Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 5/17/17 5:45 pm
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In The Window on the Moor, the second story of the Ninth Doctor Chronicles, Emily BrontÃ« (Laura Riseborough) has been having strange visions of strange soldiers and a glass city, helped by a window to another world. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Rose Tyler arrive in an abandoned glass city in the midst of an unusual civil war. Worlds are about to collide, and the universe may not survive, unless the Doctor and Rose can save everyone and everything, even if they have to make some hard sacrifices. The Window on the Moor, the latest entry into the canon of stories featuring the Doctor meeting a famous historical writer (The Unicorn and the Wasp, The Shakespeare Code, etc.), is an enjoyable romp. Featuring a strong dual performance by Laura Riseborough, and a strong script by Una McCormack, this script stands out compared to the first story. While it gets a little confusing at times, and Briggs' impression of the Ninth Doctor is still jarring, I found myself enjoying this story a lot more.
Laura Riseborough takes on the role of Emily BrontÃ« for this story. Portraying historical figures is always a challenge compared to playing an original character, but Riseborough does an excellent job here, becoming a highlight of this story. Her performance as both Emily BrontÃ« and Ada, the lookalike to Emily BrontÃ« from another dimension, is extremely strong. She's able to portray the fiery passion of Emily in once scene, and is then able to turn on a dime to portray the more sensitive, reserved Ada. It's a strong performance by Riseborough, and one of the highlights of the set. Briggs' work narrating and portraying several bit characters is still strong. It's impressive what the man is able to do, because he's able to give life to each and every character, and makes them sound unique. However, his impression of the Ninth Doctor is still a jarring impression, as every time I hear it, it snaps me out of the story. I've found it a bit difficult to concentrate because of the impression. I really wish Briggs had stuck with trying to capture the feel and do a subtler performance, rather than trying to do a dead-on impression of Eccleston, because the results are just not that good.
The story itself was a strong entry by writer Una McCormack. Featuring a delightfully written historical character, an interesting, if sometimes confusing, plot about alternate dimensions and family feuds. McCormack was able to reign in the confusing and disparate aspects of her script to create something quite interesting, and arguably the best Ninth Doctor story from Big Finish yet. The catalyst of this story, the mist that allowed travel from this glass city dimension to the real world was an extremely interesting concept created by McCormack. I quite liked how it was used, both in the glass city dimension, how it was a means of escape, and a desire for Julius, as well as how it was a place for Emily BrontÃ« to escape from her life, and draw inspiration. It was a fascinating concept, made all the better by the Doctor's refusal to allow the technology to continue existing after Julius, Alexandro, and his men disappear into another dimension. Beyond the strong story, McCormack delivered a dead funny script, filled with little references and, as with Cavan Scott's script, absolutely nailing the charm of the Ninth Doctor. Lines like the Doctor thinking the hulking, brutish solider is fantastic, and Rose's line about not having read Wuthering Heights, but knowing it from the Kate Bush song were fun little lines that really added a certain charm to the script that was missing in the opening story. The script was filled with cheeky little lines like that, and it made for a funny script, for a rather serious story. And while McCormack's script was a bit too ambitious at times, and the constant changes in scene became a bit jarring at times, the overall product was a strong, enjoyable story.
Overall, The Window on the Moor was an extremely enjoyable story. With a strong guest star in Laura Riseborough, a mostly strong performance by Nicholas Briggs (except where it counted with his impression of the Ninth Doctor), and a funny, complicated, and enjoyable script by Una McCormack, this story really stands out, much more so than the opening story. It had a fascinating, complicated sci-fi plot, an enjoyable driving plot with the civil war between uncle and nephew, and a fun appearance by Emily BrontÃ«, this story really had a lot going for it. McCormack was juggling a lot of balls with this story, and she managed to successfully catch them all, and it makes for one of the more enjoyable stories I've heard so far.