Reviews for all items:

There are 3,707 reviews so far. To add a review of your own, click on the item in question, then click the Vote link.


Displaying 1 to 20 of 3,707 reviews
  Next>>




Sorely Lacking any significant VAM

What:The Complete Eleventh Series (BBC new series DVD/Blu-ray)
By:Les Adam, Kyle, United States
Date:Tuesday 19 February 2019
Rating:   4

This set seems to be lacking any real value added material. When the new series came out the boxed sets seemed to have been stuffed with hours upon hours of commentaries that were fun to listen to. This set just seems thrown together by the BBC and they are not showing any real effort to the fans. Sure there are a few commentaries, but it is very anemic in content.



A great return for an underrated Villain

What:The Movellan Grave (Fourth Doctor Audio Adventure)
By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Wednesday 13 February 2019
Rating:   10

I really love Andrew Smith's stories for Big Finish. He knows how to entertain me every single time. And his return for the Movellans is extremely strong. I really like the fact that he explains away the rather convenient defect of the first Movellans within the story! And what I also like is he greatly expands on Destiny of the Daleks and here the Movellans at last are more of a force to reckoned with than in their previous outing! I love the fact that Tom and Lalla both work so well together as the Doc and Romana. They have a great chemistry and are a hugely enjoyable doubtle act as they always were on screen. And the support guest artists are all brilliant in this story too. This story is everything good decent Doctor Who needs to be. I just love Big Finish. Everytime they bring back old villains, they always find something new and interesting for them to be or do within the story, and every sequel is justifiably cool and brilliant. This great two parter is no exception at all. First class!



Not Much New Here

What:Vortex Ice / Cortex Fire (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 12 February 2019
Rating:   6

Part of the 2 Short Stories series, we get Doctor 6 and Flip retreading much ground already covered in Doctor Who. "Vortex Ice" is a time paradox story involving a cyborg killer (ala Alien) and a scientific investigation into strange energies emerging from an abandoned salt mine in Mexico. The story is mostly another exercise in the "you can't change what you know will happen" lesson, this time for Flip. "Cortex Fire" is wholly unrelated. In this one, The Doctor and Flip visit a planet that is itself the central cortex for the society. The cortex has developed a kind of brain disease called The Urge, and starts turning citizens into electro-fire generating killers. The story is an exercise in the "psychopathy is caused by evil forces from the dark dimensions that invade people's minds" line.



Amusing

What:Time in Office (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 12 February 2019
Rating:   8

This story is played for laughs mostly. The Doctor is recalled to Gallifrey to take the office of President, which he had abandoned at the end The Five Doctors. There's a new cadré in charge, and quite a bit of controversy over whether The Doctor should become president. The story itself is made of four set pieces of The Doctor's short time in office, in which The Doctor is is challenged by various threats that turn out not to be very threatening. Tegan gets a big head when she gets named official ambassador from Earth. Leela gets her first outing with Doctor 5. The whole story is a well executed lark.



Interesting Historical

What:The Lady of Mercia (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 12 February 2019
Rating:   7

Imagine, a Paul Magrs script that doesn't suck. In this case, Magrs eschews his usual pointless whimsy and instead focuses on the story. This is a historical/time travel tale involving an academic conference and a rogue time machine linked to dark ages Britain. Tegan gets transported back in time to meet the Queen of Mercia and has to pretend to be her daughter for the sake of the local politics. The real daughter, a bloodthirsty warrior princess, gets transported to a Yorkshire university in 1983, where she causes quite a bit of mayhem. The star of the show is Tegan, who comes through really strong here, a no nonsense, grab the sword by the hilt kind of woman that we should have seen in the TV series. Plus, she has an amazing hidden talent - a killer North English accent. Turlough gets short shrift in this story, being mostly just self-centered and snarky. It's a fun story, but not much more.



