Friday, February 20, 2015

Deeper in the Divergent Universe

As promised, I'm lumping a bunch of audios together. Rather predictably I'm starting with Eight and his adventures in the Divergent Universe.

The Natural History of Fear
Oh, another identity confusing adventure with Eight.... even more so, isn't it a bit early for C'rizz getting a different personality? We still don't properly know his proper one, especially considering that hint at the end of Creed of the Kromon that his was undergoing a rather seismic shift. I even spent a good section of this serial not realising one of the many different personalities was played by Conrad Williams, being he's only been in one other story so far. I'm not used to his voice enough for him to start playing another part and it not be obvious.

What saves the entire thing is the twist. It's also a twist that perfectly plays to the audio format. And the performances. Fisher does a great job of playing something very different to Charley, but that's nothing compared to McGann playing a mentally unbalanced bad guy. Again, Big Finish really let him prove just how awesome he is.

Oh, and the cheeky reference to episodes of Classic Who going missing and how badly some people miss them/think they miss them.

There's no denying The Natural History of Fear is good. But the Eighth Doctor and identity problems are getting a bit thin, and it's too early to pull that trick with C'rizz. Also three stories in and they're just not doing enough with this alternate dimension angle. With all the promise that Zagreus had of what was on the other side, and then the excellent beginning of Schezro both the last two serials have devolved into bog standard Who fares. Minus the twist Fear could be any sci-fi show with a mindwash story.

The Twilight Kingdom
After all the good the first season of McGann did with setting up the future of Who, feeling like a template of what was to come in 2005, it's almost like we've forgotten all of that. Since the Doctor and Charley emerged in the Divergent Universe it seems that we've taken a step backwards. From The Creed of the Kromon and the following two serials I've got the distinct impression that the serials could be from Davison/Baker/McCoy era. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, there's good stuff there, but these McGann stories have also felt like mediocre ones at that. Season 1 may have had its duds, but after it's brilliant opening with Scherzo this Divergent Universe arc is starting to feel like completely wasted potential.

A military force camped out and a crazy alien controlling them. Honestly it’s an elevator pitch that could cover so many episodes. Not only has it been done before, but it’s been done better as well.

With The Natural History of Fear I complained it didn't have to be in the Divergent Universe, but at least it had quality on its side. Here nothing adds to the ongoing storyline except for the explanation of where the TARDIS went, which is immediately changed so that's not even in its favour.
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