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Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: PolarityReversalReview Date: 1/15/16 9:01 pm
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

I went to Chicago Tardis the year this box set came out and as soon as I saw the box art, I had to get it. I had never listened to one of the Big Finish audio dramas, and wow, what a way to pick a starting spot. Paul McGann is just phenomenal in this medium. To its credit, this series was so good I am now over 20 entries deep into the BF Doctor Who universe, so it really hooked me. One of the things I noticed about this story versus many of the other ones I have listened to is just the overall quality of the audio, from the music to the effects, the mixing is just spot on. Just listen to it.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: NewWorldreviewsReview Date: 1/15/16 2:39 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

One the first releases in the Eighth Doctor Adventures to resurrect an old monster from the classic series, and twist them in some way, Brave New Town is one of Big Finish's more radical experiments from the Nick Briggs era. After all, the Autons aren't the first monster you think of when thinking about villains that could be involved in an audio drama. After all, what made the Autons so special was a very visual quirk that, let's face it, they might not be able to recreate on audio. However, rather than doing a traditional Auton story, Big Finish took the very brave step of doing something completely different. And, while I won't say that it's my favourite story, it is one that I have a great deal of admiration for, and there is plenty about it to like. I think my main problem with it is that not an awful lot happens in this story. It's surprisingly lacking in pace, and sort of sedately wanders around. It does rather make it a difficult listen when not much of consequence is actually happening. Sure, some stuff does happen, and there is danger, but I thought that it could been a hell of a lot pacier in order to maintain a listener's interest. However, I did think that the ideas on display were really, really great. The idea of an abandoned town, where the same song has been number one for years, where the sea has dried up, and where people go around doing really odd things. As soon as the Doctor and Lucie step into this world, you realise that there is something really wrong here. I loved the way that author Jonathan Clements really screwed with the mechanics of this world, meaning that everything became twisted in a really odd and unusual way. I also really liked the idea of giving the Autons a kind of autonomy, and allowing them to stand as people in their own right. That was a really clever idea that gave the story an added boost. After all, it's hard to transplant the Autons into a story anyway, due to them being so impassive. However, by humanising them, Jonathan Clements really manages to turn them into something with dramatic potential. The reveal also comes out of nowhere too, making this all the more intriguing and unexpected. Sure, on a re-listen it's clearly built up, but the fact that's it hard to spot, and the last thing you'd expect, makes it all the more interesting. It's also helps that this story is really, really well characterised. Each character in the story feels perfectly natural, not at all over the top 'obviously something wrong with them'. Sure, they were playing it a bit safe with regards to characterisation, but surely that was the whole point. I also thought the acting in this was superb. Nick Wilton and Derek Griffiths stood out in particular, but I thought the whole cast did a great job with the material. Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith were, like in every Eighth Doctor Adventure, however, the standouts. Barnaby Edwards' direction was also superlative, and the work done by Andy Hardwick and Gareth Jenkins on the sound design and music was equally fantastic. As I said at the beginning, Brave New Town isn't the best of the Eighth Doctor Adventures, but it does have some amazing ideas and some brilliant characterisation that never feels forced or laboured. Overall, a solidly strong release.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: NewWorldreviewsReview Date: 1/14/16 3:49 pm
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

