Season’s Greetings everybody and welcome to the final Big Finishing Move of 2018! For anyone not already aware, this nice little patch of internet real estate is where I check out various offerings from the audio drama staple, Big Finish. I let people know if the stories are worth the cash in their pockets or if it would be put to better use saving it to get the fancy car wash for your vehicle instead of the standard. I’ve been away for a bit dealing with life, the universe, and everything, but I knew that before the year’s end I had to wrap up 2018’s offerings of The Fourth Doctor Adventures before the actual year’s end. So let’s kick this review into gear and see what is what.
TARDIS TEAM: The Fourth Doctor and Leela
First in this four-story set, we have the Doctor visit 1940s London…well, sort-of London; a very London-like place at the very least with a rampaging monster (trust me, it makes sense in the story) in The Shadow of London. Next we have a timey-wimey story set in a creepy hotel written by Big Finish and TV series staple Dan Starkey (known for playing Strax, as well as other Sontarans) in The Bad Penny. Finally, we have a two-parter with the Fourth Doctor facing off with one of the most famous one-off villains from his TV run, Sutekh, in a social media showdown in Kill the Doctor! and The Age of Sutekh.
I had the most fun with this set in The Bad Penny. Dan Starkey has written a tale of such wonderful madcap absurdity, my only real complaint is that it’s too short. It is a full story to be sure, but listening to Starkey on the extras talking about cutting things for time and with my own sense of imagination I know that this easily could have been an extra hour of story and I would have loved every second of it. This makes me very excited to see anything else Starkey wants to write for Doctor Who be it Big Finish or otherwise.
Pyramids of Mars is a classic of the Philip Hinchcliffe era, which focused heavily on horror and the original series as a whole. The mad Osirian Sutekh featured in it made me so hyped to see (or hear, rather) what Big Finish could do with the character given the freedom that audio provides in terms of scope. Listening to the trailer I knew that Gabriel Woolf hadn’t lost a step bringing the inherent malice of Stutekh’s voice to life. Where the whole things starts to stumble is that for whatever reason they decided to go with a tone more akin to the lighter more space-based Graham Williams’ era of the Fourth Doctor’s TV tenure.
I like Williams era Who a lot, but I don’t think it is the best fit here. Where I wanted to dive into a dark tale highlighting the horror and unknowableness of Sutekh (the kind of story I think the character calls for) instead I got something much lighter and bouncy in overall tone. The story they do tell is pretty clever and does include some darker moments and interesting social commentary. The best way I can explain it is it is like I went and ordered what is advertised to be a really spicy dish from a restaurant only for it to provide a mild tingle. Doesn’t mean the food is bad, but it isn’t what I wanted either.
All the stories in this set are good, but there is nothing here with enough pop to it to make it a must-have. It’s a nice release and I think people who pick-up these stories will like them, but with so many other great Big Finish offerings I would put this one on the back burner and wait for some promotion or sale before buying them.
Purchase Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures: Series 7, Vol 2 Here:
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It has been a long time coming, so next time:
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, Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Adventures Vol. 2, Bang-Bang-a-Boom!, The Fourth Doctor Adventures: Series 7, Vol 1
All images © Big Finish Productions and/or the BBC
Written by (Spider) John Eckes.