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Typical Doc 10

What:The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Time Reaver (Miscellaneous audio)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Sunday 22 January 2017
Rating:   7

Time Reaver is another example of the effort Big Finish puts into reproducing the era of a particular Doctor. Time Reaver would have sat very comfortably in the Tennant canon of televised Doctor Who and could very easily have been filmed. It is on a par with stories like Planet of the Dead and New Earth. The Doctor and companion arrive on a planet for mundane reasons (needing a spare available only from a scrap yard) and behind the scenes on the planet something nasty is cooking away. The Doctor steps in, takes charge, defeats a blobby baddy, and the powers that be have to change their ways. In between there are some funny bits, with Donna really winding up the Doctor's know-it-all pomposity, and some emotional bits, with more of Donna's growing maturity. There are no surprises, but it is quite a bit of fun.



mixed

What:Warlock (New Adventure)
By:David Turner, Buckinghamshire, UK , United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 22 January 2017
Rating:   6

Warlock has lots of good in it, but also lots of bad. It has quick ending and doesn't feel like a dw book however there are some good.



dull

What:Parasite (New Adventure)
By:David Turner, Buckinghamshire, UK , United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 22 January 2017
Rating:   4

Parasite may have a creative setting. It's actually a very confusing, boring and nothing book



Great

What:Birthright (New Adventure)
By:David Turner, Buckinghamshire, UK , United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 22 January 2017
Rating:   9

Birthright may be very short but it is a thrilling and exciting adventure. Although the first half is a lot better.



Average but not very special

What:Sting of the Zygons (BBC new series novel)
By:David Turner, Buckinghamshire, UK , United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 22 January 2017
Rating:   6

This adventure is rather good but it does not do anything interesting or different. While there are good moments the majority is just ok



A Brilliant Audio Re imagining

What:Cold Fusion (Miscellaneous audio)
By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Saturday 21 January 2017
Rating:   10

I never read Cold Fusion when it was first released. I was never tempted to buy it either when I saw the price of the book now online. But I was really glad to hear when Big Finish announced they would be doing an adaptation of Lance Parkin's novel.

Let me begin by saying I am a huge fan of Lance's writing now. His audio drama Davros I still take to be the definitive Davros story. What impresses is his grasp of the characters. They seem totally one hundred percent real and true. But this review is not about Davros so down to business.

Well, I got Cold Fusion and didn't really know what to expect from it. But I knew it would most certainly be memorable. And I wasn't wrong. The picking of the Fifth and Seventh Doctors to meet was inspired. So we have one of the most agreeable and human like Doctors meeting the most manipulative and devious incarnation! And boy it makes for some tremendous scenes in this fantastic story!

Multi Doctor stories are always going to b huge fun no matter what the story content is actually like, but with Cold Fusion we get multiple Doctors but also with an excellent story line. And not only that, but we get FIVE companions thrown into the mix. Sarah Sutton is as lovely as ever as Nyssa, Tegan is her usual gobby Australian self, Matthew Waterhouse is back as the great Adric. And then we have Travis Oliver and Yasmin Bannerman as the delightful adjudicators Cwej and Forrester. And together they are an often chaotic but brilliantly matched brew. I particularly loved Adric's scenes with Forrester. And Nyssa's deep embarrassment as a nude Cwej in the hotel room! They were hilarious scenes. And then Nyssa gets some good scenes with Cwej as they start to really get on well with each other. I found these scenes too to be touching and really cool.

Then we also get a rarity. Patience. The Doctor's wife maybe? I love how Lance portrays this character, with bucketloads of mystery and suspense. And not all the questions about her character are answered by the end of the story. There are only slightly taunting hints as to her past with the Doctor. She is a time lady, and she certainly knows the Doctor well. But the vagueness surrounding her whets the appetite and just leaves me wondering more and more about this character. I do hope Big Finish have the sense to get her back again one day again. I cant wait to see if we get a return. Kristine Kavanagh must be praised. I love her in the role of Patience. She was perfect.

But its still the two Doctors again where the most fun is to be had. Sylvester McCoy is again such a little sly fox in his dealings as the seventh Doctor with his earlier incarnation! But Peter Davison rises to the challenge and has some great lines for the seventh Doctor to hear too. Lance really made the most of these two oh so different incarnations of the Doctor here. Lance has done a brilliant story for the two of them!

