Saturday, July 18, 2015

Putting the Crew Together - The Keeper of Traken

Being that he was hard done by early in this run, I decided to address one of Tom Baker’s big moments. The big moment every Doctor has. His regeneration. From what I understand Baker’s end and Davison’s beginning is actually a trilogy starting with The Keeper of Traken which is a damn good idea. Why should an adventure end with a Doctor’s death, when you have the perfect story telling technique to have the bad guy win, yet the hero come back and right that wrong?

However, The Keeper of Traken also brings into stark relief the problem with my scattered approach to Who. Upon landing on Traken and meeting Tremas, I already know that this man will become the Master somehow.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Hello Charley, Goodbye Charley - Blue Forgotten Planet

Remember those points where the Doctor and companion go off and have adventures that we don’t need to see so the production skips them to give further writers the opportunity to use the pairing later? Those Moffat is so fond of scattering throughout his run? Big Finish dropped a major one for the Sixth Doctor and Charley with Blue Forgotten Planet.

On the one hand I was sort of amazed that Paper Cuts didn’t really address the Charley/Mila plot. Yes, Fisher made it obvious that she wasn’t Charley Proper, and that line at the end where she talks the fisherman out of joining them was very self obsessive Mila. But that was it. Which was fine because it gave Mila an adventure all of her own where everything was normal. Her and The Doctor needed a proper adventure without it being addressed. Here it shows that they’ve had many many more.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Paper Cuts

Paper Cuts is the audio story that basically derailed the entire project. I was that enthralled by the end of The Girl That Never Was that I decided to press on and finish Charley’s saga with the Doctor, not realising that the second to last one featured the Draconians from a Third Doctor story I’d not got round to. Abandoning my plans with Leela and Baker, I went back to Pertwee and made my way through Jo’s final season.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Charley takes a turn for the worst - Patient Zero

This is one I’ve been building towards the entire time. It was part of my decision to go with Charley instead of Evelyn. Way back when I first started with Big Finish, one of the earliest serials I listened to was Five and Peri in Mission of the Viyrans. It stood out from all those from that drive by being really out there, and I really wanted to listen to the sequel. That made the decision to start on the Eighth Doctor a no brainer.

That this ended up finally moving the Mystery of Charley on rather significantly gave even more resonance to this serial.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Come up Trumps - The Raincloud Man

The Raincloud Man is one of those stories that brings one of our protagonist's secrets into stark relief by having part of the episode deal with someone else in a similar situation. It's something New Who does quiet often now that we have long running storylines. Obviously it's Charley and her time with the Eighth Doctor we're dealing with here. It's still not addressed, but it's at a point where it’s got to be happening soon.

While I’ve mostly moaned in the last few serials that this isn’t being addressed, I feel The Raincloud Man hits the exact note in how not to. Mainly because it ends with Charley going far too far.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Daleks and Krotons - Two Big Finish outings

It's another duo as we press on with Six and Charley, and hope that somewhere we'll address the elephant that is Charley's time with the Eighth Doctor. We deal with two Classic enemies, the ever present Daleks, and the only seen once Krotons. It's an interesting pair.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Once More Into The Fiction - The Doomwood Curse

Slight change of plans. I'm going back to just Mondays for Who postings. Mainly because I caught myself up. Planet was delayed because I was watching it in the days before release, I haven't even started The Green Death yet. This was the plan for after Capaldi Season 2, so I just brought it forward. So for now we're with Six and Charley while I get some TV under my belt.

The Doomwood Curse seems to be a play on the idea in The Mind Robber, where we have fiction coming to life. Only instead of it being a little haphazard with its approach to fiction, we basically get a re-do of Dick Turpin. However, where the Second Doctor's trip just went straight out balls to wall 'we're now in the land of fiction', Big Finish offer more of science-y explanation. That of an alien race that doesn't understand fiction, and take it for fact by running it through a machine. A machine promptly destroyed by Charley and its nanites start changing everyone's minds to operate like characters from a gothic romance.

Monday, May 25, 2015

It Was All Going So Well - Planet of the Daleks

I think I've figured out why Frontier in Space was included in the list of recommendations I built this whole enterprise out of. It’s counterpart isn’t that good.

