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

155. Army of Death

Rating Votes
10
7%
6
9
7%
6
8
16%
15
7
25%
23
6
27%
25
5
15%
14
4
2%
2
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
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Average Rating
6.8
Votes
91

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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:
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Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
5
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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
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7
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9
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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.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 3/17/15 9:32 am
1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

This is a politically charged play here, or so we are told, however, in truth this is a light-heated romp, which ends the three play triad of the Doctor and Mary Shelly adventures, there are heavy and subtle hints however, in the writing of this play they Big Finish could bring the character back. We also gets flashes throughout of the growing affection of the Mary towards the Doctor, although their is a reservation in Mary's affections, as we hear, she, identifies that fundamentally he is not human and therefore he does not have quite the same spin on things as say her husband Percy. That aside Mary plays little to part in this production really, she is more supporting cast.

We find out intrepid heroes landing on the planet of Draxine, they are to visit the city of Stronghaven, their is another city Garrak. However the leader of Garrak as decided to blow himself and everyone in the city to peaces. The president of Stronghaven as been assassinated as well, and the killer is now on the loose. To say it is bad day to visit is an understatement.

Needless to say the Doctor and Mary are immediately thrust into the events, by coming into the company of Nia Brusk the alleged assassin of the President of Stronghaven and her accomplice. However The Doctor is soon separated from Nia and Mary due to flying droid soldiers who capture the Doctor, taking him back to Stronghaven for questioning. Meanwhile Mary and Nia witness the death of Nia companion at the hands of the skeleton army that seems to have appeared since the death of the president of Garrak. This army is making it's way to Stronghaven for some unexplained reason, couple this with the fact that the new President of Stronghaven, a man of very weak mental health, is now seeing and hearing the dead president that has been assassinated, it is not long before the Doctor is unearthing a more dastardly plot as to why the events are playing out in the manner that they are.

This is the final part of the Mary and No.8's time together, the door is firmly left open for her return however, the story is mediocre at best, the idea of a surpressed class of people and the fight for what is right, is not a new theme, but the execution here is muddied at best. Mcgann is always superb and he does what he can with the material. The standout for me was David Harewood as Vallen the mentally challenged leader of Stronghaven, whom comes across as actually living through this very uncompromising time.