Reviewed By: Kamelion
Review Date: 1/31/19 7:45 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
Location : Unknown Planet
Date : Unknown
Kamelion was a new companion introduced in 1983 in the original series Fifth Doctor episode The King's Demons. It had been six years since a similar in appearance android gained massive popularity in Star Wars (C3P0) and it would be four years before science fiction watchers would be introduced to Data, yet another soon to be famous android companion in Star Trek : The Next Generation. Kamelion had the potential to become one of the core historical members of the TARDIS right up there with the likes of K9 had the terribly timed accident not happened where his Co-creator and software designer Mike Power was killed in a boating mishap right after John Nathan Turner added Kamelion to the cast. Some say there is a curse of sorts such as the deaths of writers, both Terence Dudley and Peter Grimwade, whom scripted Kamelion and both actors Gerald Flood and Dallas Adams whom portrayed his human form 'Howard Foster' in Planet of Fire, the Fifth Doctor TV episode from early 1984. Last but not least would be Craig Hintonwrote who wrote the Missing Adventure 'The Crystal Bucephalus', which featured Kamelion. He died of a heart attack, at the age of 42, in 2006. Let's hope 'Devil in the Mist" author Cavan Scott and voice actor Jon Culshaw (as Kamelion) fare much better.
When reading of this reintroduction of Kamelion on the Big Finish Website about a year ago, I went ahead and pre ordered all three stories. This one (BF247), Black Thursday / Power Game (BF248 - Feb 2019) and Kamelion Empire (BF249 - March 2019). I'm not a fan of Kamelion so to speak as his appearance in the original series was so brief I do not believe it created any fans, yet it did leave me curious as to what would have or could have been. My subscription included a digital download so I listened to this story first on the day it was released, January 14th, 2019. As with almost all Big Finish Stories I tend to listen to them twice and repeated my enjoyment of this release a second time over a period of several days.
The adventure starts out on none other than a ship out of control and headed for a crash landing with a prisoner onboard who can change form to a mist. His name is Nustanu. The life forms piloting the ship are Rako and Orna. Somehow I missed the fact that Rako and Orna appear to be hippos the first time I listened and I am glad I did. Not sure how I missed that fact considering that the very cover of the story clearly shows hippos and Tegan does state "Oh wow, space hippos". When listening the second time I used my own imagination to picture Rako and Orna as a more human form which can easily be done with the magic of audio only and just simple imagination.
Sure enough the ship does crash on an unknown planet which has a lot of mist or fog. All people stated including The Doctor, Tegan, Kamelion and Turlough escape death with escape pods. They land in different areas of the planet yet apparently by the same river. The Doctor's back is broken and Tegan is forced to make a raft and work with Kamelion whom she clearly does not like and does not trust. To see her go from the belief that Kamelion might have actually stolen her purse from her bedroom in the TARDIS and further telling Turlough that the Doctor was too trusting and should never have an andorid that used to pilot the TARDIS of The Master able to control The Doctor's TARDIS to having to trust and even help Kamelion takes up the majority of the second of the four part story. Jon Culshaw's voice as Kamelion and the electronic treatment of it by Big Finish sound gurus makes for a fantastic reintroduction to Kamelion. I was left wondering if Kamelion actually has a sense of humor or if his flat statements of facts are humorous in their irony.
This story does not appear to mention which planet they crash on nor what year or point in time it is, unless I missed both of those facts twice. I really wish writers would be more responsible about such facts and I say that with a grain of salt as it may actually be mentioned and I missed it. This is the first review I have ever written for Time Scales and I am uncertain as to if it can be edited once submitted so I am open to being wrong about the missing planet time and date or point in time.
Tegan can be super skeptical as that just seems to be at the very core of her personality. When she started to question whether The Doctor was being too trusting to allow Kamelion to travel in the TARDIS even accusing him of sabotaging the controls, while I always felt she was wrong it did make me question The Doctor's motivations and possible misplaced trust myself.
Any whovian whom enjoys a great trek with Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor should most certainly enjoy this story with Tegan, Turlough and Kamelion. The music is amazing and powerful. It put a smile on my face several times and was a true great escape from reality as this form of Sci-Fi is intended to be. From the lovely opening and closing themes it took me back to my old couch in the San Francisco bay area in the mid 1980's when I first watched Peter Davison's tenure on KVIE Channel 6. It felt exactly like that era yet better as audio stories allows for much more scenic imaginative eye candy than a low budget TV program can consistently or ever deliver. Having seen every Fifth Doctor TV episode at least 3-4 times and now that there are more Peter Davison stories on audio than were ever on TV I have reached the point that I actually enjoy the Big Finish releases as much and often even more than the original TV episodes. His character is now developed and polished way superior than it ever was able to be on TV. This story left me very much looking forward to the next three episodes coming out in the next 6 weeks, Black Thursday, Power Game and Kamelion Empire.
"Woo hoo! Hippos in space armor. That's not something you see every day." -Tegan
"What I wouldn't give for some parachutes right about now!" -The Doctor