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THE DESTROYERS - #2
First things first, why are THE SECOND DOCTOR BOX SET separated into 4 disc's? it doesn't make logic sense, surely it should be 1 CD case for Prison in Space and then another one for The Destroyers and Bonus Material? "Its fine?" you tell me, "stop worrying about nothing!" You say, fine! Fine! I see how it is... anyway that's not what I'm here for; I'm here to review, not to complain about petty things...to a certain extent.
Moving on swiftly
One thing exceptionally good about this audio is the atmosphere, the eerie, dark and quite gothic themes set the scene very well, the script spends a certain amount of time describing surroundings, feelings and motives although Jean Marsh is fantastic when describing it and is very visual with her emphasis, but this story doesn't half drag on, yet again there seems to be no substantial plot and there isn't a clear explanation to why Sara and CO. are at Explorer Base One, it seems there only at the base because there looking for David? (I may be wrong) but still that was my main problem with this story it drags!. But what the audio does do well yet again down to Big Finish is the soundtrack and general noises that really suit the style and era of the story. Although it doesn't have the Doctor in it, it feels like he is somewhere.
The characters are also believable with Alan Cox as Mark Seven probably the best character in the story. The ideas and themes are the same as other films and Doctor Who's it's hard to distinguish this story from other's, Although the story is very familiar as its Terry Nation's work the story just lacks something and I canât really place what it is. I'm also quite glad it didn't continue into a series as overall it was very bland and not that engaging.
To be honest there isn't that much else to talk about on The destroyers, the cliff-hanger is effective as it sort of premises The Dalek's Master Plan some scenes are quite awkward to get your head around (like the battle with the two Dalek's at the bridge) Overall THE SECOND DOCTOR BOX SET was a bit of a let-down really.
5/10 (I'm being nice again!)
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PRISON IN SPACE - #1
There is a reason why some Doctor Who stories are lost and therefore should remain lost. However there probably is a different reason why the BBC never produced Prison in Space compared to my reason; which means I'm either going to contradict myself or talk bullocks... what a great way to start my first review!
I suppose the main reason why I got THE SECOND DOCTOR BOX SET was for the fantastic performance and impersonation of Patrick Troughton, which MR. Frazer Hines can do exceptionally well. But when I realised that it was going to be "light-hearted", unrealistic and had no substantial plot to it, I kind of... prolonged it?
So I took a different approach to it. Instead of complaining and ranting on about the attention span I had for this story; which by the way was about this much (...) after part three of listening to it I decided that instead of focusing on the plot, narrative (whatever) I would focus on...let's say...the "behind the scenes" aspect of it.
The acting in this audio is really good, how Hines can differentiate between The Doctor and Jamie is so quick and snappy; its really entertaining to listen to. Susan Brown also suites Chairman Babs perfectly as her performance is so vivid and done really well, however my only real problem is at some points its hard to understand who is saying what as both Frazer and Wendy differ from dialogue to description in the same voice, which is at some points confusing. The soundtrack and noises for doors and guns is one of the best bits as it really captures that era of Doctor Who. It also helps the listener realise that it is one of those comical who's that are either cheesy, annoying or stupid but weirdly Prison in Space was neither I put this down to the director Lisa Bowerman whom has done this audio justice by not letting it fall under those categories.
But I cannot help but notice on how sexist this story is. It probably suited the era in when it was written but nowadays this story could have been taken offence, this also proves on how unrealistic the story is, I know its sci-fi but even then that far into the future surely they would have abolished hierarchy and "superior" and "inferior" stuff.
Like I said before your attention span goes in part three as nothing really happens whereas in part one and part two where considerably better than three and four this is mainly down to the pace of the story slowing down half way through part two.
Overall a job well done by Big Finish but sadly a poor story with very sexist and unrealistic themes set a comical and boring Doctor Who. A good cast and soundtrack but apart from that I would only recommend this to people who really love this era of Who and Hines's excellent impersonation of the second doctor.
6/10 (I'm being nice!)
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I finished listening to this three days ago and I haven't really stopped thinking about it. I think that says a great deal, especially considering how inconsequential many of these "Lost Stories" turn out to have been. Not this, though. this is really fascinating drama, with great characters that could very easily carry a story completely on their own without any of the regular Doctor Who cast. People will obviously want to compare this with Kinda or Snakedance, and I think that's a bit of a mistake, although some of the social intrigue and strong cultural background that was present in Snakedance is definitely here.
