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< 4.4 - Death Match
4.6 - The Cloisters of Terror >

4.5 - Suburban Hell

Rating Votes
10
5%
3
9
23%
13
8
35%
20
7
19%
11
6
12%
7
5
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2
4
2%
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Average Rating
7.7
Votes
57
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User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
7
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7
Replay Rating:
5
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5
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 2/18/19 5:49 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

"Suburban Hell" sees a wrinkle in time bring the Doctor and Leela sans TARDIS to a foggy suburban dinner party in north London. A dark mystery spanning over 40 years is about to come to fruition with timey-wimey antics, a guest with a fascinating secret, and blue-skinned beings who have a particular taste for the guests.

It's certainly a different story with some fun concepts and ideas and Alan Barnes' script really makes a good go of making something truly memorable. The atmosphere and soundscape are fine enough and both Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are again great in their performances. But unfortunately, this one struggles with some of it's smaller elements and doesn't come off quite as strong as others in this range. The side cast is all really irritating particularly the main couple of Belinda and Ralph. I've always detested characters with a loveless married relationship in stories and Belinda and Ralph are the absolute epitomai of that trope. The villains start off really interesting and intimidating but become less so over time especially in the over the top way that they talk and the balance between humor and serious threat is really mishandled.

It really feels like an early Russell T. Davies story with the Fourth Doctor and Leela as opposed to the Ninth Doctor and Rose with a dash of Steven Moffat's "The Lodger" just for good measure but it's done in a way that feels like an inferior copy of both despite some of the more intriguing elements. That's not to say that the story is entertaining at least at first and for Fourth Doctor fans, "Suburban Hell" is certainly an engaging romp. But it's not one you'll remember once it's over and compared to other standouts of the series especially with this team, I found myself feeling rather disappointed with it. 
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
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Reviewed By: MegaplumfinityReview Date: 3/4/18 3:14 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

In a nutshell, the fourth Doctor and Leela attend Abigail's Party in the late 70s, with a sci-fi twist. This is lots of fun, well acted and with spot-on details. The plot goes timey-wimey and gets a little confusing but the resolution is neat and overall this is an engaging winner.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
8
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10
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Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 1/1/16 7:41 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

'Suburban Hell' written by Alan Barnes is a tale about monsters in suburbia. As The Doctor and Leela investigate a temporal ruckage they start a chain of events that doesn't reach beyond a residential house but does span four decades. It's genuinely nice to hear a 'Doctor Who' adventure that features time travel as a plot device and not merely a get out clause. Alan Barnes also tries to blend drama, horror and comedy. While he undoubtedly succeeds with the first two I found the comedy to be missing a note, not that it particularly bothered me. The story was still well-plotted and entertaining.

'Suburban Hell' reminds me of Blink. Both are very creative and original affairs that share a similar use of time as a plot device, but where they differ is the number of characters. Blink didn't even feature The Doctor and his companion in anything other than a cameo capacity. Here we have seven including the Doctor and Leela plus the priest and acolytes make it closer to ten, but when the characters are this engaging, who cares?

Regardless of what you think of this audio, Big Finish should be lauded for finally moving away from by the numbers storytelling and taking the plunge into trying something wholly new with the fourth Doctor range, but more than that they have actually pulled it off very well. The only real fault (for want of a better word) is that in the second episode the narrative jumps back and forth between the past and the present for purposes of exposition, and it's this toing and froing, that makes it a little hard to keep up with what is quite a pacey story anyway. Also, I thought the plot was a bit mechanical at times. So, because of the dull humour and at times unclear narrative, this misses out on top marks from me, but it would be churlish to deny that that the writing is first class and that this is a very memorable and enjoyable story, possibly, the best of this series. The Fourth Doctor range is probably the most inconsistent in terms of quality (for me, at least), but when it fails it doesn't do so that badly and when it succeeds - like this - it makes it all worthwhile.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
5
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Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 9/1/15 8:05 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

This is Abigail’s Party meets Who, however what Alan Barnes has failed in my opinion to do here is make a cohesive, and in some ways coherent drama that is easy to follow. Although I would listen to Tom Baker read the ingredients of a packet of crisps, he is simply that good, it is just a shame that this is not really up to par in regards to the other adventures that Big Finish have put out in this season of Tom Baker stories. The story is a “timewimey” one where by Tom is in one time frame and Leela is in another. Battling the forces of snarling Acolyte who want to get back their proverbial daughter. Add to this one of the neighbours in the street who is also a time battling alien entity, then you can start to form the mental picture that when we add this into an audio drama, even with the skilled cast that we have, it just sort of doesn’t hit the mark.

I am not going to waffle on about how good or bad this is, or how it could be altered to be better, lets just say that this so far is the most disappointing release of this current run