Ladies and gents, welcome to another installment of the one and only, Big Finishing Move here on One Of Us. This is the tiny bit of the internet I have seized in the interest of reviewing audio dramas from Big Finish and letting you know if they are worth your hard earned dollar of if it is better for you to save it for the dollar menu at McDonald’s (Note: McDonald’s does in no way sponsor my work, but my soul is for sale should they be interested).
Today we’re looking at the middle entry in the Drashani Trilogy, The Acheron Pulse, but before we do I want to take a moment to dedicate this review to the memory of Satoru Iwata. While Iwata himself had no relation to Big Finish or Doctor Who, his work with Nintendo helped fill the the world with a little more joy and whimsy, which is something BF and DW strive to do every day. Iwata’s focus on providing fun for everyone would be right at home at Big Finish and it is in that spirit I dedicate this to him.
TARDIS Team: The Sixth Doctor Flying Solo
Y’know, as absent minded and side tracked as the Doctor can get, he does at least try to keep his promises. As such, even though he is returning to the Drashani Empire any entire incarnation later the Doctor is finally making good on the promise made in The Burning Prince. The Doctor is to deliver a royal carcanet to Tuvold’s daughter Cheni, now Empress of the Drashani. Knocked off course the Doctor finds himself on Cordor, a tiny backwater planet which the Drashani have taken an intense interest in. The planet is soon seized by a race known as the Wrath and their leader, the Warlord Tenebris. Can the Doctor figure out what the hell is going on before the planet as well as the Empire are razed to ash?
What strikes me first is how well this story works as a standalone as well as a continuation of the overall story. The story is structured in a way that takes advantage of the need to info-dump, nobody in the Empire knows the truth about happened on Sharnax thus the Doctor is constantly having to stop and correct them. The story does finally give way to full on flashbacks, but those are for events the Doctor and the audience weren’t there for as they were not part of the original story and thus feel justified.
Hats off to Colin Baker as he once again truly commands a piece. This is a more complex emotional story for the Sixth Doctor so we get to see many more layers to our Time Lord than the brash egotist we usually see. Had Baker come in all fire and thunder, the story still would have worked, but either through good direction and/or Baker’s own awareness we get a calmer and more nuanced performance. The rest of the cast aren’t slouches as their isn’t a bad performance to be found in the bunch, Kirsty Besterman, Carol Noakes, and Jane Slavin for instance all get to play well rounded female characters and James Wilby’s Tenebris has a life of his own even with his more than a few passing similarities to a certain Lord of the Sith.
Is The Acheron Pulse as good as The Burning Prince? No, but not for a lack of trying. With all the players it needs to move around and the “world building” needed to expand and explain the story and put the pieces into play for the final installment do not allow this adventure the level of cohesion and sense of completeness of the previous entry. Also, and this is entirely a matter of personal taste, the pseudo-spiritual nonsense they put forth in the reveal about the Igriss stretches credibility damn near to the breaking point and in my opinion doesn’t fit Who. What bugs me is that with a few minor tweaks I could see a version of this reveal that I would have no issue with, but of course I don’t get my way on this and try as I might, it sticks in my craw.
Complaints aside, this is a good fun story and is well worth your time and money to experience on its own or as a part of the greater Drashani trilogy. Now let’s just hope that the final chapter (review coming soon) can pull this whole thing together and finish this epic out strong.
Purchase Doctor Who: The Acheron Pulse Here:
In the mood for even more audio goodies? Well look no further, we here at One of Us have our own audio drama series Infinite Variations, and this is also the home of the spin-off from The Intergalactic Nemesis, Salt. Now, all this is stuff happens to be 100% FREE here, so get to it. Your ears will thank you.
Heading in to the next one we will be rolling with the Fourth Doctor in:
Check out my previous reviews:
Phantasmagoria, The Fearmonger, The Light At The End, The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, Storm Warning, Blood of the Daleks, The Chimes of Midnight, Seasons of Fear, The King of Sontar, White Ghosts, Dark Eyes II, The Crooked Man, Project: Twilight, The Evil One, The Harvest, The Last Of The Colophon, The Council Of Nicaea, Destroy The Infinite, Afterlife, The Abandoned, Zygon Hunt, Revenge Of The Swarm, Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Box Set, Dark Eyes 3, Mask of Tragedy, The Fourth Doctor By Gareth Roberts, The Exxilions, The Darkness of Glass, Dark Eyes IV, Requiem for the Rocket Men, Signs And Wonders, Death Match, Suburban Hell, The Burning Prince, The Cloisters of Terror