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The Time Scales

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Blake's 7
Lucifer: Revelation
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197. The Entropy Plague
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Latest User Reviews

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Reviewed By: adamelijah on 3/28/15 6:45 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
This was fun to see Jon Pertwee off-world for the first time even if it was engineered by the Time Lords. This has enough elements to make it pretty enjoyable. The colonists are well-portrayed and their plight against the mining company is compelling. Their leaders pluck and spirit are moving.

The Doctor has some solid scenes, but this serial's a little unfocused to be considered much more than okay. The Master trying to gain a doomsday weapon could have been an interesting story, the lost city could have made for a good series, the colonists as a focus could have been compelling. All of it put together has some good moments but also leaves you wondering what might have been had the story been more focused.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 3/28/15 6:40 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
The Claws of Axos is one of Season 8's shorter serials that's not without problems. While the writing is generally good (except for an underdeveloped plot of an unfocused bureaucrat), the special effects don't stand up well. The titular claws of Axos that are used to restrain several characters look like they escaped from the set of the Muppet Show.

However, this serial manages to work quite well within the limits of its budget. There's a very memorable cliffhanger in this one involving the Master and the Brigadier. It's great to see the relationship between the Master and the Doctor develop, and the Doctor shows quick thinking particularly in part four. This isn't one of the best Doctor Who stories, but it's certainly entertaining.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 3/28/15 6:36 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
This is a fascinating serial featuring a mind control machine that removes evil from prison inmates. While visiting the prison where it's used in place of capital punishment, the Doctor that even those using the machine don't have answers as to where "the evil" goes. The Doctor senses that an evil creature is inside and when the Master turns out to be involved, truly the Doctor and UNIT are in for a challenge.

The concept is an intriguing and creepy one, with some thought provoking moment. Jo has some good moments as well. The Brigadier is his usual charming and dashing self. The Master's plot still seems very Bond villainesque but better thought out than his previous alliance with the Autons. The one big flaw in the Master's plot is why he was killing envoys to the peace conference. We learn that the Master's plan is to blow up the conference to ignite a global conference to cause a worldwide disruption. It's not a horrible plan, but why the devil kill individual ambassadors in advance? All that did was clue in UNIT.

The story gave some nice looks at characters under influence of the machine. We learn the Doctor is still haunted by the events of Inferno. And the Master...well he has his own big fear, but I won't spoil that part.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 3/28/15 6:33 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
Terror of the Autons kicked off Series 8 of the Classic Doctor Who. The Autons were a decent threat, but not an overshadowing one unlike the Daleks or the Cybermen. The serial served as an introduction for both a new companion and the Doctor's archenemy, the Master.

The Doctor is fairly clever in this one though does seem to be a bit of a prima dona as he relates to the Brigadier and others around him.

On the companion side, Jo was a definite mental downgrade from scientist Liz Shaw and the previous female companion Zoe, but she makes up in other ways, as she saves the Doctor's life a couple times with her training as a civilian UNIT agent. She's generally sunshiny and a notch about 1960s companions like Victoria and Paulie.

As for the Master, the story gives me an impression that he's the Doctor's version of a Bond villain who manages to come up with the most off the wall schemes and choose stylistic evil plans rather than practical and simple ones that might actually work . The Master gains control over plastic and proceeds on a spree of murders and attempted murders that kills victims in the most undignified ways: death by inflatable chair, death by ugly looking plastic doll, death by plastic flower, and attempted murder by phone cord. Yep, the Master sneaks into UNIT HQ installs an extra long phone cord, so he can call, speak to the doctor and command the phone cord to strangle the doctor. Merely planting a small bomb is something for lesser villains to do.

And then there's his outrageous plastic flower distribution...As the Doctor points out, the Master's plans are most often inefficient and impractical, no matter how ingenuous they are.

Still, the Master is set to be a truly worthy foe for the doctor in every single story of this season. This story is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 3/28/15 6:31 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says: Previous stories required!
The second story of this four part arc of Sarah Jane Smith, at first glance, seems to have very little to do with what happened in the previous story. However, the connection is made belatedly at the end.