In one aspect Planet of the Daleks is great. A return of Dalek vs Thal, with the other Skaro natives now from the future no less, with early space travel and trying to put a stop to a big Dalek plan. Clearly it’s another riff on the the original serial with a few tweaks here and there. Which can be done well. But the execution is pretty awful.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Charley Goes Off With A Younger Man - The Condemned

The Condemned starts with a fantastic opening sequence as Charley does everything she can to avoid the Doctor’s questions, which obviously only raises his suspicions more. The fact she seems to know so much about the TARDIS and isn't surprised it’s a time machine adds to it.

However, the best bit might be rather simple in comparison when she utters her infamous “My friends call me Charley”. and the Sixth Doctor replies with “I’ll bear that in mind if we become friends.” Such a foreign thing for Eight to say, but for the more prickly Six it rings totally true. Or perhaps the Doctor's shocked at her not being that amazed at the TARDIS being “bigger on the inside” and Charley mutter she thinks it’s kinda small.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The One that Started it all - Genesis of the Daleks

Over the last wee while, my watching has been getting closer and closer to the blog deadline. Mostly thanks to new job and things like Netflix's Daredevil (which is awesome!). I was worried that at some point I'd fall behind. That's now happened. As I write this I'm a third of the way through Planet of the Daleks. Instead, I figured since he's been hard done by this run through, we'd go back to Tom Baker.

I’ve probably mentioned this in a few places by now, but Genesis of the Daleks was the first proper Classic Who I watched, and quite possibly the serial that started this whole thing rolling. This is simply because I didn’t like it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The End of the Road? - The Girl That Never Was

With C'rizz and Absolution we did a big lookback at the companion and how it was under-developed or as if no one could make up their mind what to do with him. With Charley we don't need that. She's been pretty well defined for a long time, and The Girl That Never Was, her departure story, picks the one story thread that really suits her. Being out of time.

Monday, May 11, 2015

There's a War Coming - Frontier in Space

I’m not sure what I expected here. I knew the next serial hinged on Frontier in Space. No one recommended it, so I figured a pretty shaky story just to get to some Dalek action. Instead we get a 70’s sci-fi version of 24, by which I mean lots of political intrigue, war brewing and some casual torture thrown around.

It’s utterly brilliant and unexpected.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Goodbye C'rizz - Absolution

And thus we reach the end of C'rizz's journey inside the TARDIS.

He's quite an interesting companion. Certainly not a standard template. First of all he's visibly not human, which is something the show still hasn't done. But then the constant make-up would be expensive and time consuming. It also creates an issue whenever you do a modern day or history based story, as everyone first has to react to the alien walking around with the Doctor before we get on with things. It could be interesting for half a season, but after that it would just get in the way.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Back to Three - Carnival of Monsters

Yes, we are back with Pertwee. As much as I’m enjoying Baker and Leela, and had intended to stick with her for her entire run, I hit a bit of a hitch. See I’m way ahead on my audio listening. I’ve actually nearly finished Charley’s time with Six, nevermind Eight, and one of the last audios in that series has connections to “Frontier in Space”.

So in order to keep Charley on track, I’m derailing Leela. Besides Weng Chiang was not only the end of that particular season, but the end of Hinchcliffe’s time as Producer. I’d already earmarked it as point of a potential Doctor switch before I settled on my schedule. With the added audio wrinkle, well, on with Pertwee!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

The End is in Sight - More Audio Trips with Eight

We're closing in on the end of this season with Eight, which also sees Charley and C'rizz depart the TARDIS. Or at least this one anyway. This week we cover the penultimate three episodes before we hit those departures. So hopefully we get a properly look at C'rizz's weird abilities that are starting to become a bit murky.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Casual British Racism - The Talons of Weng Chiang

The Talons of Weng Chiang is one of those big named serials that I've been looking forward to for a long time. Not only is it generally held up as one of the best, Big Finish hang a lot off of it, including Jago and Litefoot getting their own long running series.

It’s, erm, it’s a bit racist.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Journeying with Eight - Two More Big Finish

Once again into the full swing of an audio season with Eight, we have two adventures with C'rizz and Charley as we see what they get up to in the normal universe. Only the first one, we kind of don't.

Scaredy Cat
Now we get to the standard Who fare of travelling around the universe visiting nice places and things inevitably going tits up. Here we have a visit to a garden world to show C'rizz something nice, and discover a scientific research lab on there that shouldn't.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Agatha Christie IN SPACE! - The Robots of Death

Leela's second outing, The Robots of Death is one of those highly regarded episodes. But I'm not overly sure why.

