Greetings, one and all, and welcome to the first installment of Big Finishing Move for 2018! This is a pleasant little spot where I get indulge in my fandom of audio dramas, in particular the works of Big Finish, and let you know if they are worth handing over the required chunk of change, or if that money is better served in buying the fancy salsa for your tortilla chips that you swore you weren’t going to buy because of your New Year’s resolution to diet, but has magically found its way into your cart anyways.
The holidays have been a hectic time, but now I’m back, focused, ready do some catching up and to once again dive into some fun, which brings us to are subject today. David Tennant is once again back in action as the Tenth Doctor, this time paired with Billie Piper’s Rose for volume two of The Tenth Doctor Adventures! Allons-y!
TARDIS Team: The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler
The Doctor and Rose are up to their old tricks, bopping around the universe looking for adventure and a good time across three separate stories. At Rose’s mother Jackie’s request, the Doctor and Rose return to defend the world (or at least Norwich) from a race of baddies no one, not even the Doctor,has heard of in Infamy of the Zaross. Next, in The Sword of the Chevalier, to stop alien slave trade our heroes team with famous French spy, The Chevalier d’Eon. Finally, in Cold Vengeance we have the Tenth Doctor vs a classic foe he never faced during his TV run, the mighty Ice Warriors.
Infamy of the Zaross is a great idea for a story about media and celebrity that sadly comes in a little undercooked. An extra ten to twenty minutes would have really opened this story up and allowed the characters and concepts to get some needed development, but in their endeavors to make their stories like those of each Doctor’s time on TV, Big Finish has adopted the breakneck pace the modern series leading things into getting simplified and streamlined. What’s there is good, but with a little more time something magical could have happened.
Sword of the Chevalier is a fun romp full of swords and monsters. I’ve said multiple times how much I enjoy when Doctor Who can educate me about an event or historical figure I was unaware of, and I was fascinated to learn about the Chevalier d’Eon, a person in the 1700s who spent considerable time identifying themselves as a man and later in life as a woman. The smart thing here is that while the story does have some laughs, none of them are about this. This is a tale of acceptance and how rigidity in thought and the over-reliance on labels and titles is limited and foolish.
Cold Vengeance is a standard Ice Warrior story, the novelty being that this incarnation of the Doctor never faced them before. I don’t mean this as a negativism, it is a solid script that is well executed. It wants the listener to enjoy Tennant’s Doctor going up against one of his oldest adversaries for the first time, and doesn’t want to muddle the experience by adding too many extra layers or problems. There is a tasty side-dish or two, but nothing that is to distract you from the main course. It is the classic base under siege story, a formula where the Ice Warriors as characters excel.
What do I even need to say about the pairing of Billie Piper and David Tennant? Easily one of the most popular pairings in all of Doctor Who, the two have all the chemistry in the world and just hearing them interact in or out of character is a pleasure. Making sure that they had Camille Coduri come in to play Jackie was also fun adding that extra bit of flavor, though I do wish they would have had her interacting with her more in the story. The unquestionable MVP here has to be Nickolas Grace as The Chevalier D’Eon. He had to walk a perfectly androgynous line without falling into camp solely with a vocal performance and he knocked it out of the park.
On top of the three hour long stories and over an hour of behind the scenes interviews this set includes an hour of trailers and quick interviews for other Big Finish releases. It isn’t anything overly special for those who regularly listen to Big Finish, but they wisely knew how many people would be coming in soley for this release and decided to put it in as an introduction to all the newcomers to all Big Finish has to offer. Not needed, but much appreciated.
Hardcore fans of Tennant and Piper are going to pick this up regardless of anything I have to say on the subject, but I am happy to report that despite this Big Finish put in the work to make something worth your time. There was love and care put into this from top to bottom and it shows. It does have it flaws, the stories are good, but not great, and the overall thing feels pretty safe when I think this would have been the time to push the limits and see what they could really do. This is an easy buy for any fan of the Tennant era, but fans shouldn’t feel they are missing anything essential if they give this a pass.
Purchase Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Adventures Vol. 2 Here:
Since you’re still here, why not give the rest of One Of Us a gander. I think you’re going to like it.
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, The Beast of Kravenos, Colditz, A Thousand Tiny Wings, Survival of the Fittest, The Architects Of History, Doom Coalition 4
All images and video © Big Finish Productions and/or the BBC