Monday, June 16, 2014

A Tour of Who Audio

After The Sirens of Time it was quite a while before I got round to listening to anymore. In fact it was the drive back up to Dundee when I moved that I found the time, and I did three of them almost back to back, and I got properly stuck into the audio plays Big Finish gave away for the 50th Anniversary.

Mission of the Viyrans is probably the one that got me well and truly hooked. It was bizarre. It was a little mind bendy, and it left a lot of questions. Admittedly it's mostly a Peri story, with the Fifth Doctor taking a bit of a backseat, but Nicole Bryant does a better job here than the show ever really let her. Now I know there's sequels to this, my plans to only really listen to the Eighth Doctor has faltered, and those Doctors who actually had TV adventures has blossomed. This isn't going to end up cheap!

Urgent Calls was an absolute brilliant use of the audio format for a telling story, basing the entire thing around a number of phone calls between the Sixth Doctor and another person as they accidentally deal with minor alien invasion that's effecting who people ring up. It's a neat, quick audioplay that works wonders.

Cuddlesome is a bit more of a traditional Doctor Who fair, one I could see happening on the show. Evil teddy bears rum amok and the Fifth Doctor stops it. It was the last I listened to on my journey, and I'm thankful of that. It was quite easily the least impressive of the three. Nothing about it stood out. It's a pretty generic affair.

Rise and Fall was a different kettle of fish. Everything up to now has been full cast dramas, even if Urgent Calls dodged around that with only two actors. Rise and Fall, taken out of the Short Trips anthologies is read by a single actor, but that actor is no less than the voice of Ian Chesterton. Of course, it's fifty years since William Russell played the part, and you can hear the years in his voice. Not to say he doesn't do a good job, but he certainly sounds like an old man now. But that makes him almost perfect to tell a story all about Ian and The First Doctor. It's a wonderful tale, very well told. Before this I was going to avoid the narrated audioplays and stick to full cast outings. Not any more.

After that, again it was a while before I found the time. I usually have to be doing something else to concentrate on a audio play (similar to my inability to watch a reconstruction) so one day I had a bunch of chores to do around the flat and got stuck into The Genocide Machine, mainly because the overarching Dalek Empire story ties into Eight later on, and I got part 3 (The Mutant Phase) for free off of Soundcloud.

I was actually not going to really bother with Daleks or Cybermen from Big Finish. For some reason I've contracted the thought that they get enough screen time on the show, and that Big Finish should concentrate on expanding the Doctor's adventures beyond the stuff the TV show will always do. Like the Sontarans going back to the early Doctors, since they didn't get much of showing pre-New Who. Unfortunately, The Genocide Machine supports my attitude. It doesn't do a great deal new with the Daleks, or rather, it almost does but fluffs the landing. The concept of a Dalek imbued with the galaxy's knowledge turning pacifist is an intriguing one. But The Genocide Machine doesn't do anything with it other than have the Daleks start shooting at each other and then it's all over and done with. Combined with Sophie Aldred being as bad an actor in audio as she was on screen and it's quite a forgettable adventure. That said Sylvester McCoy's turn here is amazing, especially his reaction when he finds out the secret of the Kar-Charrat library.

And that's it so far. I'm visiting the folks in a few weeks, so that's twelve hours on the road, so I imagine I'll get a few listened to then.

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