I like also that the seventh Doctor meets Adric...and that makes for some great scenes of subtlety on the doctor's part so as to not give away what is to happen to the ill fated Alzarian. Matthew Waterhous really is back in the TARDIS again with the brilliant eighties crew. I am delighted to have him back for more stories.

So I cant give this brilliant adaptation less than a whole 10 out of 10. This is awesome Doctor Who!



Run, Run, Run

What:Dark Eyes (Miscellaneous audio)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 20 January 2017
Rating:   7

In the tradition of The Chase and The Daleks' Masterplan, Dark Eyes follows the adventures of the Doctor and a companion on the run from the Daleks, chased across space and time. As in The Daleks' Masterplan, the Daleks are helped out by a humanoid turncoat, the mysterious Kotris, also known as X. The story begins with a Doctor distraught after Lucy's death being offered "hope" from Time Lord Straxus. Of course, Straxus has secret motivations for this, but the Doctor seemingly accepts Straxus' offer and heads off to France in WWI searching for some kind of unusual something. He finds it in the young Molly O'Sullivan, whose unusually dark eyes provide the title of the whole story. Part One, The Great War, gets the two together and lets us in on the idea that the Daleks have something to do with this. Part Two, Fugitives, has our duo bopping around time and space, encountering Daleks, and generally working up the Doctor's distrust of Molly. In Part Three, Tangled Web, there is more running around, but also we learn that Molly is the centerpiece of the Kotris/Dalek plan to destroy the Time Lords. Part Four, X and the Daleks, gives us the big showdown with all the principal characters.

I find this story not as compelling as so many others have found it. There is too much running and hiding, going here and there and getting not much of anywhere. By the end of Part Three, a heck of a lot of blood has been spilled, emotions have been emoted, and TARDIS's been battered about, but the listener is not much wiser about the overall plan than at the end of Part One. The Doctor is more a pawn than anything else and has almost nothing to do with resolving the conflicts. Molly strikes me as just a bit too Irish. And there are too many large gaps in the action while the Doctor is unconscious, leaving this listener to wonder very often "how did we get here?" This is especially true for the sequence in the mental rehabilitation unit. How did X manage to get The Doctor and Molly there?

Of course, the cast is impressive, including Peter Egan and Toby Jones, both highly respected. Big Finish regulars Alex Malinson, Beth Chalmers, and John Banks provide multiple voices and do so admirably. Even though the story is in four "parts," it is really a continuous adventure. It runs for four hours and is never boring. It's a good, but flawed effort.



Cold

What:Shield of the J├Âtunn (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 13 January 2017
Rating:   6

Start with a vision, a viking tomb in the middle of the Arizona desert, and ask, "How did it get there?" A good start, you might say. "Shield of the Jotunn" has many interesting elements and some surprising plot developments. There are many clever bits. However, these are interspersed in a story that is otherwise rather run-of-the-mill Doctor Who. The Doctor and his new companion, the intrepid Mrs. Clark, arrive in Arizona, 2029, following a time trouble that bothered the TARDIS. There, a high-tech terraforming operation is in place ostensibly to save the planet from the ravages of global warming. The establishment is run by what appears to be a dodgy American billionaire entrepreneur and his almost as dodgy science advisor. The operation accidentally triggers an alien device buried with a bunch of thousand-year-old Viking skeletons. This device creates an instant deep freeze and releases a giant monster in the storm that eats flesh so that it can form a body for itself. At this point, the regular listener can predict where the main story is going to go. There are a couple of surprises, such as that the entrepreneur and scientist really are not baddies, and are not really even misguided fools led to do bad things. They really want to save the planet. The Doctor here is Old Sixie at his best, straight to business, right to the point, doesn't suffer fools, overcompensating for his mistakes. Mrs. Clark is an excellent foil for this Doctor because in many ways she is just like him. It's entertaining enough, but not tense enough because it's too formulaic.