This is is a typical adventure tale. Its enjoyable as Sarah Jane plunges into a mystery surrounding a station at Antarctica including its paranoid director. The action and sound direction are good and the story hits all the right notes, but there's nothing in here that's outstanding. Still, it does its job and drops a nice hint for the third story in the series.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 3/28/15 6:27 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says: Previous stories required!
Well-written but it really doesn't work as a standalone story. It illustrates why Big Finish went to box sets for most of its spin-off series. As this is less than an hour including trailers, it spends a lot of time establishing characters and situations before getting Sarah Jane to Florence where she investigates a murder of forensic scientist as a wheelchair bound man is suspected of the crime.

We have a lot of set up for future serials but the situation is intriguing. Also Elizabeth is solid as usual as Sarah Jane, turning a solid performance. We have a doomsday cult on the loose as well as Sarah running into the stepbrother of her old friend Harry Sullivan. Overall, it's pretty intriguing set up.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 3/28/15 6:25 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
This story illustrates the problem with a show like Doctor Who having the same villain every single story. In the previous four stories, the Master has formed an alliance with the plastic Autons to take over the world, tried to take over the world with a machine that eats Evil, and then impersonated an Earth bureaucrat in hopes of claiming a weapon that could take over the universe. Here, he decides to impersonate an Anglican priest so he can start a devil-worship cult in hopes of convincing an alien who is the basis for depictions of the devil to give him the power to rule the Earth. it's like the Sesame Street sketch, "One of these things not like the other..."

This just doesn't fit with what we've seen of the Master in the previous four stories. The problem with having the same villain story after story, is you have stories that are plausible for the character to do and if you don't, it's really hard to suspend disbelief. And the script doesn't help as the Master spends the episode alternately overacting or just walking around mumbling, or in some scenes just staring really weirdly off in one direction or another.

The plot itself meanders from one implausible turn to another. Even within the limits that yes, this is Doctor Who, the characters don't act believably. They act in a very contrived manner, particularly Jo with her decision to recklessly get herself captured by the Master. It doesn't help that this is a season ending serial, so the effect are downright awful. The creature in the cave at the end of Episode 2 had me laughing as he headed into the cave rather than cringing with suspense.

If one or two of the silly things that happened in this serial happened in another, I'd just smile at the charm of it. However, all that was included in this story was really too stupid to keep the serial afloat from the Doctor being captured by May Pole dancers, to the silly looking demon minion, to the master knowing full well that this creature was an alien and doing things that would only gain him points if the creature was actually a demon, to the doctor's convoluted pseudoscience explanation of the supernatural, to the master escaping Sergeant Benton by throwing his robe at him. This serial got worse as it went on, right up through the contrived ending. This story is fodder for Riff Trax.

The bright sides of this story are few. Pertwee's performance is good throughout most of the story until Episode Five (he even gets to tell someone to rever the polarity) and Nicholas Courtney is solid as the Brigadier. The series started with some promise with the BBC on the scene but then went downhill quickly. Overall, this is a dreadful performance that just doesn't stand up.
Reviewed By: adamelijah on 3/27/15 5:23 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
This story is actually better than Paradise of Death, which seemed to wander quite a bit. This story, while longer, seems more focused.on the whole problem of N-Space and the attempt to take over the earth by an immortal mafioso. While the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith bounce back and forth to three different centuries and into the alternate dimension known as N-space, that focus is never really lost.

I also like the way this is staged. In the last story, the Doctor and Sarah's time together was limited, but here Sarah and the Doctor are together at all the critical points and they really play well off each other and hearing these two characters interact is a delight. I also think that the character of Jeremy made progress. He was insufferable in Paradise of Death. Here he's a tad annoying at times but not useless. Nicholas Courtney turns in a solid performance as the Brigadier and is dashing as he gets to take command of the situation.

On the negative side, how much you enjoy this story may depend on how much you can put up with silly accents: the Italian accents are stereotypical. and New York variety sounds like they came right out of Guys and Dolls. In addition, while the swearing was rarely severe, there was a lot of it for a Doctor Who story. That and Sarah Jane contemplating writing a trashy novel was kind of odd.

Overall, this was a solid radio story and it's too bad Pertwee didn't get to do more of them.