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Reviews By JMChurch25
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Avg Rating:
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 4/24/19 4:16 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

'Auntie Matter' is one of the rarer stories in the time of the Fourth Doctor that features the first incarnation of Romana played by Mary Tamm. It brings together a strange plot of alien technology, British fops, and a Downton Abbey-like setting that sounds fairly dry on the surface. But the script by Jonathan Morris never takes itself too seriously and there is a fair amount of macabre humor that works like gangbusters. It's not the funniest script in the world and at times some moments are handled in a fairly predictable fashion. But the whole affair has a strange Blackadder-ish feel to it that when combined with this era of the show and this particular Doctor succeeds marvelously in keeping things engaging.

The cast is also incredibly good in general with Tom Baker's Doctor once again on point leading the way. Julia McKenzie is great as a sinister alien aunt, Robert Portal's Reginald is a hilariously foppish British aristocrat, and Lucy Griffith's maid character is a fun surrogate companion to the Doctor while Romana is handling her own situation. Speaking of which, Mary Tamm really is the highlight of the story jumping back into the role of Romana like she never left. Her calm intellectual composure combined with a higher sense of kind arrogance is perfectly suited to this kind of environment and she's really the driving force of the story more than the Doctor is. It really makes you realize just how much potential was lost with her passing in 2012 and the audio does have a tribute to Mary included in its runtime which alone makes the story well worth it for fans of her character.

I do sort of wish the pair of leads had more time together over the course of the story as they are separated fairly early on with no real interaction between the beginning and end. But considering where both characters are led and how good the pay off ends up being, this is a particular instance where it doesn't bother too much and it does give you more individual time to get to know this incarnation of our Time Lady.

Despite some sound issues that make some voices hard to hear as well as all the minor issues mentioned, 'Auntie Matter' is a fantastic little adventure that gives you an enjoyable mix of drama, sci-fi, and atmosphere without overstaying it's welcome. It also provides you with some of the best Tom Baker and Mary Tamm have to offer which in itself is a marvel and a rarity and it's a new addition to my favorite stories that's well worth checking out. 
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 4/23/19 4:34 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

"Point of Entry" is the primary story of the Lost Stories range that seemed the most interesting on the surface. There's a fair amount of potential in a premise like the Doctor becoming involved with the creation of the play 'Doctor Faustus' in Elizabethan England and it ends up working as a decent if not amazing adventure.

When the Sixth Doctor and Peri are forced to land after an encounter with a mysterious asteroid, they are drawn into a fascinating adventure of emaciated spirits, blood sacrifices, screaming asteroids, and the playwright Christopher Marlowe all thrown into the mix. It has a lot in common with the Tenth Doctor's "Shakespeare Code" albeit but with a much darker and bloodier edge to it that makes it stand out like "Son of the Dragon" did for the Fifth Doctor and team. However, it's not nearly as good as said story and it struggles a lot more with what it's trying to do.

This is another story that I was desperate to like and be engaged with completely but yet it never really gets there. The script by Barbara Clegg and Marc Platt is much more prone to describing things rather than using the soundscape and audio to its full advantage and as a result, many of the stronger moments come across as depressingly dull. As an example, there's one moment in particular where the Doctor is being tortured on the rack that should be graphic and fairly horrific. But honestly, with the nonchalant way each character treats the moment and with how much exposition is dumped on us at that moment, I could barely tell or really give a damn. The whole story is like that with great ideas handled exceedingly poorly and it makes the audio more boring than it has any right to be. 

Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are both fine as the mains but it's not really the best story for either of them and Baker in particularly doesn't really get as much to do as he should. It's a shame considering how strong his incarnation is with languages in the future so this kind of thing really should be his element but his performance doesn't stand out and this could've been done with any Doctor/companion team and worked just as well. Thankfully, there are some strong side characters that do pick up a bit of the slack with Luis Soto's Spaniard Velez terrifying with a great look and vibe that sent plenty of chills up my spine and Matt Addis' Kit Marlowe handled in a tragic Vincent Van Gogh kind of way in the narrative. There are plenty of individual moments that do work such as the discovery of an eviscerated young man in the stocks that reminded me greatly of a similar moment in 'Dragon' and the links back to Aztec lore in conjunction with the Spanish touches are a very nice touch.

