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     Big Finish 085: Red  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Tuesday, September 05 2006 @ 10:49 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1,180 times  
    DW ReviewsSylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor with Bonnie Langford as Melanie Bush.

    Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to listen to trailers. I listened to the BF trailer for this and thought that it sounded dreadful. So it was with some trepidation that I loaded the discs to my Ipod for the first listen of this play fully expecting not to enjoy one moment of it. Two things struck me; immediately the starkness of the sound and later how this play is very similar to “Something inside” (reviewed previously and to be found in these pages.) I cannot put my finger on what it was about the sound and feel but it gave exactly the right quality to what is for the 7th Doctor a retrospective story because of the companion.

    The story is about a society that has eradicated violent crime by the use of a control chip which is inserted into its citizen’s brains. The chip is monitored by a sentinel computer called Whitenoise who can edit people’s memories and control their violent impulses. The Doctor and Mel materialise the Tardis into this environment after the Tardis is attacked during a journey and immediately stumble upon a dead body. Mel and the Doctor very quickly become separated and the Doctor is brought before Whitenoise and “chipped.”

    (continues below)

     Big Finish 084 – The Nowhere Place:  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Saturday, August 12 2006 @ 08:14 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1,468 times  
    DW Reviews Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor with Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe.

    Before I put my thoughts to (electronic paper) on this story I should tell you that this arrived one week ago today and I have listened to it everyday since for reasons that will become apparent later.

    The story opens on January 16th 2197 on the edge of our solar system near the planet Pluto. The space carrier Valiant holding squadrons of "Damocles" fighter ships is on patrol ready to fight off “Endosian raiders” which have been raiding the system. Without warning Armstrong; one of the pilots hears a bell in his mind and almost immediately suffers a breakdown.

    The Doctor meanwhile has abandoned a landing on Earth in the far future and admits to Evelyn that he has become scared of what he saw when he tried to land. He has set the Tardis to drift backwards through time on the edge of the solar system when suddenly he and Evelyn hear a bell chiming. The bell is from Earth in the 1950’s but the year is 2197. Deciding to find answers to this mystery the Doctor materialises the Tardis on the Valiant and very swiftly gets both Evelyn and himself captured by the crew.

    (continues below)

    read more (338 words) 2 comments
    Most Recent Post: 08/29 10:44PM by BadWolf

     BBC Audio: The Stone Rose: The Resurrection Casket: The Feast Of The Drowned.  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Sunday, July 30 2006 @ 10:00 PM EDT
     Viewed:  1,445 times  
    DW Reviews

    Read by David Tennant.

    Three Enjoyable romps for the Doctor; Rose and extended family released by B.B.C. Audio: One past; one present day and one set (sort of) future.

    The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Raynor is mainly set in the past but starts in the present when Micky finds a statue in the British Museum from the Roman Empire which bears a remarkable resemblance to Rose. Of course you know what is coming next... The Doctor and Rose travel back to ancient Rome to resolve this mystery.

    The Resurrection Casket by Justin Richards would be the future. The Tardis lands in a section of the galaxy where electricity is useless and everything is powered by steam including spaceships. So it really is no surprise when the Tardis refuses to work and the Doctor and Rose find themselves locked out. This begins an old fashioned pirates and buried treasure tale.

    The Feast of the Drowned by Stephen Cole is the present. A British warship is lost with all hands in mysterious circumstances and one of the lost sailors is an old crush of Rose's. Then the sailors begin to come back in a ghostly form to invite their relatives to commit suicide and join them. Of course the Doctor and Rose investigate and find that some things are a little more than classified.

    These stories are all read brilliantly by David Tennant who mimics the characteristics of the regular cast in an almost uncanny style. The stories are all extremely entertaining although they require a little concentration from the listener. Fair play to B.B.C. Audio who have kept the prices reasonable and as such they provide excellent value. The interviews with the authors at the end of each disc are somewhat redundant as each is asked the same basic questions but I am guessing that 99% of the listening audience will not bother with them anyway. If you are looking at these on a web page and wavering on whether they are worth your hard earned... Waver no more... They are!

    Most Recent Post: 08/02 07:18PM by BadWolf

     Big Finish 001 – The Sirens Of Time:  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Sunday, July 23 2006 @ 01:52 AM EDT
     Viewed:  1,306 times  
    DW Reviews Peter Davison as the 5th Doctor Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor and Sylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor.

    Believe it or not July is the 7th anniversary of this Big Finish Debut so it is probably appropriate to go back and look at where it all started. For fairly obvious reasons Big Finish wanted to trumpet their arrival on the Doctor Who scene so we have a multiple Doctor story with the 5th 6th and 7th Doctors (Paul McGann signed up much later). The first three episodes feature each of the Doctors in a separate scenario and each ends in a (sort of) cliff-hanger.

