Good day, all, and welcome to Big Finishing Move. This is the happy little section of the internet where I get to review the works of audio madhouse Big Finish and letting you, my good and noble reader, know if I think it worth your money or if that scratch is better served buying that ridiculous novelty t-shirt you always notice when you go shopping but never pick up.
Doom is once again a’callin’ folks! That’s right, today we’re looking at the second batch of Eighth Doctor stories under this new ‘Doom Coalition” banner. So, do we have an instant classic or a steaming case of hot garbage on our hands here? Let’s give it a look and see what we find!
TARDIS Team:The Eighth Doctor, Liv Chenka, and Helen Sinclair
The Doctor and his friends are still on the hunt for the Eleventh, but of course life, the universe, and everything else gets in the way. While trying to take a a quick break at a seaside village, the Doctor first visited back in his third incarnation the cruel mistress known as the plot drags our heroes back onto their main quest. Seems the Eleventh has allies and they are every bit as deadly as he is. Will the Doctor be able to survive all this and keep up his pursuit of the Eleventh and what does any of this have to do with River Song?
As you may have been been able to gather from that stunningly perfect piece of prose known as the last paragraph (no, I don’t have a big ego, why do your ask?), my biggest issue with this release is its lack of connective tissue and driving of the overall plot. The first three feel like stand alone stories that someone went back in and sprinkled just enough connecting points to have one story lead into another. The final story is a big piece of course correction that manages to get things back on track bur it also leaves you wondering why the rest of the stories couldn’t have been more focused on the arc story. Hell, the Eleventh, the supposed big bad for this series of releases is only in a flashback sequence in the second story and the final tale. I don’t need my main villain secretly hiding behind every corner laughing uncontrollably, but there are long stretches where he goes without a thought or mention even though our heroes task is to hunt this dude down. Maybe I’d be more forgiving if the stories were released as singles, but as a box set they do little to drive the main plot forward.
As to the individual stories themselves, they are all fairly good. No standout winners here, but each is entertaining enough in its own right. people will probably gravitate to the final story, The Sonomancer, as it is the one that feature Alex Kingston as River Song, but that doesn’t mean the other stories are any less good.
On the performance front I have to give top honors to Nicola Walker’s Liv Chenka, who has grown to be a real badass. Never would I have dreamed that this character would have the level of growth and development that she has had over the years. I don’t know what it was about Walker that made Big Finish take this character that had only been in a one-off Seventh Doctor story (Robophobia) back in 2011 and bring her back to pal around with Paul McGann in the Dark Eyes saga three years later, but I am sure glad they did.
If any character suffered from this outing, it is Helen Sinclair. Not because Hattie Morahan didn’t do a bang up job in the part, but because Helen is a character that is still working to find herself. As smart and talented as she is, she’s also panics when in a pinch and has an all too easily exploitable chip on her shoulder (justifiable as it may be) about patriarchal and societal pressures keeping women down. Not saying that Miss Sinclair shouldn’t feel the way she does, bur twice in this set we see characters take advantage of this fact to get her to do what they want. The sad fact is that as honest and true it is to the character and and what she would be going through were she a real person experiencing these events, when she gets paired up with such independent, take charge women such as Liv and River it’s hard not to see the character as more than a little weak. I’m not saying they have to turn Helen into another Liv or River, but it would be nice to give her a chance to develop a skill or ability that would be of use to the team and let the character come into her own.
I wish I had something better to say about this set then, “it’s okay”, but that does sum things up nicely. Big Finish is banking on having Kingston appear as River for this set with a teaser of her appearing again further down the line drawing in old and new fans alike, but perhaps they should have put a little more emphasis on delivering one cracker of a story. While decent enough overall, unless you are a River fan or a completionist when it comes to story arcs, you can rest easily taking a pass on this one.
Purchase Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 2 Here:
As we already got you here, I hope you take the opportunity to check out the rest of One Of Us. I really think your going to like what you see, all kinds of cool stuff awaits those adventurous enough to click!
And 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, Doom Collation I, The Yes Men, The War Doctor: Only The Monstrous, Wave of Destruction, The Labyrinth of Buda Castle, The War Doctor Volume 02: Infernal Devices