And so, Dark Eyes limps to a conclusion. After four hours of drama, this is the end result of all the teases that were dropped throughout the first three stories. And, while adequately wrapping up any loose threads that have been hanging, it can hardly be called the most dynamic of finales. In complete contrast to To The Death, this is a finale that plays it very, very safe. It doesn't take any risks, and rather than feeling big and bold and epic, it just plays out like a conversation between six people. Which is mostly what it is. The first half once more does Big Finish's favourite thing: rip off The Dalek Invasion Of Earth. And, while some attempts have been successful, this isn't one of them. It's just an obvious rip-off that brings nothing new to the table. It's not unentertaining, I'd like to point out: I didn't find it overtly boring or dull, just not that intellectually stimulating. I also found that this plot never really got much resolution, but that's perhaps because of what came after. The second half is the resolution to the whole box set, and sadly it doesn't cohere into a whole properly. The stakes have been raised so high across the previous three stories, and the first half of this story pushes them up even more with regards to Molly's part in the Dalek plan. However, the rather trite 'cop out' nature of the whole thing just really sits at ill with me. When the plot just comes down to having 'swapped' around the particles, you have to wonder what was the whole point? As I said earlier, satisfactory, but not fulfilling. I also didn't like how the whole impetus of this box set (that of seeing how the Doctor copes after the death of Lucie Miller) was just completely ignored, bar one scene that was thrown in to try and bring it to some conclusion. I did think, however, that Paul McGann and Ruth Bradley did just about carry it off, despite the slightly sloppily written material. Throughout this episode I thought they did a really great job at carrying off the story. I also really liked Peter Egan and Toby Jones, who are finally brought directly to the fore and given probably the best and most satisfying part of the plot in the whole box set. The twist was one I really didn't see coming, and I loved the dynamic between the two, which came off really well. I did think the character of Nadeyan was a little laboured, but I did think that Ian Cullen did a lot with the part. I also would like to speak Nick Briggs' praise as a voice of the Daleks. Throughout this box set, I've thought he has done a fantastic job, and it can be quite easy to forget to praise him, since he does them all the time. I particularly like the Dalek Time Controller in this, as Briggs starts to give him even more of an individual character in his own right in this story, despite the fact that in plot terms, he has nothing really to do. Once more, Briggs' direction is also fantastic, and while the final confrontations could have been a little shout-y, Briggs keeps them on the right side of dramatic, without going over the top. Andy Hardwick's music and sound design continues to impress, with some really dramatic pieces during the final moments. Overall, X And The Daleks, while being enjoyable in places, left me feeling very cold at points. There were some good moments, but I just thought a lot of it didn't quite come together as I was hoping. It ends Dark Eyes on a bit of a sour note, which, despite it's amazing first episode, has been unable to elicit any response out of this listener bar frustration at the massively wasted potential.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
4
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: NewWorldreviewsReview Date: 1/13/16 1:42 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Tangled Web is perhaps one of the most irritating Doctor Who stories of all time. For two-thirds of the runtime, the story seems to be building some great ideas and plot into it's mix. But then, along comes one twist which just seems to feel not only totally predictable, but also one that ruins any great work that was done in the first two-thirds. Suffice to say, listening to Tangled Web is a rather frustrating experience. To start with, it does seem as if it's going to follow it's predecessor Fugitives, by jumping all through time. However, after a huge info-dump at the beginning of the story, things finally settle down into a more relaxed pace, and the middle sections of the story definitely do show off why Dark Eyes is highly regarded by some. The conversation between the Doctor and Molly after the time-clamping of the TARDIS about hope is probably one of the box set's strongest moments. The character of Molly is really developed here, and, despite some irritatingly crabby moments in other parts of the story, she feels much more like a companion of the Doctor here: someone that can definitely be related too, rather than the cold, detached cypher in Fugitives (although some of her habits like calling the TARDIS 'Tardy Box' are still really irritating). The lovely way she sees that maybe she is a burden to the Doctor is really touching, and I really liked how she seemed quite reflective about the idea of her maybe going home. The Doctor also goes through a really good journey here too. This story really does pick up upon the idea that the Doctor has hardened himself more after the death of Lucie Miller, and his reluctance to accept that the Daleks have changed is a really nice plot idea that is developed across the episode. Unlike the characterisation in the last episode, which just seemed thrown in at random points where it was convenient, this was consistently developed. The plot I did think was a little slight in this section, but I thought the characterisation and ideas certainly made up for it. And what powerful ideas they are: after a devastating war with the Time Lords, the Daleks turned good and decided to establish Skaro as a planet of peace. Now, if that's not an enticing concept full of rich potential, then I don't know what is. And this is where the story sings: because it's got a great idea and some fantastic work is being done with it's characters. Sure, we have Straxus interrupting events, but overall our attention is focused upon what's going on with the Doctor and Molly. But then comes the twist, and I'm sorry to say that this is where the story starts to unravel. It just ends up coming across as an attempt to do something brave and then just chicken out at the last minute. In many ways, the twist is like the reveal of the Master in UNIT Dominion: shocking. But, while that twist allowed that story to shift up a gear, this actually restricted this story, and it just ended up feeling badly misjudged and mishandled. It's a shame, because up till that point, this was a very enjoyable episode. We also get some really badly handled foreshadowing in the last third, and a poor cliff-hanger, which just seems like an attempt to throw them into danger for the next part of the box set. As said, the characterisation of the Doctor and Molly was fantastic, but the rest of the characters never really got the time they needed to breath properly. Straxus and Kotris are definitely remaining interesting, although most of that is through Moffat-style mystery and intriguing words, rather than anything actually puzzling. The acting in this part though once more continues to be superb, with Paul McGann and Ruth Bradley now really well bonded. The pair bounce off each other really well, and I think the dynamic they have together is superb. I'd also like to single out Toby Jones for praise, as a lot of what makes Kotris such a cool villain is due to him. He really brings a lot of much needed menace to the part. The rest of the cast were similarly excellent, as was Nicholas Briggs' constantly strong direction. I really loved the way that he brought out subtle nuances in the script throughout, and I thought he did a really great job with the Dalek voices too. Andy Hardwick's music and sound design was similarly fantatstic, as seems to be a recurring feature with this box set. However, Tangled Web is a major let-down. After the amazing initial promise, Tangled Web gets lost in the maze of plot elements that this box set is made up of, and a reluctance from Briggs to take a real risk with the Daleks. And that's probably why this story will never be remembered, despite the fact that, for three quarters of it, it deserves to be.