Saward Can't Rescue This One

What:The Twin Dilemma (Target novelisation)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Sunday 3 February 2019
Rating:   4

Eric Saward's novelization of Anthony Steven's script for the TV serial is quite different from most Target novelizations that just reproduce the script with a few sentences of filler to make it seem like a novel. Saward tries hard to rescue a dreadful script, but just cannot do it. The problem is that the main story makes little sense and has more holes than a golf course. Saward tries to knock some sense into the story by adding quite a bit of back story, particularly at the beginning. He also removes large sections of the dialogue, replacing either with different lines or with brief paraphrases of what was said. And to give it some pizazz, he throws in a few "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" sidebars about goofy scientists being destroyed by their own inventions in absurd ways. The problem is that Saward is still stuck with the story as broadcast, and no matter how much explanation he adds for motivations, it just does not hang together.



Mostly great except now the Pting exist.

What:The Complete Eleventh Series (BBC new series DVD/Blu-ray)
By:Shawn Diehl, El Paso, United States
Date:Friday 1 February 2019
Rating:   9

All episodes were 5/5 except
Opener, The woman who fell to earth 4/5
4th Ep, Arachinids in the UK 4/5 (because spiders)
2nd ep, The Ghost Monument 1/5
5th ep, The Tsuranga Conundrum 1/5

The most developed companion is Graham. Ryan and Yaz are great too though.

Love Jodie's performance as the Doctor. Shame others don't think so.



Mr Baker, I love you Sir!

What:Scratchman (Miscellaneous book)
By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Thursday 31 January 2019
Rating:   10

When I heard that Tom Baker's long lengendary story Scratchman was going to be coming out in prose, I was filled with a mixture of elation and joy and wonder. I had heard of this story for ages but had thought that anything to do with it would never come to be. I only knew that I would have loved to have seen or read how it would have gone! And now wonderfully the BBC have had some good sense and allowed Mr Baker (together with the talented Mr James Goss) to weave mr Baker's and the late Mr Marter's film script into a workable piece of fiction. When I say workable, I mean absolutely splendid in the extreme.

What immediately excites you is that this is a rare story indeed, in that it is the Doctor narrating. Tom's wonderful Doctor has seldom been as colourful as he is in this wonderful bonkers novel. There is such amazing prose in this book. I love how easy it is to read and delight in. And then there is the matter of the story content. I have heard lots of people say that this story was rubbish and we're relieved it never saw the light of day. Sorry, But I have to disagree in the most vehement way possible.

Not only is Tom's grasp of his Doctor incredible (no brainer really!) but also his grasp of Sarah and Harry. I really appreciate the banter this brilliant trio share within the book. Its totally true to the characters of all three and holds me totally captivated. Its a wonderful fannote to the memories of Lis Sladen and Ian Marter that Tom writes them so lovingly. And he actually gives them a thoroughly decent amount of stuff to do! And the other characters in the story too are all wonderfully diverse and inspired.

The Scratchman himself is a truly fiendish creation, and his scheme as mad as a box of frogs. But I absolutely adore how Tom brings him so alive on the page as well. And I hear the voice of Vincent Price as the Scratchman, as he is whom would have been asked to play him had the film of seen the light of day! The wonderful cameos by some Doctor Who greats too is very well handled by Tom. So that they may not be in it long, but you truly feel their presences! And Tom's writing of these returnees is flawless.

This story would have fitted so well into the Philip Hinchcliffe/ Bob Holmes years of the show. Im only lamenting that the Scratchman was never instead given to the BBC to make into a Tom Baker adventure. But I am so thrilled and chilled now to be able to see Tom's vivid and brilliant prose leap off the page at me. Tom has woven some superb horror and gothic elements into his story too. Its a hugely enjoyable romp and one I shall definitely be re-reading all the time. I would love it if Big Finish could do one more novel adaptation and have this story be on audio. That would be incredible.

The fact that it is the Doctor himself who wrote this story could have been little more than a novelty. But instead, Tom has cemented himself, for me, in the annals of the best Doctor Who writers. Why? Because his story is multilayered, rich in vivid imagery and some gruesome moments along the way. And the fact that he actually manages to write about his Doctor without tipping over into over indulgence has to be applauded. His Doctor gets some superb moments, and yet so do Harry and Sarah and every character. This is a hugely exciting and delightful story.