    Episode one with the 7th Doctor arriving on a shielded planet and finding himself rescuing a woman called Elenya from quicksand before ending up in the middle of an assassination attempt on Sancroff; one of the Knights of Velyshaa. This episode contains some hints of actors and stories to come; Maggie Stables who plays a cackling crone called Ruthy will go on from here to become the 6th Doctors companion Dr Evelyn Smythe Sarah Mowat who plays 5 incarnations of the same being will become Susan Mendez and take memories of Sancroff to the Dalek Wars along with the Knights Of Velyshaa.

    (Continues below)

     Big Finish 045 - Project Lazarus  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Saturday, July 15 2006 @ 01:43 AM EDT
     Viewed:  1,146 times  
    DW Reviews Big Finish 045 – Project Lazarus (Part 1):

    Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor with Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe

    The more astute readers of my reviews of Big Finish may have noticed that when I wrote my review of 023 – Project Twilight I removed the “Mostly spoiler Free” tag. This wasn’t an omission; It was very deliberate. In thinking about reviewing Project Twilight I knew that I should go on to look at Project Lazarus because it is the most direct story arc. I also knew that when Lazarus came to paper I would have to spoil one or both of the episodes so that the reader could understand why the two episodes are related. I will however try to spoil as little as possible. I also knew that the only way that I could look at Lazarus would be to treat it as two different episodes for reasons that there are two separate doctors (or maybe three.) As far as I am aware; this story arc is the only time that Big Finish has used two Doctors without it being a multiple Doctor episode.

    (continues below)

    read more (395 words) 2 comments
    Most Recent Post: 07/16 11:18AM by BadWolf

     Big Finish 023 – Project Twilight:  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Tuesday, July 04 2006 @ 01:00 AM EDT
     Viewed:  1,092 times  
    DW Reviews Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor with Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe

    Where do you start delving into the archives of the now 80 odd Big Finish stories? There are so many good stories (and a few clunkers.) The first story in the series? The first 8th Doctor story? The first Dalek story? The first Cyberman? When the Doctor gains a new companion?

    I have decided to start somewhere in the middle with a 6th Doctor Story; Project Twilight for a variety of reasons. I have not as yet reviewed the 6th Doctor and for me Colin Baker has made the most significant improvement from the television persona until in Big Finish terms he is almost the “Doctor Who”. I have also heard several reviews of Big Finish Productions and this one seems too be missed every time despite it being (in my humble opinion) one of the most important Doctor Who Big Finishes not only for the superb acting but also because it spawns several important story arcs which will echo throughout the ongoing series and also has some echoes into the 2006 television series.

    The story (apart from a prequel) is set in the modern day Bermondsey, South East London and opens with the Doctor and Evelyn leaving a Chinese takeaway discussing the merits of Chinese food. It is at this point the first story arc is introduced when the Doctor suddenly recites the poem about Zargreus without knowing why. (This poem will become more familiar when the Zargreus storyline unfolds later in Big Finish 50.) Evelyn and the Doctor find several dead animals which appear to have been eaten. While they are investigating they hear what seems to be a murder taking place. The doctor and Evelyn soon find themselves up to their necks in murder; vampirism, South London Gangland and government agencies which bear a striking resemblance to Torchwood (2006 style.) along the way they meet Cassie who has a son Thomas Hector (or Hex as he will be known to the 7th Doctor) and they will lay the ground for Episode 46 - Project Lazarus.

    (continues below)

    read more (200 words) 2 comments
    Most Recent Post: 07/14 11:46PM by BadWolf

     Big Finish 083 – Something Inside  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Monday, July 03 2006 @ 12:57 AM EDT
     Viewed:  891 times  
    DW Reviews Big Finish 083 – Something Inside: (Mostly spoiler free)

    Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor with India Fisher as Charley and Conrad Westmaas as C'Rizz.

    The Doctor lands on Earth for the festival of Garner and finds himself and his companions in the dark; not only in the dark but something is stalking them.

    It sounds like the basis for an excellent story but unfortunately as the plot unfolds we find ourselves with a sense of Déjà vu.

    The Doctor and companions have arrived in “The Cube.” The Cube is in fact a prison with apparently only four inmates and two jailers. As the story unfolds we learn that there was a war which could only be won with soldiers with telepathic ability. As there were no telepathic soldiers human beings had their brains altered to give them that ability but after the war had been won these same soldiers became a threat and attempts to alter them back failed so they were locked up in The Cube.

    The Cube had been specially constructed from psychic dampening materials for the sole purpose of holding these special prisoners. The problem is that The Cube also holds something else; The Brainworm and it is that which stalks the prison.

    The music was effecrive but very simple and added to the feeling of menace and suspense which pervades this story and there was also a very strong supporting cast.

    The problem with this effort was that is it soon became apparent that we had all been here before.