Don't get me wrong. It's good. But it's not amazing. There's not much more to it than robots reprogrammed to kill.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Return to the Daleks - Terror Firma

And now we also return to the Eighth Doctor as he returns to the proper universe, and Big Finish do the only thing you can do to welcome back the Doctor. The same thing RTD did. You bring out the Daleks.

They have also decided to address a rather large elephant that has been in the room for seventeen years. Just how exactly are the Daleks about after Skaro was blown up in Remembrance of the Daleks?

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Doctor Makes Mistakes - The Face of Evil

Again we reach Tom Baker. Despite that he's the Doctor that's got the most TV appearances, he's one of the two that I've spent the least time with. Mainly due to my reticence since I disliked Genesis of the Daleks which is meant to be one of his best. However, this means there's a lot of material here that Big Finish rely on that I haven't gone near.

We've already hit one of these in a major way. Leela. When I listened to Zagreus I had my first meeting with this companion, and it meant nothing. So I figured this Who run through would entail a big stop off with Four, like last year and Three. What better place to do that with Leela's hoping on board the TARDIS?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Back to the Cyber War - Kingdom of Silver/Keepsake

I decided to stay with 7 a little longer because he really is the most hard done by of all the Doctors for me. Besides, these two audios (released as one serial) form a sequel to The Sword of Orion. After Cyberman you would have thought I'd learned my lesson, but I keep hoping that there's a sequel that does that fantastic serial justice. That it's written by Cyberman 2 writer James Swallow gives me some hope.

Monday, April 06, 2015

In The Navy - The Sea Devils

As what is basically the sequel to The Silurians I expected so much more from The Sea Devils instead it's the Master's rather devious return to the show after getting captured at the end of The Daemons. Of course we just read “The Face of the Enemy” so it's a slightly different spin here.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Doctor Who without the Doctor - The Face of the Enemy

Again we divert from the usual audio fare to dive into written Who. Why? Because this is Pertwee-era without Pertwee. The Face of the Enemy is also pretty highly regarded, and since it takes place at the same time as The Curse of Peladon I figured it was the perfect opportunity.

Besides, a look at ancillary characters without the Doctor about and see how they cope in a situation that greatly needs him sounds right up my street.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Penis Shaped Alien isn't the Monster? - Curse of Peladon

So after two seasons of Earth/UNIT based stories, we're just giving up on them? Not that I mind, but I expected some decent to address it. At least Day of the Daleks excused it's time travel with it being Dalek technology. Here we just have the Doctor announcing the TARDIS is repaired. It seems a little anti-climatic.

Fair enough, at the end we're told that it was likely the Time Lords doing, but it comes across as bolted on. Like a traditional Doctor Who script was written and at the end someone realised they had to explain how Jo and the Doctor are here.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Story of an Empire - the Drashani Empire trilogy

With eight episodes done and the Doctor and Charley, along with C'rizz, now back in the proper dimension it felt like the perfect end of season. Which also allowed me to take a break from them. Now I've been doing a bit of planning for the blog, and once again it looks like Doctors 5, 6 and 7 are going to be hard done by before 12 comes back for his second season. So I took this season break as an opportunity to dip my toes into their respective audios.

Long time readers will know I've had mixed success with this. Big Finish continuity is all over the shop because they're producing regular material for five Doctors all at once. With the first three getting the odd look in with spin-off series too. But I found a trilogy that was perfect.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Today is Gonna be the Day - Day of the Daleks

After my last run with Pertwee, I wasn't looking forward to his return. I made no apologies for the fact that I've enjoyed his stint the least so far. However, we did end on the high note of The Mind of Evil so I wasn't writing him totally off. Hopefully the return of the Daleks is a good sign too.

The plot makes a nice point of the problems of time travel, which is pretty surprising for Classic Who. In my dealings so far I've got the impression that it was practically ignored. Of the serials I've watched so far I can only think of City of Death that pulls something similar. Mostly time travel is a means to an end, a way of getting the Doctor to that particular story. Here, it's front and centre. Which might be one of the reasons it's so good.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Zoe gets all high and mighty, again - The Wheel of Ice

Now for something completely different. Rather than dive into Pertwee I decided to try a little newness. I got The Wheel of Ice ages ago, and since Troughton's audios are few and far between and obviously not full cast, I decided to throw it in here.

