Friday, 3 June 2011

The Complete Eighth Doctor Main Range (so far)

Storm Warning: A sublime re-introduction of the 8th Doctor and a wholly welcome step in a brand new direction for Big Finish. It feels like everything has been thrown at this production to make it as memorable as possible and we have a strong script with some great set pieces, an astonishingly good musical score, sound effects that convince you that you are experiencing the story and some wonderfully memorable performances. Storm Warning sees Paul McGann and India Fisher grab the parts of the Doctor and Charley and milk them for all the energy they are worth and from this story alone it is clear that this is going to be a partnership well worth following. I found the much criticised third episode quite enjoyable but I have to concur that it is the weakest of the four but the final episode that sees the Doctor stand up for established history and yet break the rules so cavalierly is one of the strongest conclusions to any story so far. Full marks to Gareth Thomas for his unforgettable Lord Tamworth: 9/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/03/storm-warning-written-by-alan-barnes.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/16-Doctor-Who-Storm-Warning

Sword of Orion: Anyone who has read the rest of this review must have come to the right conclusion by now…I absolutely loved this one! Just kidding! Easily the most painful story to endure to this point and probably for a long time to come, this would have made a particularly soulless four parter on the telly. It is all atmosphere and no intelligence, a terribly dull linear storyline that lacks incident, characters with any personality or real drama. This is my reaction two days after listening to the story…be thankful I didn’t write this up afterwards because my language would be a lot more colourful. What bothers me is that Big Finish and Nick Briggs can clearly do a lot better than this and recycling traditional turds like this story is unacceptable when the same production company and writer offered us The Mutant Phase just two stories earlier. It is a huge black mark on the 8th Doctor line as well which began so promisingly with Storm Warning but ground to a halt with this plodder. It feels like one step forwards and two steps backwards, they had better offer up something pretty damn special to make me forget about this one: 1/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/03/sword-of-orion-written-and-directed-by.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/17-Doctor-Who-Sword-of-Orion

The Stones of Venice: Controversially this might be my all time favourite Big Finish. It’s not the most intelligently written or the most innovative, it doesn’t have a huge mission statement and it doesn’t once threaten to become an exciting story. The script is captivating all the same, full of delicious dialogue, magic, love and wonder and perfectly taking me back to one of the best weeks of my life spent in Venice. The Doctor and Charley are perfect for this story and have their own adventures, wrapping themselves up in the seductive atmosphere of the place and enjoying some of their best ever dialogue. This is a world of secret cults, lost love and revolutionaries hiding under the surface, a story where the conclusion sees lovers sacrificing themselves so they can be together and a City reborn. I could listen to this one over and over. How on Earth did Tom Baker say no? What a nutter: 10/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/03/stones-of-venice-by-paul-magrs-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/18-Doctor-Who-The-Stones-of-Venice

Minuet in Hell: Not what I was expecting at all, Minuet in Hell was beset with problems from the outset and it is one of the few audios where it shows. The script is overlong and lacking in incident, it has some interesting ideas but it never exploits them, it introduces some spectacularly dull characters and its dialogue lacks any sparkle. The direction and performances are lacking too, the regulars are sidelined and uncharismatic and the guest artists fail to bring their characters to life. I found it a real struggle to get through this story because I didn’t care about what was going on or who was involved. I just wanted the 8th Doctor to get his memory back and have a jolly adventure with the Brigadier but I guess we are going to have to wait for another time for that. A flat end to McGann’s first season and it leaves me pessimistic for future appearances: 3/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/04/minuet-in-hell-by-alan-w-lear-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/19-Doctor-Who-Minuet-in-Hell

Invaders from Mars: I am starting to wonder if I used to be a superficial youth (despite always thinking the contrary as all youths do!) as I used to find this story as boring as sin but in hindsight this is one of the better McGann audios with an infectious sense of fun and lots of marvellous and imaginative ideas. Using the real War of the Worlds Martian scare to excellent effect and giving Paul McGann to take centre stage and wow his audience, Mark Gatiss proves to be the perfect choice to kick of the second season of 8th Doctor Audios. The plotting is watertight and the characters manage to walk that fine line between realism and melodrama with Cosmo Devine taking the place as the campest Nazi sympathiser of all time. India Fisher is sidelined completely but that just makes way for some other fantastic performances and a general feeling of old school Doctor Who produced with real verve. A very strong start: 8/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/06/invaders-from-mars-written-and-directed.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/28-Doctor-Who-Invaders-from-Mars

