Greetings ‘o denizens of yon interweb, and welcome back to Big Finishing Move. I’ve been away for a hot minute, but now I’m back to take a look at the works of Big Finish to find out if it’s a refreshing hit like Coca-Cola Classic or a all around bad idea like New Coke.
Today were back with the first installment of the 2017 season of the Fourth Doctor Adventures, The Beast of Kravenos. So, let’s get cracking and see what we’ve got here.
TARDIS Team: The Fourth Doctor, Romana II, and K-9 Mark II
The Doctor is back in Victorian times hanging out with his pals, Jago and Professor Litefoot. The usual odd energy reading that shouldn’t be there has the group on the hunt for answers. While K-9 is getting some stage time the group also gets involved in hunting down the mysterious thief known as the Knave due to his leaving of a Knave (Jack) playing card at the scene of his robberies as well as the mystery of an unknown beast that brutally murdered a noted doctor and pharmacist. As The Doctor and crew pull on all of these strings they begin so see that they are all connected. Can the Doctor and Romana figure out how everything connects in time to stop further tragedy?
Big Finish is placing this story at a really weird part of the Fourth Doctor’s timeline. From the Doctor’s wardrobe in the artwork and the version of the theme music used (the version used for his last season) this is quite towards the end of the Fourth Doctor’s run, that said the style of story and the music place this story as part of the 1979 season then 1980, which would be Tom Baker’s last. This puts this story in-between the unaired Shada and the opening of the 1980 season, The Leisure Hive, where producer, John Nathan-Turner took over and instituted several major changes. This is a big gray area of Doctor Who, the ’79 season was bouncy and silly while ’80 was darker and more melancholy. Perhaps this gap is what drew Big Finish to move to this section of the timeline, they even bring up the odd nature of where the story fits in the extras. I think that while this is an interesting time to explore, it didn’t really do this story any favors as it feels a little lost in terms of tone. The creators are trying to straddle the fence here, and it leaves me with the sense that nobody knew what this story was supposed to be, making something that should be super interesting all the less impactful.
I appreciate the inclusion of Jago and Litefoot, but they are not integral to the plot. There are attempts in the story to make their involvement seem more important, but in all honesty, they are in this due to the name recognition. I’m always happy to see the characters, but if you’re going to do it make them feel more important.
On the acting side of things, everyone was solid. Tom Baker gets to ham it up as only he can, John Leeson gets to tell corny jokes that could only work coming from the deadpan voice of K-9, and Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter are so in tune with their Jago and Litefoot respectfully that they sound effortless in all they do. If anybody gets the short stick it’s Lalla Ward as Romana, who seems more along the ride for events then an active participant.
I apologize if it sounds like I am solely being negative. This story isn’t bad, the problem is that is the best thing I can say about it. I enjoyed it enough while listening to it, but it doesn’t leave me with any impression other than it was “fine enough while it lasted”. The story is serviceable, but the outing feels totally lacking in significance or consequence, which is a big letdown considering the under-explored territory of the Fourth Doctor era they are mining. While decidedly inoffensive, I don’t think anybody needs to pick this up and unless there is some greater payoff down the road, I don’t see myself ever coming back to this one. Make of that what you will.
Purchase Doctor Who: The Beast of Kravenos Here:
As you are still here (good on you for that, by the way), allow me take a moment to say we really are glad you stopped by. If you are so inclined, I think you might find value in checking out the rest of One Of Us for all the other cool things we have to offer. We have reviews, podcasts, and even some audio dramas available, including the sci-fi survival series called The Orphans.
Next time we’re going to be doing something a little different, a little something I’ve wanted to do since Big Finishing Move began and was the storyline that made me a Big Finish fan in the first place. Next time we begin our look at the saga of Elizabeth Klein, starting with:
Check out my introduction to this series as well as all my previous reviews. Links are below:
Big Finishing Move Special Edition: An Introduction To The Series
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, The Paradox Planet, Legacy of Death, The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume 1, Gallery of Ghouls, The Trouble with Drax, The Pursuit of History And Casualties of Time (dual review), Aquitaine, The Peterloo Massacre, Doom Coalition 3, The War Doctor Volume 03: Agents of Chaos