For the 50th Anniversary, BBC Books decided to offer some big time sci-fi writers their chance to write Doctor Who. It's pretty rare that publishers bother with anything like that, probably because of money, and I figured it was a good way of diving into the world of Who Lit. After all, how much continuity are these guys going to throw in? They're likely to cater to the wider audience their name recognition garners. The Wheel of Ice is Stephen Baxter's contribution. While I've not read any of his own novels, I have read The Long Earth, a collaboration he did with Terry Pratchett and I loved it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Doctor Has A Foam Party - The Seeds of Death

After their debut, I wasn't overly enthused about another Ice Warrior outing, but I figured skipping it was a bad idea because The Curse of Peladon is also in this set. Damn I glad I did, because The Seeds of Death is pretty epic.

Two episodes in and we're dealing with T-Mat being down and the Ice Warriors invaded the moon base that co-ordinates it all, but with no real reason given to the audience. Back on Earth the Doctor has the idea of pulling a viable space program out of mothballs to go see what's happening. The titular seeds aren't even mentioned yet. It adds a level of mystery to the proceedings that I hadn't realised I was missing.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Home Time - The Next Life

Where Caerdroia is the 'let's get the TARDIS back then we can maybe deal with the Divergents' but had them get away while the Doctor was so focused on his prized possession. It ends with our three protagonist's deciding to go have some fun in the TARDIS while the Doctor prepares himself for the final confrontation. “The Next Life” picks it up with that confrontation about to happen. Which in some ways is a shame.

Monday, March 09, 2015

You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand! - The Krotons

After a quick stop at Victoria-era Troughton, I decided that wasn't enough so popped along for the last two Zoes on my recommended list. The first is The Krotons. I'll admit I didn't have high hopes for this one. The title sounds like one of those serials that's best forgotten due to dodgy aliens.

Well, I was wrong.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

It's all gone a bit Welsh - Caerdroia

The start of this is fantastic, finally giving some real feeling to the Divergent Universe storyline, and retrospectively making a few of the others fit slightly better, especially The Last with the new explanation of the Interzone.

It seems the Doctor's had just enough of all this 'experimentation' that's been going on and finally takes on the Kro'ka and starts an endgame that takes him to the Divergents' homeworld. What this means is that the sub-standard audios we've had to put up with are over and things kick off again.

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Cracks Start to Show - The Ice Warriors

I think the Ice Warriors are the only iconic monsters I've not yet met in Classic Who. While I've not seen any of the Sontarans major arcs yet, they were in The Two Doctors so I'm claiming that done.

This run through I'm actually watching three of their four original serials. Four serials? Is that all?How did the Ice Warriors become so iconic. I know they're B-List icons, maybe even C, but they're not Ogdons or Krotons. People outside of the fanbase have heard of them. Yet their design is terrible.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Even More Divergent Universe

Ooops. Couple of days late. Sorry about that. Just started a new job and getting used to the new schedule.

Anyway. we starting to close in on the end of this Divergent Universe storyline, and I'm pretty sure that's a good thing. Big Finish had an interesting idea, taking the Time Lord to a place with no time, but it's not lived up to it, nor the promise of what we saw of this place in Zagreus either.

With Faith Stealer things have started to shift away from the eighties feel, but only just. The Doctor, Charley and C'rizz hit a zone where faith is treated as a commodity, and arguing religions are treated like advertisements rather than the usual excuse for a good war. So what happens when a zealot enters the fray?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Where we meet another Time Lord. Only we don't. - The Time Meddler

This is an important moment in the show. The Time Meddler is the first time we ever meet another member of the Doctor's race.

Except it's not that simple. The Monk is still not a Time Lord, never mind being from Gallifrey. It's another four years before anyone even utters one of those words. We get an acknowledgement that he’s a time traveller, and a very different one to the Doctor. But that's it.

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.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Being Chased Through Time and Space - The Chase

After their resounding defeat during the Invasion of Earth, the Daleks have invented a time machine, and their first task is to find the Doctor and kill him for what he's done to them previously. It's an utterly fantastic idea.

The execution doesn't quite live up to it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Creed of the Kromon, and some thoughts on Audio

My worries for UNIT style trappings were quickly put to rest as we get into the second adventure of Charley and the Doctor being stuck on this new world. To be honest they weren't that strong. The planet not being Earth made me think it was always going to be something a bit different. The only aspect they have in common in we're on one planet.

