Monday, 24 January 2011

Another review update

Invaders from Mars: A strong start to season two, a witty, clever and riotous farce with a nice dash of history and some very amusing aliens: 8/10

The Chimes of Midnight: The 8th Doctor adventures have really hit their stride now; this is a beautifully directed chiller with a strong emotional core. I never get tired of listening to this story, the black humour and Christmassy atmosphere and the superb exploration of Charley: 10/10

Seasons of Fear: Fun and involving, if a little fractured. The Doctor and Charley seem to be having a whale of a time in this one with an excellent return of a much-maligned monster: 8/10

Embrace the Darkness: Atmospheric but plot less with some unclear characterisation. This story is superficially enjoyable to listen to but its currency is shock moments rather than intelligence: 5/10

Time of the Daleks: The author’s love of Shakespeare swamps everything in this confused closed loop of a story. Nobody gets the chance to shine: 4/10

Neverland: A triumphant, cumulative blockbusting season finale. Boasting great ideas, unforgettable soundscapes and end Charley’s arc on a dramatic climax, this is the rarest of things: a story about the Time Lords that is awesome of and myth making. A Dazzling achievement: 10/10

Spare Parts: Not the classic it is made out to be because this is a very clinical apocalypse, this is still an effective ‘genesis of the Cybermen’ tale with a strong role for both the fifth Doctor and Nyssa: 8/10

Ish…: A mind expanding, loquacious puzzle of a story, screaming with intelligence and rewarding subsequent listens. Patience is a virtue with this story as the literate script hides a treasure trove of goodies within: 9/10

The Rapture: A failed experiment, trying to bring together Mile High, Eastenders and Star Trek and winding up an embarrassing farce. Pop psychology, crass religious metaphors and tedious soap operatics make this a painful experience: 2/10

The Sandman: A dense, fascinating piece that shoves Colin Baker into the role of the villain with delicious abandon. Another fine setting and a juicy musical score really boost this alien adventure: 8/10

The Church and the Crown: Extremely likable and frothy with more fun lines than you can shake a stick at. Nicola Bryant gets the chance to show us what she’s really made of and the casts relish of the script is infectious: 9/10

Bang Bang a Boom: A failed comedy that gets more painful as it goes along. The performances are generally dreadful and the murder mystery plot lacks substance, Big Finish hits a new low when the Doctor succumbs to the pits of Angvia: 3/10

Jubilee: Inventive and brooding with a strong blend of jet-black humour and drama, this is one of my favourite stories. Both Colin Baker and Maggie Stables are astonishing and the story is crammed with thoughtful (and sick) moments: 10/10

Nekromenteia: A dull story featuring bland characters and little in the way of relief. As much as I like Big Finish to experiment I think attempted rape might be a step too far: 3/10

The Dark Flame: Another disappointing McCoy story with signposted twists and stereotyped characters and very little in the way of entertainment. Lisa Bowerman excels amongst the dreck: 4/10

Dr Who and the Pirates: The sixth Doctor has the Midas touch at the moment; this is another brilliantly written and acted piece for his Doctor. Jac Rayner has tremendous fun playing about with narrative and the musical episode is a delight: 10/10

Creatures of Beauty: The second of two back-to-back classics, this is hardcore puzzle Who and uncomfortably dramatic to boot. Sarah Sutton will really make you feel for Nyssa and David Daker gives an unforgettable guest appearance: 10/10

Project Lazarus: Too many good ideas squeezed into one story and the end result leaves you feeling a little short-changed. The Forge is Torchwood before its time and really feels like a dangerous place. Extra points for Evelyn’s shocking breakdown: 7/10

Flip Flop: Another challenging story but laced with humour to make it go down easier. Jonathan Morris has written a clever reversible story, which perfectly captures season 24 and introduces us to the brilliantly insidious Slithergees: 8/10

Omega: A patchy tale with a really clever twist at the end of episode three that puts a whole new spin on the story. Weak direction sabotages what could have been an intriguing character study of a forgotten villain: 6/10

Davros: Very scary in places, this tale redefines Davros like no other and positively drips with malevolence. The sixth Doctor is more rebellious than ever and Terry Molloy manages to both tug at your heartstrings and frighten you to death: 10/10

Master: Claustrophobic and melodramatic whilst juggling some very powerful ideas, Joe Lidster redeems himself with real style. Some people found the revelations about the Doctor and the Master difficult to accept but I thought the implications were intriguing: 8/10

Zagreus: The ultimate insult. Dull, unintelligible, bloated and languid with horrible characterisation and perverted continuity. When the script writer, director and producer are the same person and they produce something this shocking there are some big problems ahead: 1/10

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