One heck of a novel. Tom Baker, you are the Fourth Doctor. Oh if only someone would have realised your imagination could be harnassed in more Dr Who novels and stories. Scratchman is utterly enthralling and I for one would recomment this to all lovers of Tom Baker and Doctor Who. This fan is so amazed to be able to lose himself in such a well thought out and gripping adventure with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah and Harry.

Even that the fact that I dont know where this story would tie in with TV adventures is irrelevant as the Novel is just totally flawless and I do hope Mr Baker does well from this story. He deserves to. Scratchman is no more and no less than a superb Doctor Who yarn indeed!



Another Time Circle

What:The Time Vampire (Companion Chronicles audio)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 29 January 2019
Rating:   7

This story becomes the end of a trilogy that we did not really know was going to be a trilogy. Leela lies dying, seemingly, and recalls an adventure with The Doctor. Or, is the adventure happening now? There is quite a bit of Heinlein style "nearly every character is really the same character" playing with time. Louise Jameson does a pretty good Tom Baker impression, getting the cadences and quirks of his performance with great accuracy. John Leeson gets a nice turn, playing both K-9 and another character, and doing so with great gusto. This story is fun and confusing in turns.



A Bit Bland

What:Fear of the Daleks (Companion Chronicles audio)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 29 January 2019
Rating:   6

The Companion Chronicles are almost entirely narrated stories, with only a bit of dramatizing. The narrator plays nearly all the voices. Here, Wendy Padbury is Zoe talking to a counselor about her dreams in which she vividly recalls adventures with The Doctor and Jamie that she thinks she could not possibly have had. This one involves a Dalek plan to use surrogates to wreck a peace conference. The evil plan does not make much sense as evil plans go.



Recreates the Era

What:The Dalek Occupation of Winter (Early Adventures audio)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 29 January 2019
Rating:   7

This new series of retro dramas have the mix of narrated and dramatized storytelling that one finds in Companion Chronicles, but with more drama and less narration. Here, Peter Purves performs Doctor 1. He goes for getting the flavor of the character without doing a strictly accurate impression. Narration duties are split between him and Maureen O'Brien. The story itself would have fit well with Doctor Who 1965. There's a twist in it involving the role of the Daleks, but otherwise the story is rather straightforward and simple, with a cartoonish villain whose motivation for killing people just does not add up. It's a great piece of nostalgia, recalling a simpler time in Doctor Who where the moral lines a clear.



An Utter Triumph

What:The Complete Eleventh Series (BBC new series DVD/Blu-ray)
By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 25 January 2019
Rating:   10

I was very unsure of Doctor Who's future when I heard a lady was going to be the Doctor next after Peter Capaldi. I now apologize for my stupid pigheaded sexist remark and state quite unreservedly that Jodie Whittaker is the best thing to happen to the show since it rebooted in 2005.

I am a total die hard fan of her kind, caring, thoughtful and beautiful 13th Doctor. She is just s simple and amazing to love as a character. And all the companions have no idiotic traits and they all meld together more like a family than a Doctor and companions. Its a wonderful new direction that Chris Chibnall has brought to the show.

And the stories of season eleven just blew me away. There is extremely strong characterisation, extremely well plotted stories and some powerhouse acting. I also hugely enjoy the return of the proper historical story to the mix. Rosa and Demons of the Punjab and The Witchfinders are stunning in the portrayal of some less than brilliant times in human history. There are some gut wrenchingly sad scenes throughout these stories, and some moments of joy and wonder too. Its also so amazing to have a series of such variety too. The stories of this first season have been more varied than they have in yonks.

I truly cant pick any true favourites as each episode is amazing in its own way and they all get a huge thumbs up from me! Although the exquisite moments of Rosa and Demons of the Punjab make them definite highlights. The alien races all look amazing. The Pting, Tzim Sha, The mutated Spiders...all look brilliant in the extreme. The exquisite filming of the show too adds to the wonderful feel of this season too.

And I for one love the lack of foul language and swearing in this season. I just dont see the need for course lanaguage in every programme these days.

Perhaps the extras in the set are just a tad meagre, but the series itself is so beautiful and brilliant that I cant and wont mark it down for that. I love this series and Jodie to absolute bits. After years of frustratingly baffling and incomprehensible stories its so amazing to have a truly coherent and marvellous series once more. This is plain and simple magic...



