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< 154. The Witch From the Well
156. The Curse of Davros >

155. Army of Death

Rating Votes
10
6%
6
9
6%
6
8
16%
15
7
27%
25
6
27%
25
5
15%
14
4
2%
2
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
6.8
Votes
93

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
NR
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/17/18 6:06 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Army of Death continues the series of adventures where Mary Shelley accompanies the 8th Doctor. Mary is a great companion and the relationship between the two is really good. This adventure is more light hearted than the previous couple with more humour (although humour in the previous stories was present and was well judged). The plot involves a situation of warring cities that have ended up in complete turmoil and armies of 'dead' attacking. It does not sound funny but there is quite a lot of comedic material inserted into the script.

Perhaps it is partly the humour that takes the edge off the dramatic impact of this serial and partly it just gets a bit muddled and does not maximise its potential. Not a bad story at all, pretty good in many respects but quite run of the mill and not particularly exceptional.

My ratings: Episodes 1 & 3 - 7.5/10, Episodes 2 & 4 - 7/10

Overall: 7.25/10
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 1/16/16 12:07 am
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

The Doctor and Mary arrive on a planet in turmoil where there are two cities one of which apparently wiped itself out, whiel the other is being invaded by an army of skeleton even while trying to maintain a state of martial law on orders from its new and quite uncertain President (David Harewood.)

There's a lot to like about this. Paul McGann is wonderfully playful and fun as the Eighth Doctor and the Doctor is at his most charming. While these features are always present, the headier nature of previous stories have led to them being muted. It's a delight to hear. I loved when the doctor renamed the clunkily named robots. He's joined by some of the most solid guest actors I've heard on a Big Finish play with Harewood, Carolyn Pickles, and Eva Pope all turning in top notch performances. The script does a great job developing its characters. The concept is impressive and creepy. I liked how the modern idea of a cloud server is the inspiration for a technology in the story. There's also a nice plot twist in part three that turns everything on its head.

On the downside, there are a few minor things that bothered me inclduing how some of the guest characters were dispatched. But the biggest problem in this release was actually the biggest asset in the previous story. In Witch from the Well, Mary Shelley was the type of companion that could handle herself when thrown nearly 200 years into her own future. And she showed similar strength as a character in The Silver Turk. In this story, however, she's conflicted over her feelings for the Doctor and has clearly fallen for him and that drives her character. To be fair, there were subtle hints of this in the prior two stories but she's taken a big leap forward in her feelings that strains credulity. While Army of Death implies a certain number of adventures have occurred between stories, the intensity of her feeling for the Doctor feels very sudden.

Julie Cox's acting is still solid, it's just the writing that's problematic. I also liked when she questioned why the Doctor was more deeply affected by the horrors they were witnessing. Overall, the weakness in the Mary story is overcome by the strong plot and this is a very good outing for the Eighth Doctor.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 11/15/15 5:44 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Written by Jason Arnopp and directed by Barnaby Edwards 'Army of Death' is the third story in the 2011 Eighth Doctor audio trilogy, and was recorded on 7 and 8 April 2011. The trilogy started with 'The Witch from the Well' and was followed by 'The Silver Turk'. The Doctor and Mary Shelly land on the frontier world of Draxine where there has been an assassination. The dead are rising from their graves. There are utterances of supernatural forces at play.

The soundscape is nuanced, and modern sounding, but doesn't particularly pull you in. The Robot voices lack sophistication sounding silly and unconvincing. The guitar element of the music would sound more at home in a Western, and seems to chop and change between that and something more pan pipe based. The Modulation applied to Harmon’s voice makes him sound like Arcturus from 'The Curse of Peladon', and the Bone Lord sounds like Borussa from 'The Five Doctors'.

Julie Cox who, plays Mary Shelly, is a fine actress and was superb in the two preceding adventures but the character just seems to get shunted into the back ground most of the time. Mary has also started to develop a crush on the Doctor which doesn't seem to add anything to the narrative other than Mary putting the Doctor on a pedestal and ultimately feeling disappointed and leaving. Watch out for the scene after the credits of the final episode. The Bone Lord is a rather pantomime villain that makes the Master look profound. McGann gives a lively performance which is nice as sometimes he just sounds too laid back. Shame the story couldn't match his enthusiasm.

There are a lot of elements that don't quite gel for me. The effects are unsophisticated and average, but the music sits on top of the action rather than feel a part of it, the humour is glib and it's also rather tropey with corrupt and incompetent officials. The Doctor gets arrested, and split up from Mary Shelly. There are Fantasy elements thrown in with the SF elements, the flying robots, hover cars and laser guns shooting at walking skeletons. Of course, there is a pseudo-scientific reason for the walking dead and powers of darkness which means we are treated to some techno-babble to go with it. The dialogue is another weak point. Harmon going on about Powers of Darkness and shattering bones are unbelievably two dimensional. I know villains aren't always the most nuanced of character, but it's not just him, his dialogue is just the easiest to pick out: "I shall shatter this force field then I shall shatter you, Bone by Bone!"

I always find the political intrigue of an alien society elements of a narrative quite uninteresting. This story bears similarities to 'Creature from the Pit' and the TV Peladon stories all of which I quite like. You don't need to have heard the other trilogy stories to appreciate any one in isolation, but hearing 'Mary's Story', the final story on the short story compilation 'Company of Friends' might help. It's easy to find negatives with this production because the execution is lacking, but this is actually more middle of the road than anything. Thankfully it's kept quite short at one and a half hours.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: komodoReview Date: 6/2/15 7:57 pm
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

This is a dark story and quite suitable for Mary Shelley.
The Doctor and companion arrive in a world torn in two as two great city-states are entangled in a war. There are terrorists, rebels, robots and a good dose of paranoid autocracy delivered by the ever-talented David Harewood.

This is just the background though as we add to it, an army of undead creatures.

For the second story in a row, Doctor and Mary are seperated and effectively experience different stories. In this case they are based our of seperate cities rather than different times, though once again, Mary's story is less significant than the Doctors, which seems a lost opportunity. It seems rather than makng her a good character with a good adventure, we are seeing her being given inspiration for Frankenstein which diminishes the value of her role. Julie Cox does play her part well though and presents Mary as a very well developed character.