Hello fellow citizens of the internet, and welcome to the latest installment of Big Finishing Move. For anyone not already in the know, this is where I get to take a look at the releases from audio juggernaut, Big Finish and see if they deserve your money and adulation, or if your better off saving your dough so you can buy the newest craft beer at the local liquor store.
We’re back with the Fourth Doctor this go-around as we launch into the first half of two dual part stories planned for this season of adventures. This is Big Finish’s first shot this year to do a bigger, more in depth tale with the Scarfed One. Let’s dive in and see how they fared.
TARDIS Team: The Fourth Doctor, Romana II and K-9 Mark II
Chilling out in the Vortex because they’re Time Lords and that’s just the sort of thing they do, the Doctor and Romana are taking a bit of a break from it all. The Doctor has taken up trying to learn the violin, which given the fact that this is the Fourth Doctor, it’s going about as well as expected. Suddenly another ship shoots into the Vortex and rams right into the TARDIS, causing some sort of dimensional overlap that causes Romana to be pulled over to the other ship, which then shoots back out of the Vortex. The Doctor and K-9 give chase to the planet of Aoris where the people of the past are in a resource war with the people of the future. Can the TARDIS crew find each other and make it to the other side of this long and complicated war unscathed?
I have to celebrate this story’s ambition. It’s a big and complicated piece, full of time traveling tanks and other time-wimey nonsense, and coupled with that fact that Doctor Who has a tendency to lean heavily on comedy, this story opener could have easily fallen into total and fatal absurdity. However, with some smart story crafting and performers really driving to make their characters sincere and believable (at least in the moment), the story remains grounded while still delivering on the zaniness and the jokes. Even when it starts throwing curves that I could see coming a mile off, I didn’t care because everyone on this saddled up and committed to the story.
All the performances were top-notch, so I don’t have any that stand out as better than the rest. With that said, I’d still like to take a moment to talk about Lalla Ward in this piece. I don’t know if it is a product of Lalla being in a fiery mood during the recording or the direction she received, but every line she delivered had an awful lot of venom behind it. I’m aware that the character didn’t always have the best people skills and was not a person to suffer fools gladly, and I also know that she grows in a more serious and direct way once she splits from the Doctor, but this a younger and usually less caustic Romana. It isn’t what I would call a misinterpretation, but it is a more aggressive Romana then we normally hear. Neither a good nor bad thing, just a noticeable thing nonetheless.
As it stand, this audio drama is a really great opener. True it doesn’t have any “wow” moments, and the big reveal at the end is downright obvious, but I appreciate the craft, care and attention to world building needed to pull this all off. I’ll take a slightly predictable narrative with interesting characters and ideas wrapped in solidly told tale over a story with a shocking reveal any day of the week. In all honesty, I have nothing negative to say here. So go pick this up already!
Purchase Doctor Who: The Paradox Planet Here:
Yo, as long as we already got you here, I implore you take the opportunity to check out the rest of One Of Us. Give us a chance, your going to like what you see.
Oh, and a bit of an announcement before I close things out. This installment of Big Finishing Move is the 48th one I’ve done since staring this little series way back in October of 2013.
So with this being already scheduled for the 49th spot:
That means for the 50th review (and I didn’t even plan it this way, I just lucked out) I get to cover the Tenth Doctor as he and Donna Noble make their Big Finish debut this May in:
I am beyond excited about this. Allons-y!
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, Doom Coalition 2