The pinnacle of the historicals and more

What:The Lost TV Episodes: Collection One (BBC classic series audio)
By:Shawn Diehl, El Paso, United States
Date:Thursday 3 January 2019
Rating:   9

Marco Polo 5/5 absolutely great and I wished it was recovered
The Reign of Terror 3/5 Not so good, but an enjoyable listen
The Crusade 5/5 The pinnacle of the historicals! I love the interaction of King Richard and the companions and The Doctor. Incredible!
Galaxy 4 5/5 An absolutely underrated story.
The Myth Makers 4/5 Mostly enjoyable but loses its value without the visuals.



A Better Dicks Novelization

What:The Caves of Androzani (Target novelisation)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Thursday 27 December 2018
Rating:   6

"The Caves of Androzani" is considered a classic of classic Doctor Who. This mostly comes down to the fantastic directing of Graeme Harper, who made probably the most knuckle-bightingly tense episode of all time. In Terrance Dicks' novelization, we get the story without the visual content, and this serves to highlight, unfortunately, many flaws in Robert Holmes's script. That one mad genius with an indeterminate number of androids could hold off an entire army in a culture that has routine space travel just does not make much sense. The man-eating cave creature is a plot complication that does not really go anywhere. Despite this and some other flaws in plausibility, the story is still fairly interesting, with all the competing egos out to destroy each other. Dicks this time makes some effort at truly novelizing the script rather than simply transcribing it. This makes the reading more enjoyable than it probably otherwise would have been.



The end of the world! Or the beginning..

What:Festival of Death (BBC Past Doctor book)
By:Leon Coward, Sydney, Australia
Date:Sunday 2 December 2018
Rating:   8

I had reservations about this novel, fearing it would be a zombie horror cliche. Very pleasantly, it is anything but.

For those familiar with the later stories of Tom Baker's Dr Who, "Festival of Death" fits perfectly with its style of plotting and characterisation. Morris doesn't depart from "how" the story might have looked - interchanging between scenes with the pace of a television show, and also a tongue-in-cheek low production budget - no digital era for spaceships, I'm afraid, it's still lightbulbs and tape spools.

My impetus to read this book came from the fact it was reprinted for the Dr Who 50th celebrations, and this fact kept me in for about 30 pages where I was tempted to read something else. I'm glad I held in, because you begin to realise the challenge Morris has taken up in creating a story where the characters keep looping back in on their own timelines.

The book entertained, it was thought-provoking, and kept me reading faster and faster to find out what happened next. I would certainly recommend it to those who enjoyed this era of Dr Who.



Doctor Who and the Civil War

What:Blood and Hope (Telos novella)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Thursday 22 November 2018
Rating:   8

This is a short novel featuring Doctor 5. "Blood and Hope" occupies the pure historical genre of Doctor Who stories, so has a place left vacant during the Peter Davison run on TV. This story also includes the character Erimem from the Big Finish audio series. The plot is fairly simple. The Doctor and companions land, immediately find themselves in trouble, get separated, and spend the rest of the story trying to reunite. In this case, they land at a farmhouse in the borderland between sides near the end of the American Civil War. The Doctor gets in trouble with a kind of jailbreak of some slaves, leaving Peri and Erimem to fend for themselves. The two have to pretend that Peri is a woman displaced by the war, and that Erimem is her slave. They run afoul of mad Confederate Colonel Jubal Eustace, who goes on a vendetta against them. Meanwhile, The Doctor has been forced into service as a surgeon for the Union army. Simple as the plot is, McLaughlin complicates the story and makes it more interesting by writing this as an epistolary novel. The main "narrators," therefore, are a Union officer named Will Johnson, writing letters home to his sweetheart about his search for his cousin, Paul le Val, who is forced into service for the Confederacy, and Peri, who is dictating a kind of personal confession of some action she does not want to admit to. There are a few other writers, plus some extracts of historical documents, but most of the narrating is from these two perspectives. This means that The Doctor is pretty much a side character, seen only in how his actions affect other characters. The novel is not "about" The Doctor all that much. Instead, it is about the psychological effects of war on Peri, Will, Paul, and Jubal. In that regard, the novel is fairly accurate, and McLaughlin does not overplay either the "you should be horrified" angle, or the sympathy angle. The plot does proceed by an abundance of remarkable coincidences, which seems to me a bit of lazy plotting. Overall, it is an interesting and worthwhile read.