I want to praise the hell out of this story, actually, because I must admit that partway through episode two I believed somehow that I had it all figured out, knew what type of story it was and where it was going. It turned out I was completely wrong. It's usually the first episode of a story that gives me the "intrigue chills", but here, all the creepiest and most haunting bits were saved for the final act. I don't think it's a crime for a story to lose steamm toward the end, simply because I'm one of those people who usually enjoys the journey more than the destination and am often more attracted to the beginnings of things than their conclusions (hope that makes sense to someone out there!), but this tale...this was somethign else. I don't really know if it was the input of Christopher Bailey, who came up with the original story outline, but this feels somehow different from the usual fare, even though, to be sure, Big Finish has done this sort of high court intrigue tale before. I think what really sets it apart is the superb characters, but also the weirdness. I really do mean weirdness, too. Anahita, an old friend of the Doctor's, calls him to Sirius and announces at the end of episode two that she wants him to "go down into Hell for her". And she really does mean a literal, true Hell, which this society knows and fears well. From there, things only get stranger, and yet behind it all there's still the battle of court politics and political machinations, in the manner of an I, Claudius, or something of that nature.
The supporting cast are all really energised and deliver memorable performances, with plaudits, of course, going to David Warner and Honor Blackman, but really, I must single out Adrian Lukis's Lord Vyzan because...damn, he really, really steals the show. I guess he's the principal antagonist, but the thing is, he's a perfectly nuanced, believable person, with passions and ideas and musings all his own. There are so many great moments for him in this play it's hard to know where to begin. I love how quick to honest, genuine laughter, though usually of a rather wry sort, he is. His reaction to finding out that Nyssa really is a time and space traveller as she says goes from disbelief, to sadness, to resignation in a matter of a few seconds when he realises that it doesn't really matter and she still has to be sent to Level 14. He's a warmonger, yet when he learns that his people are going to be subject to mass-murder, he seethes with outrage. So yes, love him: the character, the performance--I wanted more of him and was genuinely sad when he met his end.
And that ending....it's actually quite something, and I'm surprised noone else seems to have really commented on it anywhere. Anahita turns out to be....well, quite a schemer and manipulator, and while she may have been the Doctor's friend at one point, he's certainly in a hurry to leave at the play's conclusion, and I kind of get the impression he isn't too happy about things. The end itself is really haunting, too, and actually gave me a bit of a creepy feeling. It's understated, mind you, but rather dark. The sense is that the lies and deceptions will continue, and the poisonings, as Warner's Autarch affectionately tells his wife that she should keep her bottles handy. The idea of random people just stoppign in their tracks, never to return to their normal lives, never really suspected by those around them, is also very eerie.
Nothing is wasted in this script, with every conversation and action having some meaning or relevance. It's entirely possible that I missed some things, but there are still questions I have about the story, the society and so on, that I can't answer. I think that is actually a good thing and will likely have me returning to this play at some point in the near future. I don't actually get the urge to listen to many plays multiple times, but this one, I feel, will reward return visits. I even feel it could have been longer!
I should talk about the regulars too I suppose. To be frank this isn't always a great TARDIS team for me, and Davison is probably my least favourite Doctor on audio. Everyone does well here, though, probably because they know they have a great script on their hands, though Davison still sounds slightly embarrassed or weird in some line interpretations. Poor Nyssa gets a brainwashing once again and is not at all "with it" for most of the second half of the story, but Tegan is brave and resourceful and doesn't complain, which is obviously meant to say that her character does better than usual and actually seems like a good person to be around. She is really the most proactive of our main characters in the "real" world in the latter half as the Doctor is rather occupied in a different sort of reality. I think Tegan and Anahita had a great rapport, too.
Bravo to this one, then: probably the best of the Davison Lost Stories and certainly a lot better than most of the Colin Baker ones. Never mind that, though; it's really a glorious piece of drama that everyone should hear. Interestingly, I didn't care for the music at all in the beginning, it seeming rather too pervasive, electronic and intrusive, but by the end of the play I was totally into it and what it was doing. SO yes, highly recommend this one, and also suggest that listeners not base judgment solely on an initial listen, as there's a lot going on here and, as I said, no scenes are wasted. It's very talky and you really have to listen well to pick up on the subtleties and implications of the story and understand just how great all the guest characters are.