Sunday, 30 January 2011

Another Big Finish Update

The Wormery: Shamelessly camp, glorious and fabulous (as Iris might put it!), this story elegantly holds a mirror up to Trial of a Timelord and features reams of wonderful lines and outrageously good performances. One of the best scores too: 10/10

Scherzo: Fascinating and unsettling but also embarrassing and melodramatic. A story, which is half unusual and clever ideas and half farcical soap operatics. A terrific audio experience that loses points because of its characters: 7/10

The Creed of the Kromon: Dull, with little spectacle, imagination or sparkle plus introducing the dullest companion since Dodo. Dreary, talky and benumbing, the most moribund period of the eighth Doctor’s life: 2/10

The Natural History of Fear: A superb Jim Mortimore script that forgets about the dullness of the arc going on around it and rocks on with a blistering examination of identity and Orwellian themes: 10/10

The Twilight Kingdom: Hopelessly predictable and clich├ęd, this is truly the nadir of Big Finish’s output. The regulars are working against the story and the series and need some serious alterations: 2/10

The Axis of Insanity: A strong, immersive production let down by a rubbish villain, Axis is a fun and frothy piece that has some fun with Erimem: 7/10

Arrangements for War: Romance and warfare combine to make a gripping, heartfelt adventure that sees both the sixth Doctor and Evelyn at their best. There is enough action and romance here to satisfy both camps: 9/10

The Harvest: Bring the tired seventh Doctor and Ace bang up to date and introducing the gorgeous Philip Olivier, The Harvest manages to juggle character drama and science fiction ideas with considerable aplomb: 8/10

The Roof of the World: An exercise in prevarication and running on the spot with one fantastic episode (two). This is a disposable and light load of atmospheric nothing: 5/10

Medicinal Purposes: Underrated, with a cast to die for and lots of gorgeous period atmosphere. Rupert Ross approaches history in a very unusual direction and I would love to hear Colin Baker and Leslie Philips locks horns again: 8/10

Faith Stealer: Extended therapy for the worst regulars the range has. 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 won’t change your world but its very nice: 8/10

The Last: A risky, dramatic script is given a typical Gary Russell polish but unfortunately is weighed down slightly by two inappropriately light performances by McGann and Fisher. Excelsior rocks: 8/10

Caerdroia: Promising, beautifully characterised and great fun. The triplet Doctors with their distinct personalities are inspired and provide the story with its best laughs and most considerate moments: 8/10

The Next Life: Reasonably entertaining but ultimately unfulfilling, it works because the regulars are given a good once over but as an arc of a drearily long and dull arc it lacks even basically competent answers. It makes you wonder why they bothered: 7/10

The Juggernauts: Great development of Mel and Terry Molloy charms as Davros. I love the Mechanoids so it is wonderful to hear their gentle voices again and the truth of what is inside them might just make you nauseous: 8/10

The Game: For a six parter The Game is fast paced, exciting and thoughtful. It also has an unforgettable central performance from William Russell: 8/10

Dreamtime: Suddenly Big Finish takes a dive in quality, Dreamtime has no memorable characters (including the regulars), no plot, no humour…it drifts off into metaphor and loses itself up its own arse: 1/10

Catch-1782: Perfectly pleasant but ultimately pointless, this is a quick step into the world of Jane Austen without any of the humour or quirky characters that would have made it work: 5.5/10

Three’s a Crowd: Another dreary, boring, completely forgettable experience taking place on the dullest colony imagine and full of empty characters (and one unbelievably stupid one): 3/10

Unregenerate: Better, albeit far from perfect. A strong first episode devolves into lots of running around and discussing (but not exploring) some clever ideas. Another great showing for Mel but McCoy gives his worst performance of all time: 6/10

The Council of Nicaea: Dramatic, boldly characterised and simply told, this is the best release in ages simply because it focuses on one story and explores it with plenty of depth and courage: 9/10

Terror Firma:
101 brilliant ideas drowning in an undisciplined narrative, I found this a work of twisted genius only let down by not following through on its intriguing characterisation: 8/10

Thicker than Water: Hankies at the ready as Evelyn leaves the Doctor. Who cares about the subplot when such a monumental event is taking place: 8/10

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