The Chimes of Midnight: As good as you have heard and then some, The Chimes of Midnight is one of those very rare Doctor Who stories that get everything right and even when you are told about how brilliant it is it still manages to surprise you. With peerless performances, a script that constantly plays with your mind and leaves you breathlessly emotional at the climax, direction that couldn’t be bettered and more clever concepts than both series of Sapphire and Steel I can’t think of a more accomplished piece of time twisting drama. Paul McGann is given more opportunities to prove just how right he was for the part and India Fisher finally comes out of her shell and rocks Charley up into the higher ranks of the companions. Like The One Doctor I have heard this story more times than it is probably sane to admit and I still find it as thrilling as I did on my first experience. This was a really good time to be a fan of Big Finish where they were producing some of the finest Doctor Who we had been privileged to enjoy: 10/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/06/chimes-of-midnight-written-by-rob.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/29-Doctor-Who-The-Chimes-of-Midnight

Season of Fear: For content and interest, this is one of the most involved Doctor Who stories but it is a little too fractured to be an all conquering classic. Seasons of Fear tells a more detailed, less emotional version of the Girl in the Fireplace with the Doctor walking through Sebastian Grayle’s long life and outfoxing him at every turn. It breaks the curse of Doctor Who quest stories by being rather good and offering up a number of fun locations and lots of clever ideas. Paul McGann and India Fisher have an effortless chemistry at this stage in their partnership and are a joy to listen to together. The second eighth Doctor season is proceeding with real drama and drive with lots of hints that something is not at all right with time and the Doctor made a terrible choice in saving Charley’s life. Extra points for the fabulous return of the Nimon and a script that works itself into knots to keep us entertained: 8/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/06/season-of-fear-written-by-paul-cornell.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/30-Doctor-Who-Seasons-of-Fear

Embrace the Darkness: Embrace the Darkness is a really odd beast. It doesn’t have the content to fill four episodes and would have worked much better as one of McGann’s 45 minute episodes and it is especially annoying that after waiting for a climatic ending Briggs reveals that the entire story hinges on the fact that there was no danger at all. On the other hand the story is a wonderfully visual piece with some stunning direction and a cracking first episode that plants you right into the story with some really scary set pieces. Characterisation is a slave to the atmosphere so the secondary characters inconsistently shift from the best of friends to embittered colleagues. Orlenza in particular goes from being sarcastic and xenophobic to sensitive and caring in the blink of an eye (haha). Embrace the Darkness is like the film Avatar, whilst you are experiencing the story it is attention grabbing but half an hour after you have turned it off you can’t remember a thing about it: 5/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/07/embrace-darkness-written-and-directed.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/31-Doctor-Who-Embrace-the-Darkness

Time of the Daleks: Every now and again Justin Richard throws every idea he has into the pot and mixes it up and sees how it goes down. Time Zero and Sometime Never…have a similar cold and intelligent feel as Time and the Daleks but the complicated plotting and wealth of ideas are a lot easier to digest on paper where you have time to understand them rather than on audio which charges on even when you are still trying fathom out what happened in episode one! I think there is far too much cleverness and not enough characterisation happening in this story and it is to the credit of the director that it still manages to be vaguely entertaining even when its utterly incomprehensible. The Doctor and Charley are utterly wasted and none of the guest characters really shine…the best thing you can say about this story is that it is delicious to have the Daleks quoting Shakespeare. Although I am a huge fan of Shakespeare I don’t think this scenario is even remotely feasible, he is given a gravity and level of importance that is clearly the writer’s feelings rather than something that comes naturally from the storytelling. When the Doctor gushes about the playwright, he is merely a Mary Sue for Richards: 4/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/07/time-of-daleks-written-by-justin.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/32-Doctor-Who-The-Time-of-the-Daleks

Neverland: What else can I say that hasn’t been said above? This is superb climax to McGann’s second season, brilliantly dovetailing all of the hints that have been whispered throughout the year and bringing the paradox of Charley’s survival to a dramatic climax. I can’t remember a companion ever being given this much focus and India Fisher holds the story together beautifully, both as Charley and Sentris. Gary Russell has assembled a fantastic cast and each them bring something special to the story and his direction is nothing short of masterful throughout. Neverland is a story with a wealth of mind-expanding ideas at its disposal but whilst it is thrilling you with its possibility it never forgets to have a heart and the touching scenes between the Doctor and Charley as they realise their partnership may be coming to an end provide the icing on the cake. Alan Barnes has written a thrilling script and it is joyously brought to life by all concerned. Triumphant: 10/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/07/neverland-written-by-alan-barnes-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/33-Doctor-Who-Neverland

