Greetings fellow carbon-based life forms and welcome to Big Finishing Move. I have chiseled away at the great walls of the internet to provide you all with this lovely little safe haven on OneOfUs.net stuffed with delicious reviews of some of the biggest Big Finish audio releases. It is my pleasure to give them a listen and let you know if you if you should spend your own hard earned money to pick them up or save them so that you can buy the large overpriced coffee next time instead of your usual medium-sized overpriced coffee.
This time we are back again with McGann and friends for the opening chapters of the next big arc for the Eighth Doctor, today we check out Doom Coalition 1!
Back in the day of spoons and umbrellas, the Doctor hunted down and captured a dangerous Time Lord criminal going by the name of the Eleven. While other Doctor Who villains have only been hinted at being mentally ill, this time there is no bones about it as the Eleven takes dissociative identity disorder to the Time Lord extreme as the Eleven has each of his incarnations personalities barking in his head, with each more (save one which was “normal”) dangerous and violent than the last. A lifetime later the Eleven gets out and the Eighth Doctor is now charged with hunting him back down. Can the Doctor find and defeat the Eleven before the universe pays the ultimate price?
Now before anyone cries fowl of the Doctor fighting against a foe that is clearly defined and diagnosed as mentally ill, let me make a few things clear. The opening story clearly states that the Time Lords have no way to treat the Eleven’s problem and he is ridiculously dangerous so no matter how bad you feel for the guy (and you will) he is such a danger to himself and others that locking him away in cyrostasis was about the most humane thing they could do. I mean the guy is so wip smart and turn on a dime violent that even the Master would tell the Eleven to take it down a notch.
On the companion front, the Doctor and Liv have become a pretty tight little unit, able to bounce witty lines of each other while saving the day. I’ve come to enjoy and embrace Liv Chenka as I feel she has a unique backstory that allows her to be light and fun as long as the mood calls for it but also has had enough of a life and has went through so many trials that she can go darker places emotionally and have more pathos than many other companions without coming off as whiny or unjustified. A great deal of this comes down serious chops a seasoned actress like Nicola Walker brings to the role. I get the sense that she has the skill to steal scenes right out from under Paul MaGann if she wanted to but is skilled enough to understand that isn’t what the story calls for and is able to use her portrayal as Chenka to make McGann’s Doctor look even better than the outstanding McGann is capable of on his own.
Newcomer Hattie Morahan’s Helen is a welcome but not entirely necessary addition to the team. There is nothing wrong with the character or Hattie chooses to play her and the writers do use her inclusion to open the series up to talk about sexism and prejudice against women in an intelligent manner, but right now there is nothing that she brings to the table that couldn’t be covered with the Chenka character. I should point out that the character never becomes annoying or unlikable and I like her and the way she interacts with the Doctor and Liv and I’m sure the character will grow to have added value as the series progresses.
Once again we have the tip-top acting from top to bottom to the top that Big Finish is known for. Not a weak performance in the bunch, but even with all that special credit should be given to Mark Bonnar as the Eleven. Not only does the dude have to have eleven different and distinct voices that he needs to be able to pull out at any time, but he also needs to make them feel as if they are all the same person at the core. Like the Doctor, each incarnation may have their own quirks and personalities, but the heart of the character remains the same. The role of the Eleven is a tall order for any actor and he pulls it off quite well.
It’s hard not to see that what BF is doing with Doom Coalition is trying to create Dark Eyes 2.0. You can see the integration of things they weren’t able to full capitalize on the first time around due to actor availability and some the behind the scenes struggles that series had in getting made because of it. Helen is the new Molly and the Eleven is standing in for the Master. However, I see this as a positive! Dark Eyes had so much potential that it never got to realize. This series puts a fresh spin on those elements so they don’t feel like an outright rehash and looks to be growing and exploring them as the series progresses. From Galifrey to Galileo the writing is on point, the acting is great, and it is at an reasonable price for the amount of high quality content you will be getting. As with any long running arc, only time will tell if the overall story is worth your time, but this is a damn fine opener that is worth picking up.
Purchase Doctor Who: Doom Coalition Here:
The audiophile in you not sated yet? Well, as it just so happens we just may have something for quench that thirst. We here at One of Us have our own audio drama series Infinite Variations, and we are also proud to host the spin-off from The Intergalactic Nemesis, the one and only Salt! All this happens to be 100% free so kick back, relax, and indulge in some audio goodies.
For Next time:
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, The Acheron Pulse, The Fate of Krelos, The Shadow Heart, Return to Telos, The Sixth Doctor – The Last Adventure