Instead we get something resembling another era of science fiction. The like of Flash Gordon and John Carter of Mars. Strangers traversing a completely alien landscape, coming across new and strange lands with each step. It's basically the same as landing on a new planet in the TARDIS every week, only here we're accepting that walking along and leaving France and heading into Germany means a different adventure.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Watching Everything Burn - The Romans

The Romans
This is a bit of an odd moment. “The Rescue” ended with promise of adventure for Vicki, but we find the TARDIS crew on holiday in Ancient Roman times. It makes sense. They've just been through the Dalek Invasion, and upon finding yourself in the Italian countryside you'd absolutely take the chance to put your feet up. Obviously Vicki's bored.

It also happens that we join them as the Doctor's inquisitive nature kicks in, so they bugger off to Rome just in time for Nero to start getting some pyromanic thoughts in his head. This should be a barrel of laughs...

Friday, February 06, 2015

Memento Mori - Schezro

We kick Season 2 of Big Finish's Eighth Doctor adventures with what might just be the most trippiest serial ever, and also the most suited to audio. Taking place almost immediately after the end of “Zagreus” we find the Doctor and Charlie in a new dimension, and it's not what you expect.

The Doctor's a jibbering mess, Charley's in-charge, but the Doctor ignores her because he left her in their original dimension. Oh, and that's pretty much it. Even the TARDIS disappears pretty quickly.

Monday, February 02, 2015

After A New Doctor, We Have A New Companion – The Rescue

For me this is the week after “Death in Heaven” and I can finally get to go back to Hartnell, something I've wanted to do before Capaldi debuted.

We have our first companion change. Even today that sounds quite noteworthy, but this one is possibly one of the biggest things to happen to Who. This is the point where the producers decided that the show was bigger than the actors. If one of the travelling companions wants to leave, well off you pop. We'll just replace you. That thinking even stretches to the Doctor in a few years when Hartnell's illness got to the stage where he really couldn't play him anymore.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Once More into the Pepper Pot Breach - Dalek Empire 2

The second series takes the questionable decision of telling the story through flashbacks, I think possibly setting up Dalek Empire 3. But further than that it decides to go for flashbacks within flashbacks at quite a steady procession. It even has the audacity to have the overall framing so far in the future that they get the details of Dalek Empire 1 wrong as they view history.

However, it's probably for the better, because it allows the series to set up some rather nifty cliffhangers, suspense and mystery to proceedings because if it had just carried on as normal it would have been rather so-so, one of the problems Cyberman 1 would suffer greatly from. Though Part 4 does commit the second greatest crime of cliffhangers by not addressing Part 3's until 20 minutes in, mostly spending its time explaining the framing story and setting up “Dalek Empire 3”.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Obey the Daleks! - Dalek Empire

During Capaldi's first season I had a wedding to attend, which also meant two 8-10 hour train journeys. My classic tactic for this year with travel was to push on with Who Audio, but that wasn't really an option, as I'd promised myself I'd stay away from other Doctors until we'd finish the Twelfth's Doctors first tour of duty. So, despite how much Cyberman had put me off the Big Finish mini-series, I decided drag out Dalek Empire, being that it'd take up nearly five hours of my trip.

Initially it seems to be looking at how the 'Dalek Invasion of Earth' took place. Which is particularly obvious thanks to the title of part one being 'Invasion of the Daleks'. It would be quite a clever move too, as we know the Daleks reached Earth, but everything else about that invasion is a complete mystery. However, it is in a totally different timezone, the 42nd century to be exact, but Big Finish do seem to be addressing the fact that 'Dalek Invasion of Earth', the second ever Dalek serial, has the evil pepper pots acting in a very different manner than we saw after that.

There's liberal use of robomen, a process the Daleks didn't bother with for years after 'Invasion' until Moffat brought back the idea for humanised Dalek infiltrators. There's the forced labour camps, which modern day Daleks wouldn't bother with because the can just exterminate.
In many way it's a shame that it doesn't just embrace the Dalek invasion we saw the First Doctor deal with. After all, he only stopped one operation on Earth, there's got to be a lot more to that story.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Big Finale, after the other Big Explosive entry - Zagreus

Zagreus is... is not what I expected. After the epic that was “Sirens of Time” that started Big Finish, I expected their 50th audio drama celebration to match. Especially as they were now bringing in McGann so we had Doctors Five through Eight all together.

Except we don't. We have Eight and the TARDIS mad with Anti-Time power, calling themselves Zagreus with Charley somehow meant to stop them. So the TARDIS guides her, around time and space trying to understand the mystery of the name, with a rather interesting way of presenting those histories.