Zagreus: It’s not very good, is it? Zagreus fails on just about every level you can imagine, the script is dull, unintelligible, bloated fit to burst with extraneous material, the pace is languid to the point of standing still for hours, the characterisation hurts like a rotting tooth, the ideas are wasted and continuity ejaculates around you like an uncontrollable stream of fanwank. This is the anniversary story, it should be reminding me why Doctor Who is the greatest television/audio/book series ever made and instead it had the reverse effect, it left me wanting to turn my back away from the series and take a rest from it. This is what happens when you try and please your fans too much, JNT did it, so did Russell T Davies and Gary Russell has now joined the elite. There is nobody with a critical eye watching this spiral out of control, what is needed is a firm script editor who can say enough is enough. The biggest blow to Big Finish’s reputation yet: 1/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/09/zagreus-written-by-alan-barnes-and-gary.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/50-Doctor-Who-Zagreus

Scherzo: How can you sum up Scherzo with any degree of eloquence? It defies all the standard rules of examination. A two hander between the Doctor and Charley set entirely in a corridor at the edge of a new universe. Even as I write that sentence I wonder how the creators thought even Rob Shearman could make something of that pitch. That the story of Scherzo is so fascinating and unsettling rockets the talents Shearman and the guys at ERS who assembled this piece. The sound creature is a thrilling new life form and its slow evolution and dependence on inflection and meaning provides some wonderful moments. As an audio experience this as experimental and art house as they come, defying all the rules of storytelling and atmospherics. What a shame then that our only two visitors to this strange and disquieting universe are the eighth Doctor and Charley, decadently self-piteous and unsympathetic. Adding C’rizz to this mix chills me to the bone. This story deserves more points for its willingness to take astonishing risks and win but the range is being poisoned by its regulars: 7/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/09/scherzo-written-by-rob-shearman-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/52-Doctor-Who-Scherzo

The Creed of the Kromon: Possibly the dullest Doctor Who story ever produced with very little in the way of drama, spectacle, imagination or even a narrative. The best scene by a million miles is the first one, which just shows you how exciting this story gets. The Kromon failed to grab me in any way, squeaky voiced politicians giving us no reason to care what happens to them, least of all have to study their tedious culture. The Doctor and Charley are one-dimensional non-entities and McGann and Fisher seem to have given up even trying to care and new boy C’rizz has perhaps the worst companion introduction, failing to be either interesting or sympathetic. A dreary, talky, benumbing experience, The Creed of the Kromon grinds the Divergent Universe arc to a halt and exposes just how moribund this period of the eighth Doctor’s life is: 2/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/09/creed-of-kromon-written-by-philip.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/53-Doctor-Who-The-Creed-of-the-Kromon

Title Censored: This review has been removed for the good of the public

Full Review Secretly Smuggled here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/09/they-sit-in-silence.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/54-Doctor-Who-The-Natural-History-of-Fear

The Twilight Kingdom: Really good and really bad stories are both a joy to listen to for very different reasons. The worst stories are the ambivalent ones where the writing it okay, the production is okay, the music is okay but nothing stands out for good or for ill. The Twilight Kingdom is one such story and in its own bland, forgettable way it is even more torturous than Creed of the Kromon, which you could at least feel something about, even it is pure revulsion. The Doctor needs to lighten up, Charley needs some serious personality surgery and C’rizz needs to get a personality. The three of them front this achingly dreary tale about a living city and a rebel cause that don’t even realise they aren’t actually fighting for anything. I don’t care how bad people think the monthly series is now, the third McGann year is the nadir of Big Finish’s output and I can’t imagine it ever getting worse than this: 2/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/10/twilight-kingdom-written-by-will.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/55-Doctor-Who-The-Twilight-Kingdom