Another War for Hex

What:The Angel of Scutari (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 20 November 2018
Rating:   7

"The Angel of Scutari" ends what we might call a Hex-trilogy. Deeply disturbed by what happened on Bliss in "Enemy of the Daleks," Hex asks the Doctor to take him somewhere that he can make a difference. The Doctor takes him to a crucial point in the Crimean War a couple of weeks before the arrival of Florence Nightingale. Leaving Hex to sort himself out, The Doctor and Ace quickly find themselves embroiled in events that they have committed in their future, but in the historical past (just a few weeks). Then, The Doctor and Ace get split up. The Doctor, taken for some kind of double agent, ends up in the Czar's best dungeon in St. Petersburg, Ace in a military hospital in Sebastipol, where she meets a young Russian ensign named Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoi. The story is broken into segments and criss-crosses through the weeks (about six altogether). It is potentially interesting to tell a story this way, but here that gets marred a bit by some clumsy and clichéd scene-switching cues (any echo-fade out fans? How about swirly sounds?). It's another pure historical for this character trio and seems in a way a bit redundant because they get caught up in their third war from Earth's history.



Hex Meets the Daleks

What:Enemy of the Daleks (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 20 November 2018
Rating:   7

This story begins a sequence in which we explore the character of Hex in significantly more detail than hitherto. The Doctor takes Ace and Hex to the planet Bliss, which turns out to be used mainly for a scientific research station in the middle of the Dalek wars. We get an intriguing kind of mad scientist whose drive to end the Dalek war leads him to create a monster potentially worse than the Daleks. The framework for the story is pretty much the old Daleks set a base under siege ploy. Hex's moral conscience gets explored a bit as we see how his major motivation in life is to use his medical skills to alleviate suffering, a moral code that takes priority in his mind and leads him to make several foolishly rash decisions. Ace continues her big sister role with him, constantly aiming to protect him from both the monsters and the Doctor.



Strange

What:The Magic Mousetrap (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 20 November 2018
Rating:   7

Every once in a while, Doctor Who goes slightly surreal. This one has a reason for this, which appears in part three. In the meantime, we get an amnesiac Doctor 7 visiting the sanitarium from Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain" where resides a collection early 20th-century showbusiness stereotypes and a peculiar physician who treats them to electric shocks to prevent them from remembering something. The Doctor scrambles around trying to figure things out while the other characters all desperately tell him that something terrible will happen if he does figure it all out. It's a clever story, though not emotionally engaging.



Suffers from the Format

What:Forty-Five (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Thursday 8 November 2018
Rating:   7

Forty-Five is one of the series of 4 individual stories, loosely linked. Each story is 1 "part." Each story has a different writer and cast. Here, we have The Doctor, Ace, and Hex encountering the number 45 all over the place. First stop is Egypt, Valley of the Kings, 1902, and a meeting with Howard Carter. Most of the story involves avoiding too many references to "The Mummy." Next, we head to the far future, where, apparently, there are still mad scientists in creepy, old castles. The third part takes us to 1945 and another encounter between Ace and her mother, this time, mom aged three and not very convincingly voiced. We also get another encounter with The Forge, and The Doctor's first hint to Hex that he may know something about Hex's mother. Last is the story that ties it together and is probably the best of the bunch. Here, in the near future, The Doctor is called in to solve a murder in an international base in Antarctica. There, he meets a truly interesting and powerful enemy - The Word Lord, a being from a universe 45 dimensions to the left (or something like that), a trans-universal bounty hunter. The problem here is that each story is potentially quite interesting, but all are too swift and underdeveloped, given the 25-minute limitation for each one.



Displaying 1 to 20 of 3,707 reviews
  Next>>





Go Back