Reviewed By: traves8853
Review Date: 1/1/16 7:41 pm
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'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.