    How many times must this doctor invite an alien creature to invade his mind only to use it as a trap or be subjected to machines which are supposed to turn his brain to jelly only to reverse the attack?

    How many times is this Doctor going to come up against psychics or telepaths?

    Big Finish have taken us down this road too many times with this doctor and as a result we are all beginning to feel like we are psychic or at least have the feeling of Déjà Vu.

     Big Finish 076 - Singularity  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Thursday, June 29 2006 @ 01:07 AM EDT
     Viewed:  897 times  
    DW Reviews: (Mostly spoiler free)
    Peter Davison as the 5th Doctor with Mark Strickson as Turlough

    A rare Big Finish outing for Turlough who accompanies the Doctor in this episode set in Moscow around 2050. Turlough moans and whinges his way through this story (as he usually does) but his loyalty to the Doctor is as ever unshakable. The Doctor and Turlough arrive following an anomaly in time and find a skyscraper whose architecture is 600 years ahead of current human technology. The building is the home of the Somnus Foundation, a weird cult type outfit of “Sleepers” that seems to cause people to disappear and later return with changed personalities. Very soon our intrepid time travelling companions come across Lena Korolev whose brother Alexei recently joined the “Sleepers” and she is attempting to have returned.

    When the Doctor investigates the Somnus Foundation further he discovers that they seem to have an idea of future human history which does not correspond to the history which he knows to be fact because he was (or will be) there. The Sleepers have a plan to liberate humankind from their corporeal bodies and fuse their minds into a single being: A singularity; which would elevate human beings to gods. The doctor knows that human beings were meant to struggle and that this time is a critical point in human history, raising human beings to gods would cause fractures in the timeline all the way forward to “Entropy Tuesday” (the day the universe burns to its end.) The human beings that change are having their minds transferred across space and time to a planet called Ember just before the End of the universe and beings that inhabit Ember are occupying the empty shells.

    (continues below)

     The Settling  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Monday, June 26 2006 @ 10:08 PM EDT
     Viewed:  910 times  
    DW ReviewsBig Finish 082 - The Settling: (Mostly spoiler free)
    Sylvester McCoy as the 7th Doctor with Sophie Aldred as Ace and Phillip Oliver as Hex.

    This play is set in a very bleak period of English and Irish history and I was surprised that the tale was as bleak as the historical background.

    Told as a series of conversations betwixt Hex and Ace immediately after the event it appears that both of the companions have been hurt physically, mentally and emotionally by the events and the listener can quickly establish that this wasn’t one of the Doctors fun rides.

    The Tardis lands in the small Irish town of Drogehda in September of 1649 and the Doctors idea is to teach Hex the basics of survival as a time traveler but things go awry almost immediately. What the companions believe to be thunder the Doctor recognises as cannon fire and he realizes that where they have landed is just about to become one of the most notorious battlegrounds in the series of ongoing disputes that litter the history of Anglo-Irish relations.

     The Kingmaker  View Printable Version  
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Monday, June 26 2006 @ 10:04 PM EDT
     Viewed:  876 times  
    DW ReviewsBig Finish 081 – The Kingmaker: (Mostly Spoiler Free)
    Peter Davison as the 5th Doctor with Nicola Bryant as Peri and Caroline Morris as Erimem.

    It is difficult to know what to make of this story my first reaction on hearing it was to label it as “twaddle.” Every once and a while Big Finish seem to feel that we need some comedy in our lives and whether that comedy matches our sense of humour seems irrelevant. I (obviously) have never been a big fan of these quirky Doctor Who stories.

    Having said that; it is hard to know if this story was comedy or not. Set in the reign of King Richard 3rd the plot seems to be a quest to find out who killed the “princes in the tower.” In the mix is an inebriated Doctor; William Shakespeare, a publisher’s robot, an inn keeping Duke of Clarence, Richard 3rd and assembled historical assistants but no princes. I am doing my best not to spoil this for anyone who is thinking of buying it and it may be that the listener thinks this will be the greatest story that they have ever heard but for me this was ill conceived, exceptionally poor in its execution and without the usual attention to historical detail that Big Finish have shown in the past. King Richard uses English slang only heard in the late 1960’s for instance and it is hard to suspend your disbelief when you hear him say things like “he topped himself.” Big Finish also seems to have crossed the Doctors timelines forgetting that the Doctor had already met and saved a young William Shakespeare in “Time of the Daleks.” Whilst this was an eighth Doctor story and this is a fifth Doctor story you would have thought that a very young Shakespeare would have remembered “The Doctor” which of course he doesn’t.

    Thinking that I was missing the point (whatever it was meant to be) I gave this story another couple of listens and came away with a slightly better understanding. Therefore I have reviewed my first judgement of this play and now wish to give it a rating of “absolute twaddle.” Let’s hope the next issue “The Settling” will be more to the high standard we have come to expect.

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