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Reviews By traves8853
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User Rating:
8
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 1/3/17 2:09 pm
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The Seeds of Death is a rather odd production. It doesn’t feel right that there is no backstory for anybody and the Krynoid didn’t need to be extra-terrestrial and if it had escaped from a government research facility then that would be a nice change and might explain why the Doctor is introduced hanging around a civil servant's office.

It’s free from running around corridors, but instead, the Doctor runs around the countryside punching people. That coupled with the Bond-esque villains gives it a very action man feel.

The traitorous civil servant is very perfunctory. I don’t think his change of heart is explained and is an aspect of the story that feels very glossed over.

I know the acting in Doctor Who isn’t the most realistic but Chase and Scoby and his mate are Graham-Williams-era type over the top.
I am not saying it’s bad, but it lacks the hallmarks of DW greatness.
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 12/12/16 8:04 pm
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‘The Boy That Time Forgot’, by Paul Magrs, is a story that inserts itself into the continuity of the programme’s history and leaves me feeling divided. On the one hand, the idea behind the story is quite inventive. On the other hand, it undermines the poignancy of Adric’s death in ‘Earthshock’, the dialogue is often just plain wrong and the two Victorian characters are flat caricatures. Block computation also makes a return.

The premise being that Adric managed to escape his death in ‘Earthshock’ by using Block Transfer Computation; consequently, creating a world where he lives and is served by his scorpion subjects. After many years, Adric decides to use Block Transfer Computation to summon the Doctor and Nyssa with two Victorian spectators who don’t appreciate the detour in their daily routine. Andrew Sachs’ raving interpretation of a long isolated Adric is sublime. Magrs script paints the character as resentful and slightly reminiscent of Omega. Peter and Sarah are spot-on with their performances and the soundscape is rich and vivid as always.

The story has a strong fantasy element with people moving through time by chanting numbers and Adric trapped in his own pocket universe achieving certain feats by sheer will power, (c.f. Omega). Adric veers between sinister and silly at times and while some may criticise this as inconsistent characterisation, I enjoyed the unpredictability. Paul Magr’s script sets a good pace with lots of action but can be heavy with technobabble and exposition. (Is it still technobabble if it’s fantasy? ) The absence of the Tardis creates some genuine suspense but the resolution frees this story of any consequences and makes the whole adventure rather moot.

Ultimately, I think this was a good story that feels like a first draft, I found this too inconsistent and too fantasy based with bad dialogue and flat, pointless supporting characters. This is counterbalanced with good production values and interesting ideas. Entertaining but uneven.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 12/11/16 1:39 am
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The story is set during the Mau Mau uprising in 1950’s Kenya, and Klein has taken refuge with a group of British imperialists. People are mysteriously being savagely killed. Under pressure Klein and a companion-less Doctor decide to join forces. This story starts a trilogy and is followed by Klein’s Story and Survival of the Fittest. This audio drama was recorded on 25 and 26 June 2009 at The Moat Studios and was available on BBC Radio 4 Extra from 23 May 2012 to 24 May 2012.

As Klien is teamed up with the Doctor she poses no real threat. The other characters are pretty paper thin. The plot is deceptively simple but enjoyable. This story is certainly a cut above average and has the atmosphere of a base-under-siege-type story. This could be because there are really only two settings: the farmhouse and the countryside. This works both for and against the story. The world created lacks depth but builds up suspense nicely. There are a few painfully trite philosophical points about the British Empire being similar to the Nazis but from a different perspective, lifeforms that are different are not necessarily inferior, and there is strength in numbers.

That being said: Lisa Bowerman’s directing is focused and gives everything cohesion. The sound effects and music create a vivid landscape. This is wedded to Andy Lane’s classy story filled with fine performances. The suspense increases throughout and McCoy plays the Doctor with authority. Also, The Doctor indicates that Ace has left by this point. A Thousand Tiny Wings manages to rise above any perceived faults and definitely above average.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 10/16/16 4:16 am
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‘Embrace the Darkness’ was recorded on 22 January, 25 January and 26 January 2001. It was both written and directed by Nick Briggs. This was originally intended to feature the Morestrans (Planet of Evil) instead of the Throxillians, but Big Finish failed to obtain the rights from the BBC.

The Tardis lands on a scientific base to investigate a missing sun in the Cimmerian system. The Doctor and Charley are soon confronted by ROSM, a large security robot. Detecting harmful bacteria within Charley, the robot puts up a security shield around the Tardis and tries to annihilate Charley as she escapes to the planet’s surface, where she meets Orllensa and Mike. Orllensa, Mike, and later a third member of the crew, Haliard, have all had their eyes removed by the Cimmerians; Charley appears to be next.

The ethereal atmosphere is suitably creepy with sounds and effects that help detail the surroundings. Lots of haunting yet futuristic technical and industrial sounds in the manmade environments, for example. On the planet itself, there were lots of chime and Theremin sounds. The whispering, hissing voices of the Cimmerians, voiced by Ian Brooker, were particularly good, and a far cry from the usual over-modulated alien voices Big Finish tend to go for.

We missed a great Doctor in Paul McGann, but his performance here is quite laid back. India Fischer, however, rarely has an off day. Thick caricature foreign accents and thin characterisation are the stock-in-trade of early big finish. But by the end, we know very little about the crew of the scientific base on Cimmeria IV. Personally, I found it hard to invest interest with such a shortage of backstory, apart from Orllensa telling Charlie a bit about herself in the third episode but it’s too little too late. Also in the Companion Chronicles adventure, Solitaire, the Celestial Toymaker refers to the Solarians in a riddle.

‘Embrace the Darkness’ is an average story that lacks the narrative content to fill four episodes (just like old times, eh?). The Doctor gets everything wrong in this one and doesn’t save the day but misinterprets the danger which I found interesting and refreshing. The production values were good, but losing an episode, or two, would help to inject a bit of pace.

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