Faith Stealer: Faith Stealer is a nice rest for the Doctor, Charley and C’rizz, extended therapy in an imaginatively bizarre setting. It is perfectly entertaining throughout without ever threatening to be gripping, its precisely the sort of fun adventure the Divergent Universe desperately needed. As a discourse on religion it has some wonderfully dry and insane concepts and interesting things to say about the hypocrisy of alternative faiths. It pleasingly explores a diversity of faiths and the sense of community that religion can bring which also condemning the dangers of blind faith in a refreshingly comic fashion. This story wont change your world but its is a little ray of sunshine in this arc: 8/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/11/faith-stealer-written-by-graham-duff.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/61-Doctor-Who-Faith-Stealer

The Last: The Last features a superb script which takes real risks and a production which goes a long way to selling its oppressive, bleak atmosphere. It is a fascinating set up with plenty of juicy dramatic opportunities, featuring some of the strongest writing seen for Charley and C'rizz yet. Excelsior is the most fabulously bitchy and vainglorious villainess, she's Lady Adastra, the Rani and Helen A all rolled into one and she makes a good story a great one with her vicious vanity and unpredictable violence. My biggest complaint is the performances of McGann and Fisher who can make something like Neverland come alive beautifully and yet give performances here at odds with the material and end up blunting it. It tells you something of the strength of the writing and direction that the duff performances of two of the regulars do not come anywhere near unbalancing this powerful story: 8/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/11/last-written-by-gary-hopkins-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/62-Doctor-Who-The-Last

Caerdroia: Okay I’ve said it three times already but…can’t Lloyd Rose writer every story? Or at least characterise them? It is shocking to think that a story in which McGann, Fisher and Westmaas carry 90% of the material set inside the Divergent Universe could be this amusing. Where Caerdroia lacks a plot it grabs your attention with plenty of thoughtful dialogue, fun characterisation, wonderfully surreal moments and a general sense of things pushing on in the right direction. The triplet Doctors with their distinct personalities are inspired and provide the story with its best laughs and most considerate moments. The production itself feels fresh, bouncy and despite an inordinate amount of running around in circles never seems to stand still or stagnate. The return of the TARDIS is by far the most exciting moment yet in this arc, if depriving the Doctor of his ship turned him into something wicked and flat then returning his one true love sees his character finally come back to life. All in all a very promising shove towards this arcs conclusion and a fascinating story in its own right: 8/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/11/caerdroia-written-by-lloyd-rose-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/63-Doctor-Who-Caerdroia

The Next Life: Far better than I was expecting but not as good as it could have been, The Next Life ends the Divergent Universe on a reasonably entertaining but ultimately unfulfilling resolution. On the one hand it is an atmospheric production with lush soundscapes, lovely music and some fantastic performances. The characterisation of the regulars genuinely rocks with the Doctor looser than he has been for ages, Charley gaining some healthy development and C’rizz finally sharing his backstory! On the other hand there is no pace to the story, the plotting is non-existent and there is a painful lack of incident. The story could happily be half the length without losing any of its developments or resolution. And yet for all my complaints even when The Next Life is indulging in ridiculous beetle eating padding it is oddly quite fun to listen to. Barnes and Russell have learnt some lesson from Zagreus, giving the material some meaning and bounce. Does it conclude this two-season arc satisfactorily? Not in the slightest, its explanations are confused and its revelations pretty bland. Does it provide a good time? On the whole yes. It’s a hard one to judge but considering I managed to race through the last four parts in one go after two weeks of avoiding them I think I’m inclined to lenient: 7/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2010/11/next-life-written-by-alan-barnes-gary.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/64-Doctor-Who-The-Next-Life

Terror Firma: Less of a well structured, coherent story and more of a collection of fantastic ideas, Terror Firma is a cluttered, brilliant, insane mess. It’s the polar opposite of The Council of Nicaea, which told a simple story well; Joe Lidster’s drama is undisciplined throughout but raging with dark imagination. The revelation about Gemma and Samson is one of the ultimate Big Finish surprises and beats at the heart of this story but it’s not quite strong enough to ignore the unfinished, schizophrenic characterisation of both the Doctor and Davros. They both have terrific, thoughtful moments and their relationship is given a thorough once over (with some nice innovations) but the story just sort of fizzles out, forgetting the Doctor’s guilt or that he wants to kill Davros and forgetting that Davros did all of this to hurt him. Add points for bringing all these points up but minus more for failing to bring them to any kind of conclusion. There are lots of crazy and wonderful ideas whizzing about and you will be entertained throughout but I definitely feel Terror Firma needed one more revision to tighten up its narrative. Flawed but fascinating: 8/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/01/terror-firma-written-by-joe-lidster-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/72-Doctor-Who-Terror-Firma

