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2. Phantasmagoria >

1. The Sirens of Time

Rating Votes
10
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9
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5
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18
7
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43
6
33%
57
5
21%
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Average Rating
6.2
Votes
175
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Joseph MorrisonReview Date: 5/20/19 9:56 pm
5 out of 5 found this review helpful.

The Sirens of Time is a difficult story to review, for a number of reasons. It's not just because it's Big Finish's very first Doctor Who audio, but also because there's a fair number of issues here. The plot is rather uneven, especially as each story jumps around with different settings, times and characters. Some of the individual vinaigrette's are quite decent, but I don't think they quite come together properly.

Each of the three Doctors gets an episode to themselves, before joining forces in the final episode. Out of the three, the Fifth Doctor gets the best story, with a neat, self-contained little section regarding the Doctor getting captured aboard a German U-Boat (there are definitely some Das Boot touches to this section). However, the over-arching narrative hangs rather loosely over the episodes, and ending each segment on an unresolved cliffhanger is probably a mistake. The Seventh Doctor's episode is easily the weakest: not a lot happens, and some of the characters are far too arch to be interesting. The Sixth Doctor's episode is decent, but it ends up basically folded into the main plot towards the end, so it's hard to count it on it's own terms. The final episode is decent, but basically ends up becoming a dumping ground for plot and exposition, and the multi-Doctor interaction (what the story is being sold on really) feels flat as a result.

It's nice to hear Peter, Colin and Sylvester back on audio, despite the weak plotting. Sylvester can't quite get a grasp on the material, however, and, while some lines are fine, others fall flat. Both Peter and Colin, however, are exemplary, and manage to help lift their own episodes. Sarah Mowat is also very convincing as the four different 'companion' characters, making each one distinct and different in their own right. Mark Gatiss also gives a very subtle performance as the U-Boat Captain in episode 2, and his scenes with Peter Davison are a joy. The rest of the cast are pretty decent, especially as most are playing multiple roles. I have to be honest, however, and say that Maggie Stables' performance was pretty terrible. The cod German accent that she puts on is at odds with the material, and it just means the character doesn't convince.

The soundscapes, while fairly crude by modern Big Finish standards, are still pretty good. Some of the effects, such as the spaceship crashes in episode 1, don't quite work, and so it's hard to discern what is going on at points. However, it is fairly impressive for 1999, and most of it still works today. Briggs' work on episode 2, in particular, brings the whole story to life wonderfully.

Overall, The Sirens of Time is an average first audio for Big Finish. There's a lot that doesn't quite work, but also there is plenty of potential for the future. It's a bit of a mixed bag overall, but there is lots of individual elements that work well, and would be developed in future.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
4
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
3
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
3
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Danny_DeYCheetoReview Date: 4/15/19 4:44 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Here's where it all began; the first ever audio play presented to us, the adoring fan base, by our Lord and Saviour Big Finish productions. After decades off air, the fan base was granted a tiny piece of salvation, a small oasis in a desert of boredom. It is, however, such a shame then that "The Sirens of Time" was such a disappointment. Don't get me wrong - I don't hate it, by any means; it's just painfully mediocre, which is such a shame for the pilot episode to a franchise that would eventually become such a roaring success.

Multi-Doctor stories have often ben a topic of controversy within the fandom: while some adore them, even Steven Moffat has publicly voiced disdain for them. I fall somewhere in the middle; while they can be done fantastically, they can also fall flat on their face - like they do this time.

There are, for me, two things that multi-Doctor stories should complete to remain successful:

1. High stakes and a plausible reason for a reunion between multiple incarnations - for example, in "Day of the Doctor" three incarnations are brought together to avert the destruction of Gallifrey. While the stakes are relatively high in "Sirens of Time", and the sirens themselves are a fairly interesting concept, the reason for unification is slightly ham-handed.

2. Banter between multiple Doctors. This is where Sirens fall flat on its face. While Briggs did have a difficult task as he was dealing with what are some of the worst Doctors in who history (in my opinion at least), Six had yet to be saved in "The Marian Conspiracy" and his following adventures, and the three incarnations seem to get on too well. Good dialogue is generally created through tensions; the Doctors unfortunately get on like best friends. This partly the fault of only one part dealing with the three of them, however.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
4
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: GuiannosReview Date: 9/26/18 2:20 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

I should preface this by saying that I usually find multi Doctor stories disappointing. Coming to The Sirens of Time after hearing some of Big Finish's later (and far superior) output doesn't do this story any favors. The plot is a bit thin and the acting isn't terrible but also isn't anyone's best. I'm sure it was fantastic as a revival of the TV series when it was released but it's hardly required listening when stacked against everything that came after.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
4
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
3
Replay Rating:
NR
Effects Rating:
3
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: clemgeoReview Date: 6/6/18 12:32 pm
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

“The Sirens of Time” (“Les Sirènes du temps”) est le galop d’essai de Big Finish et ça s’entend : une histoire brouillonne avec des effets sonores mal dosées. Par curiosité.

Niveau de difficulté : +++
Résumé détaillé : http://www.drwhoguide.com/who_bf01.htm

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Français anglophone et Doctor Who-phile, je me suis lancé en 2017 dans l’exploration des productions de Big Finish. J’espère que mes avis aideront d’autres « whoviens » francophones à sauter le pas.
Voici mon échelle de difficulté :
+ : facile à comprendre
++ : quelques détails m’ont échappé mais cela ne nuit pas à la compréhension générale
+++ : quelques détails clés de l’intrigue m’ont échappé (à compléter par la lecture de résumés en ligne) / peut demander des connaissances en histoire britannique
++++ : une large partie de l’histoire m’a échappé / histoire difficilement audible (déformation de voix, etc.)

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As an English-speaking French Whovian, I threw myself into the exploration of Big Finish productions in 2017. I hope my reviews will help other French-speaking Whovians to take the plunge.

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