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4.4 - The Mega

"This is a warning. Your aggression cannot go unchecked. The West must disarm. We will make you disarm."

When an assassination follows the first demonstration of a deadly new weapon, it appears that an alien race has fired the opening salvo in a new war – a war… for peace.

But is that truly their intent? The Doctor is unsure. The answer lies deep in the heart of a d... (more)

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Review By adamelijah 4/8/15 9:43 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says:
No previous stories required.
This story is quite a bit less dark than the two Philip Martin stories which made it to television.

The good:

Sil. Once again that greedy character that predates Star Trek is back and with a little effort Nabil Shaban steps right back into the role he played twenty-five years before with all the eccentricity that made Sil so great on television. He's as amoral and entertaining as ever.

This is also another fine performance for Colin Baker as the Doctor. His scene waking up under hypnosis is one of the best scenes of the story.

The story's "women rule the world" sub-theme calls to mind another lost story, Prison in Space. The approach of this story is more interesting given that women's taken over was as a result of natural causes and nothing pre-planned. It covers some of the themes, but the women feel far more sympathetic and are taken more seriously which is a reflection that this story was written more than fifteen years later.

A light touch, a comedic feel that makes the story enjoyable in spite of its flaws including a pseudo-science solution which was the silliest thing I've heard in a Sixth Doctor story since the Twin Dilemma.

The Bad:

Child actors in this were a bit off, though perhaps it was because they weren't used to radio.

Also the romance/courtship between two worlds at the end was so fast it'd make the average romance writer thing it was a bit extreme.

The idea of the Doctor having had been bullied is played for a weird sort of comedy. It's odd that after hundreds of years, he still finds this bully scary. It's even more bizarre that after the adventure he stands up to the bully for no particular reason other than that's how these stories are suppose to play out.

Mixed bag:

The Ice Warriors have a great plan but don't make a great villain for the Doctor. We do see how the original Season 23 continued many of the themes of Season 22 with nostalgic return of old villains.

Overall, this story was entertaining. It's certainly not great but manages to recreate the feel of a fun 1980s story, and it's hard not to love a story with Sil.
Review By adamelijah 4/3/15 2:27 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Reviewer Says:
No previous stories required.
The Nightmare Fair was originally written by Graham Williams to lead off Season 23 of Doctor Who. In some ways, it was typical of the Nostalgia that was in the prior season which among its six stories featured the Doctor meeting up with old foes the Cybermen, the Master, the Sontarans, and the Daleks as the Celestial Toymaker hadn't been seen since Series 23.

As a story, it's really mediocre. Most of it is fixed in a cell or in and about the Toymaker's lair. Yet, it doesn't really feel claustrophobic or atmospheric or anything else that makes it special. It's very slow paced.

It's on the character level that the story does work. Colin Baker captures the right feel for these lost stories. Through Season 22, the Sixth Doctor had been on a journey, softening a bit throughout the whole season. At the start of Season 23, when he and Peri are running around the forest, it feels like you've missed something. Here, we pick up those missing bits of development. The Peri-Doctor relationship isn't the constant sniping and arguing of early Season 22, but neither is as close knit as we see at the start of the Trial.

The Doctor has some funny scenes with Kevin, as he has some choice sarcastic remarks for the youth, who actually made a very good fill in companion. You also begin to see the Doctor's compassion and desire for justice come out when he meets Shardlow, an elderly butler who the Toymaker impressed for service for two centuries. The resolution of the plot requires the Doctor take harsh action but he takes no joy in it which is definitely a change from earlier in Season 22.

The characters wouldn't be such a saving grace, except the mystery of who the Celestial Toymaker is was the most interesting feature of the plot. The Doctor builds it up as not even the Timelords can trace his origins and the solution is epic. Though ultimately, it's the Doctor's reaction to this that really makes it impactful.

Overall, these were very fun characters and the story is well-acted with the result being that the story is far entertaining even with a plot that has a lot of flaws.
Review By adamelijah 3/22/15 6:58 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
In this four part "talking book" that recreates a never made Doctor Who Script, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe (roles recreated by Frazier Hines and Wendy Padbury) arrive on a station that's being shutdown. Yet something mysterious is going on (if it weren't, this wouldn't be Doctor Who now would it?), as a race of green aliens known as Rosemariners want a krytobiologist in order to provide an antidote to a venom so that they can take over the Universe.

Overall, this is pretty standard Doctor Who stuff, particularly for the era. The story's not bad but it isn't particularly memorable either. It is helped quite a bit by the presence of two other actors assisting Hines and Padbury as opposed to just one. This is helpful as that cuts down on narration and the amount of times that the actors have to double up on characters. As usual Hines' Patrick Troughton voice is uncanny as he makes Troughton come alive nearly a quarter century after he died. Overall, Rosemariners is a fun story, just not a great one.
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