Preposterous

What:1963: Space Race (New Audio Adventure)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 13 January 2017
Rating:   5

What is it about Big Finish and the Doctor 6/Peri stories? They've already had a talking pig, the little mermaid, and some other really stupid story elements to work with. Now, it's a talking dog. This thing just ruins what could have been a very intriguing Cold War drama. The Doctor and Peri arrive in Kazakhstan because the TARDIS is on the blink again, and fairly quickly run across some dead bodies in a booby-trapped car. They are mistaken for the people supposedly in the car, scientists going to observe the Soviet space program, and get taken away to the main base of operations. There, they discover that the people whose identities they stole were not scientists, but KGB interrogators. For their own safety, though, our intrepid heroes have to keep up the pretense. All of this is just fine. Had the story stayed there and worked through that problem, we would have been alright. The added fold is the existence of a secret Soviet moon launch to get the first cosmonaut to orbit the moon. However, this capsule has gone missing after passing the dark side of the moon. Intriguing. Then, the capsule reappears, but the cosmonaut seems to have had a memory wipe of some kind. Intriguing. I was thinking that maybe we were going to get reintroduced to the unnamed aliens from "Ambassadors of Death." That would have been an interesting story. However, instead we get the talking dog, and our alien turns out to be a mini black hole turned into a computer. The rationale for performing surgery on a dog to give it a human larynx and brain matter makes no sense. Additionally, that would not create a talking dog, let alone an intelligent talking dog that can lead hundreds of other animals in an animal revolt. At this point, the preposterous just heaps on higher and higher. Can a monkey, not matter how intelligent, actually manipulate a gun? How can an augmented dog suddenly know how to start the launch of an ICBM? How did the black hole perform this surgery on the dog? How did the dog perform the surgery on the monkey? Why didn't the script editor have the good sense to tell the writer to cut out the taking dog?



Just wow!!

What:Prisoner of the Daleks (BBC new series audio)
By:Terri Stevens, Phoenix, United States
Date:Wednesday 11 January 2017
Rating:   10

Wow what a book! This is a truly amazing accomplishment. A real page turner, it kept me up all night. The Daleks were actually scary in a way that watching them on the television could never convey. You really felt that none of them would be able to get out of there alive. Some of was especially hard to read with the torture of the doctor being particularly brutal. The author makes you feel like you are standing in the room with him, watching him suffer but being unable to help. This is not a children's book, only adults should read this. This is the best 10th Doctor and possibly the best Doctor Who book ever hands-down.



Better and better

What:The War Doctor: Agents of Chaos (Miscellaneous audio)
By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 6 January 2017
Rating:   10

Well, I am glad to say I am a mega fan of John Hurt now as the War Doctor. He is such a ridiculously good actor, is John. One of Britain's finest in my opinion. And his voice is just so suited to audio work. And when its Doctor Who work, then its bound to be memorable! I love his take on the Doctor. He definitely puts his own mark upon the role. And he conveys this Doctor's weariness at the Time War perfectly well throughout all three War Doctor sets so far! He is sublime in his inflection and is never less than seriously impressive as the War Doctor! I am so very glad indeed that Big Finish had the sense to do these War Doctor sets! They have made this fan very very happy indeed.

The Shadow Vortex starts off the third box set superbly well. It has all you could want from a cold war style tale. Russians. Spies. Alien spies and daleks. And of particular note here is Neve McIntosh as the Dalek agent! She's not my favourite character in her portrayal of Madame Vastra, but here she is excellent as the devious and nasty little spy for the Daleks. She is brilliant! And the voice of the Dalek Time Strategist I found really unnerving and weird. Makes this Dalek one of the creepiest sounding ones ever. Nick Briggs really is such a talented guy.

The Eternity Cage gets even grander and bigger in scale. And here, with immense relief, we have a non dipsticky sontaran is who well and truly in the vein of classic series Sontarans! In that he is nasty rutish and short. And its good to show a sontaran who for once isn't a totally out of depth buffoon! Makes a brilliant change as Strax is just a divvy insult to Sontar if you were to ask me. Its great to see them being full on villains again here, and great to hear them whacking the daleks, albeit even if it is only for a very short while. Its good to hear those psycho alien pepperpots get treated like rubbish every now and then! And its also great to hear the conversation between Ollistra (who is once again voiced superbly and easily by Jackie Pearce!) and the Dalek Time Strategist! That makes for a great scene. And the cliffhanger to this episode was genuinely a surprise!

Eye Of Harmony just so happens to be the most epic section of all the box sets so far. Here the daleks are at their boldest ever. Evil refined as engineering. Totally soulless and evil and ever more degenerate! And here they actually finally make me think maybe they are just that bit more sick in the head than the Time Lords. They just go from evil to eviller every time! And the acting from all involved here is very strong indeed. I really like the new character of Kalan, and its genuinely sad as heck when....well, You will have to listen to the story to hear what happens, but its gripping and gut wrenching all the same. John Hurt is at the forefront of these stories, like I said. And boy has the War Doctor saga just gone from strength to strength. Only The Monstrous was a stunning audio cinematic epic, then Infernal Devices raised the game even higher, and now Agents of Chaos is the best of the run so far. Palpable and strong writing combined with superb first class acting. Paired with yet again truly cinematic sound, this all leaves me beaming from ear to ear.