These qualities may be enough to redeem the story and save it from mediocrity but it's nowhere near enough to push it much farther than that much less make it good. As a story, "Point of Entry" is definitely one of the stronger adventures in the 'Lost Stories' range and it's certainly not a complete waste of time. But there are many other audio stories that tackle these darker themes so much better and it's frankly one of the most disappointing stories I've ever heard from this particular team.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 4/22/19 2:47 pm
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

'Monsters of Gokroth' starts off a new trilogy of Seventh Doctor stories that see the return of Mags the werewolf from the TV story "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy". Her journey on a planet terrorized by a mad scientist and a forest full of monsters sets up a Gothic tale that brings fateful reunions, nasty encounters, and hidden surprises. A monstrous fight is about to begin and the Doctor and Mags are about to be caught right in the middle.

It's a grotesque, creepy, and often times horrifying story that plays with the 'who is the monster' premise exceedingly well. There are plot points from all sorts of other horror stories such as "Frankenstein", "The Island of Dr. Moreau", "Nightbreed", and of course the titular 'Wolfman' that all sort of coalesce together into a messy but very entertaining whole. If monster movies are your jam, then this audio is really going to appeal to you as Matt Fitton's script revels in the tropes, atmosphere, and plot points of the genre in all its forms. Over the course of the adventure, there are enough large scale fights, paranoia, creepy castles, and rowdy townsfolk with plenty of surprises to keep any horror fans or Doctor Who fans happy.

The cast is pretty good though there are a couple of weak links that do stand out. It's nice to hear Jessica Martin back as Mags playing a conflicted character struggling with her condition but still a good person at her core. Sylvester McCoy's Doctor almost takes a side role in the story but is still as good as ever and there's a surprising amount of depth and sympathy brought to Andrew Fettes' Gor that makes his ultimate fate heart-breaking even if it is appropriate given the story itself. However, Victoria Yeates' mad scientist character doesn't quite work in regards to what the story is trying to be. By herself, she's ok and she fits the image and theme of the story. But the higher tone of her voice and her weaker personality is a sharp contrast to what she's supposed to be and she's easily the weakest character despite having a cool design on the cover.

There's also a side element with another traveling menagerie led by a mercenary monster hunter played by Jeremy Hitchen that ties into the main plot but still feels a bit unnecessary. I honestly didn't want another circus-like group in the story as 'Greatest Show' trod that particular path exceedingly well with these characters but that's in many ways what we're given at times especially with silly-sounding generic monster voices. By the end though, it's hard not to have fun with this story as truths are revealed that lead where you'd expect them to and Mags and the Doctor are officially pulled together. It makes 'Monsters' a very enjoyable story both on its own and as the start of new adventures with ties to the old and plenty of potential to be mined in the new. 
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
5
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 4/22/19 2:45 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

"Year of the Drex Olympics" is a Second Doctor / Jamie / Victoria Short Trip that fills in an interesting gap in Who lore and places the TARDIS team into a sports story which surprisingly hasn't been done very often in series' history. There are a lot of fun moments and circumstances that come out of that initial setup pushing Jamie and especially Victoria into places that they might never have experienced otherwise and it's a fun expansion of their characters as the surprise effects of the games begin to take hold of them. There are also some neat little touches in how Paul Ebb's script introduces some of these concepts into the Whoniverse and it's a fun chance for something different from this era of Doctor Who.

However, other motivations are of course at play behind what's going on and not just the prominent one described in the synopsis. It's at this point after a fairly innovative first half that the story begins to fall flat as the entire premise of the competition is more or less dropped in favor of a boringly standard conflict over an obvious plot device. The narrative falls into the tricky trap of trying to force another conflict that's been done to death in much better stories elsewhere and the rest of the story ends up suffering for it as a result. There are also some strange lines that are written in a very weird way especially in how each event is described and the way it ends up handling the whole purpose of the story feels like a bit of a cop-out in a very rushed climax. Even with Frazer Hines' voice providing great narration and another near-perfect imitation of this TARDIS team, the tale really struggles in keeping your attention, especially with a minimal soundscape that's dull even for a Short Trip.

In trying to be unique even despite an obvious lack of confidence from its writer, "Year of the Drex Olympics does certainly try with elements that do work and are fun to hear for Second Doctor fans. But it's spoiled almost completely by a change in direction and motivation that ruins a good chunk of what was set up and wastes some amazing potential that could've been tapped otherwise. This is an adventure that's absolutely begging for not just a more exciting atmosphere and a full cast but from some major fine-tuning of story and script to take full advantage of its premise. In better hands, this story could've been an absolute knockout. As it stands now, it's disappointingly merely passable.  

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