled well enough to amount to anything meaningful. Indeed, the return of the Eternals from the superb television serial ‘Enlightenment’ should provide immensely satisfying dramatic potential given their immortality and sheer power that accompanies their unique outlook on life, but neither of the two here is written nor performed with any degree of weight or scope to make their very personal and human squabbles anything more than that with Eternals instead simply another word in the script. Likewise, the notion of Enlightenment giving Bernice the power to wish for anything and her choosing to live a normal life of domestic bliss should lead to moments of tremendous insight, but this new reality only lasts for a few moments before ‘normality’ is restored and a bevy of explanations ensues. This domestic reality is far more intriguing than the false reality Bernice is instead presented with from the start, but simply having her wash dishes and bake buns is a waste of time that does nothing at all with the character, and not having the Eternals act on a more grandiose scale throughout makes Bernice stripping them of their immortality seems strangely inconsequential and anticlimactic.

This becomes a dreadful parody of Bernice’s own adventures, and the script admitting that it was supposed to be terrible at the end does little to alleviate the fact that this is simply not a good story that wastes so much potential for genuine drama throughout. This range has not been afraid to poke fun at itself and typical science fiction conventions many times before, but ‘The Heart’s Desire’ lacks the charm that made those previous exploits so successful. Instead, only Lisa Bowerman’s own performance stands out for the right reasons in a rough sixth series opener that represents a dramatic misstep on so many levels and that offers surprisingly little time for the pulsar threat that was so intriguing and for its Christmas setting that becomes a forced non-issue in the end.

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