Scaredy Cat: This is the first time a story has been so monotonous I was left completely apathetic by the experience and found it a chore to write the review. At 75 minutes long this should be a snazzy, fast paced science fiction thriller but instead all we get is an anonymous bunch of characters (we literally know nothing about them) rehashing the plot of The Twilight Kingdom (except with even more stagnant dialogue). It’s further proof that with a script that is lacking, Charley and C’rizz (and their performers) lack the ability to bring some life to the story (in the way Evelyn or Lucie would). Paul McGann sounds like he has been hypnotised and delivers his dialogue in such a banausic fashion there is no doubt he is as bored as we are. Scaredy Cat leaves no impression on me whatsoever except I wasted a sunny morning inside listening to it. It worries me that Big Finish’s lows are so bad at this point and so frequent: 2/10

Full Review here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/02/scaredy-cat-written-by-will-schindler.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/75-Doctor-Who-Scaredy-Cat

Other Lives: I have given up trying to guess what the eighth Doctor adventures will serve up next. Since we have left the Divergent Universe we have gone from psychological thriller to eco blandness and now a cheeky Dickensian drama! Despite my complaints about the regulars since Faith Stealer there has only been (for me) one duffer and the stories themselves have been pretty consistent and entertaining. Other Lives ditches its plot (does it even have one) in favour of character and gives each of the regulars a great new relationship, be it with desperate wife Georgina, mischievous old rogue Wellington or the twisted and exploitative Crackles. So whilst nothing of consequence really happens the story display local colour in abundance and the dialogue is frequently amusing. Frankly it is wonderful to have the Doctor, Charley and C’rizz let their hair down for a bit (well maybe not C’rizz who is chained up and humiliated) and the relaxed pace really leaves them open for some fine development. Extra points for the scene where Charley is mistaken for a hooker: 8/10

Full Review Here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/02/other-lives-written-by-gary-hopkins-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/77-Doctor-Who-Other-Lives

Time Works: Clever, lyrical storytelling with a truly haunting first episode. There are moments of narration throughout that give this coldly rendered story a fairytale quality. Of all the Big Finish writers Steve Lyons always uses the medium to take a clever idea and explore it in the world of words and this is a glorious Sapphire and Steel-esque depiction of a world of controlled by time with a unique temporal language and a narrative that can jump and freeze between a tick and a tock. The regulars are good but not great, the fact that they are pleasing to listen to at all is about as good as it gets with this team at this point so kudos for that. Full of exciting imagery and furnished with a classical score, Time Works has an atmosphere all of its own and should be celebrated for its uniqueness. I really like it: 8/10

Full Review Here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/03/time-works-written-by-steve-lyons-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/80-Doctor-Who-Time-Works

Something Inside: As bland as watching magnolia paint drying, Something Inside is the most vacuous audio adventure I have heard in a long time. Trevor Baxendale needs a big slap around the chops for writing an adventure that lacks even a basic narrative or any danger especially when we know he is capable of so much more. The move Cube is a claustrophobic and clever movie that uses its lack of resources as an excuse to create an stifling atmosphere – Something Inside is the antithesis of that intense little classic, a predictable, clich├ęd, dumbed down run-around that fails to characterise even its regulars let alone the miscast vacant guest characters. I don’t understand the point of setting this story within a prison if you aren’t going to create a bit of atmosphere; the characters literally walk around the corridors throughout the entire story and fail to encounter anything that makes escaping a task. Compiling the problems is a repetitive and atmosphere destroying musical score and a lack of sound effects, Something Inside drags interminably at over two insomnia inducing hours: 2/10

Full Review Here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/03/something-inside-written-by-trevor.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/83-Doctor-Who-Something-Inside

Memory Lane: Welcome to Big Finish Eddie Robson! Any writer who can take the bottom of the barrel combination of the eighth Doctor, Charley and C’rizz and whip up a brew this intoxicating gets my vote! His handling of both the Doctor and Charley are masterful and C’rizz is not far behind and all three get their best material in an age. The first two episodes are exceptional, building up a great mystery with lots of quirky moments and having some very satisfying answers when they come. The latter half of the story doesn’t quite have the same sense of magic but it still manages to conjure up some great surprises and gives us some rare insight into the most vacuous of regulars. The whole piece is superbly directed by Gary Russell who handles the atmosphere of the piece very cleanly and not leaving the audience behind for a moment. A quick mention for David Darlington’s superb score and sound design – this guy has done a lot for Big Finish audios over the years and his name rarely gets a mention. Memory Lane gets the range back on track after The Gathering sunk to new depths and provides an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable ride. Lets have Robson back for more: 8/10