On one level it's a mid-season episode. A fun diversion taking place almost entirely in the TARDIS, dealing with the repercussions of the explosive finale of “Neverland”, and bathing in Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland.

But at the same time the whole thing is fan-wank at its height. Or it's a celebration of everything Who. Your Mileage might vary on that one.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Big Finale? - Neverland

When I talk about the Eighth Doctor, half the time I end up talking about the gap between Classic and New Who. He's the obvious point for that conversation. He's the nebulous Doctor. He exists as part of neither side, having popped up the first time they attempted a relaunch halfway between the two series. In fact what Big Finish as a whole represents is the middle ground, being the one of the main torch bearers during The Wilderness Years.

Usually when I do bring up the gap and audios I tend to talk about how much like New Who the audios were, years before RTD gave us the Ninth Doctor. Or Classic Who... maybe I haven't on that one, but something like 'Whispers of Terror' is very Classic Who.

Neverland is very much the embodiment of both.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Even more Daleks - Time of the Daleks

We're back with the Eighth Doctor as he and Charley arrive in the late-2050s as the Doctor investigates why Charley has no idea who Shakespeare is and discovers an annoying temporal anomaly. And Daleks.

Shakespeare is one of those historical people that seems so obvious for Doctor Who to visit. Which is probably why the show avoided it until the Tenth Doctor and Martha. Yet this one does a much better job because it plays up the tropes of Shakespeare so much more, and is more about a performance than the writer, and only plays that card after it's well and truly built up.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Save the Daleks! - The Mutant Phase

Despite listening to the first two Dalek entries relatively quickly I've been putting “The Mutant Phase” off as long as possible. Not because of Davidson. After I did his closing three stories I felt I could press on with his audio adventures. The reason for the hold up has been his companion. Nyssa is one of those that I have no knowledge of. I've only seen her in “Earthshock”, which she might as well not have been in. I was trying to hold out till I watched the Four/Five regeneration trilogy, and two more on my list that would have taken me up to “Earthshock”.

But I have one goal before Capaldi begins (just to date this). Reach “Zagreus”, which I'm treating as the end of McGann season 1. To do that means listening to “Time of the Daleks”, which I've seen lumped in with “The Genocide Machine”, “The Apocalypse Element” and “The Mutant Phase” as Dalek Empire Season 0.

I'm not entirely sure how relevant that is, except they seem to be Big Finish's first Dalek stories for each Doctor. I first noted that “The Apocalypse Element” had barely anything to do with “The Genocide Machine” except its antagonists, and the same is true of “The Mutant Phase”. I figured it may have been building to something with the epic ending of “The Apocalypse Element”, but “The Mutant Phase” does something else entirely.

Monday, January 05, 2015

A couple of trips with Eight - More Big Finish

Change of tact for this week. Quick review of two different audio serials. One that didn't grab me, and the other that was actually quick itself.

Embrace the Darkness

It's a shame then that after the epicness of “Seasons of Fear”, “Embrace the Darkness” ignores all of that and gives us a mediocre base under siege story.

It does have a decent twist that raises the serial up a couple of notches, but overall this is an immensely missable entry into the Eighth Doctor's adventures. Let's get back to the many mysteries of Charley, or even that trial, or whatever it was, that the Doctor seemed to be involved in.

Not that I have anything against Base Under Seige stories. Doctor Who survives on Base Under Siege, and the Troughton era thrived on them, but this one killed all momentum from the previous serial.

Living Legend

This wasn't on my list of McGann to listen to. It was originally a free giveaway on the Doctor Who Magazine, so entirely skippable. Except for their fifteenth birthday Big Finish have made it free on their site for ever more. Just in time for me to listen to it in the right place.

Of course, “Living Legend” is entirely skippable, and considering my preoccupation with Charley's big storyline, that should be a death knoll for me. But it is fun. I think that's what makes it stand out more than 'Embrace the Darkness'.

If the previous one had come earlier in the run, it's complete disregard of the ongoing plot would have not been as noticeable, and the scariness of the aliens would have shone a little a more. Here, despite it being totally throwaway, the fun McGann and India Fisher are having manage to make it worthwhile. It's only half an hour, but that means the joke actually works, instead of it outstaying it's welcome. I moaned during “Cyberman” that the two mini-series are stretched out, and I think that's part of the problem with “Embrace the Darkness”. It tries to be too long to try and become the standard length of a Who serial.

“Living Legend” on the other hand is a quick shot of fun, and because of that it totally works and does the job it set out to do.