Full Review Here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/03/memory-lane-written-by-eddie-robson-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/88-Doctor-Who-Memory-Lane

Absolution: I am so conflicted over this release, moreso than any other I have listened to in the main range. It has such a wealth of good and bad elements that I should be aiming for an average mark but overall I came away with a positive feeling. In the red corner we have a fantastic hellish atmosphere brewed up by Barnaby Edwards, a long overdue conclusion to the running joke that is C’rizz, some lovely interaction between the Doctor and Charley and an ending that will take your breath away with its intensity. And in the blue corner we have a dull and unengaging plot, tedious and unmemorable guest characters and a general feeling that the idea of a trip to hell has been squandered by a writer who fails to brew up a remotely interesting framework with his fairly imaginative concepts. I don’t want to be so facetious to suggest that my good will is entirely because C’rizz has finally departed (and in a wonderfully permanent sort of way…if anybody deserved to go the same way as Adric) but I really liked the feelings it brought to the surface in the Doctor and Charley. Things are not going to be smooth for these two and finally, violently, the Eight Doctor Adventures are ripping apart a team that never worked and fling its two best characters in fascinating new directions: 7/10

Full Review Here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/06/absolution-written-by-scott-alan.html
Buy it From Big Finish here: http://www.bigfinish.com/101-Doctor-Who-Absolution

The Girl Who Never Was: Take Gary Russell and his poison pen out of the equation and suddenly Alan Barnes delivers a peerless script. Go figure. The Girl Who Never Was has a wealth of goodies to offer and is more evidence that the main range is pretty much back on track. You’ve got some gorgeous exploration and finishing touches to Charley’s long running story, a dual plot that by its very nature ramps up the tension, a dramatic and welcome return of an old foe and a number of exciting and beautifully directed action set pieces. There’s even time for a jolly old singsong! The story is plotted with all the expertise of an orchestra coming together, the first episode setting up the two disparate time zones, the second exploring the nature of cause and effect from one year to another, the third featuring the bold and unforgettable return of the Cybermen before the final episode splits up our long running team with brave and format-breaking certainty. The ideas juggled up in this story are worth the admission price alone, the character work is Barnes back on Neverland form and Barnaby Edwards continues to excel in the directors chair making this a truly cinematic and evocative audio experience. I was gripped throughout and didn’t know where this story was going…its really pleasing to have a story that promises big changes and has lots of fun with it along the way and delivers. When the time comes the parting of the eighth Doctor and Charley is tragic because both are under a misapprehension (she thinks he is dead and he thinks she is happily living her life somewhere away from him) and both characters are about to take an extremely positive step into new territory. Sixie and Lucie here we come! Tremendous: 10/10

Full Review Here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/06/girl-who-never-was-written-by-alan.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://www.bigfinish.com/103-Doctor-Who-The-Girl-Who-Never-Was

The Silver Turk: Written by Marc Platt, directed by Barnaby Edwards with music and sound effects by Jamie Robertson and featuring the eighth Doctor, Mary Shelley and the Cybermen – does this story know what it has to live up to? The first episode was supremely enjoyable as an atmospheric waltz into history and the second features some moments of quiet terror to chill your blood that leads to an exciting, memorable cliffhanger. I really appreciate how scaled back the script is with the focus on the characters and the mood both of which are far superior to anything else we have seen so far this year. Its one of those stories that feels special without having to do anything too revolutionary – there is a terrific new companion for the eighth Doctor and the pairing has given the range a fresh sense of energy and the handling of the Cybermen is unusually sympathetic. And I really like the new theme tune too, its bold, dramatic and catchy. Beautifully made, superbly acted and with a real emotional core, The Silver Turk is my favourite main range release of the year and kicks of the Mary Shelley stories in fantastic style: 9/10

Full Review Here: http://docohobigfinish.blogspot.com/2011/10/silver-turk-written-by-marc-platt-and.html
Buy it from Big Finish here: http://bigfinish.com/153-Doctor-Who-The-Silver-Turk

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