Agents of Chaos is a sublime set. One cant wait for Casualties Of War. I have a feeling this can only be better still....



A Step Up

What:The War Doctor: Infernal Devices (Miscellaneous audio)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 6 January 2017
Rating:   8

The second War Doctor trilogy is a step up from the first. Perhaps using three writers rather than one made a difference in this case. There is a story arc and central theme of the "infernal devices," horrifying weapons. The catch is that the weapons are being developed by the Time Lords, not by the Daleks. This goes along with the theme of the moral drop of the Time Lords as the Time War continues. It also helps to provide rationale for the moral dilemma the War Doctor faces in Day of the Doctor. The conscious effort to explain how the Doctor becomes that person works well in this set of adventures.

It starts with Legion of the Lost, in which the Time Lords try to create a zombie army that can be eternally resurrected. David Warner plays the high priest/planetary leader of the planet that uses "magic" mixed with technology. They have tapped into something from the dark times. Have the Time Lords gone too far?

Next is the Alastair MacLean secret mission story A Thing of Guile. The Time Lords have stumbled on a secret Dalek base, so secret that Dalek High Command does not even seem to know about it. A team of commandos, including Prisoner 001, the Doctor now charged with war crimes, must sneak in to find out what the Dalek secret weapon might be.

Third is a return to the eternally resurrected army concept with The Neverwhen. This time, the Time Lords are using their own technology. As far as the War Doctor is concerned, that only makes it worse.

Despite being written by three different hands, there is a nice continuity of quality in this set. John Hurt is suitably impressive, as is Jacqueline Pearce as his High Council foil, Cardinal Ollistra. The acting all around is quite good. Big Finish also really have sound design down to a fine art. The two point deduction from me on this has to do with the limitations placed by having the series in the Time War scenario. I know this cannot be helped, but it does rather limit what the Doctor can do, and what the writers can do with him. The Doctor is in constant state of moral outrage, and must say that everything is "horrifying" just a little too often. So, the formula becomes "present situation that will suitably horrify the Doctor, have him say how horrifying it is, have him forced into doing something against his moral code, and then have him agonize about doing it." These elements are just a little too predictable. Otherwise, this box set is quite enjoyable.



What A Christmas Special Should Be!

What:The Husbands of River Song (BBC new series DVD/Blu-ray)
By:Ethan Gibson, Alberta, Canada
Date:Thursday 29 December 2016
Rating:   10

Fun, camp daft with an amazing performance from both Capaldi and Alex Kingston. Like the Title said, Fun, Camp and Silly and a great way to celebrate the holidays. If you enjoy River Song, I also highly recommend the The Diary of River Song Series from Big Finish



Blurry

What:Drift (BBC Past Doctor book)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Wednesday 28 December 2016
Rating:   7

"Drift" is a peculiar novel in its mix of good and bad parts. Taking place in New Hampshire on Thanksgiving day sometime around the year 2000, the story places the characters inside a monster snowstorm that contains a monster. The backstory of the main plot comes along in drips and drabs, but basically runs like this. Thirty years prior, a spaceship crashed in the New Hampshire backwoods, dumping an alien couple, male and female and human in every way down to sensitive male parts, on Earth. The few pieces of the crashed ship became the focus point for a Heaven's Gate type alien worshiping cult who set up in an abandoned house nearby. Flash forward thirty years and the military are secretly testing another captured alien device in an airplane. The plane crashes near the previous crash. Unknown to the military, who believe the alien device is a means to manipulate the weather psychically, the device is actually a multi-dimensional navigational instrument that folds dimensions. The weather control is just a side effect. The device has opened a dimension and let in an other-dimensional animal that takes the form of snow crystals arranged like a nervous system. Seeking minds to commune with, the snow creature latches onto humans and destroys them. Into this mix there are several groups to contend with. First, we have The Doctor and Leela, out in the wilderness because The Doctor has forgotten where the TARDIS is. We have the remains of the cultists, most of whom were destroyed when the cult recovered the dimensional drive and opened the portal for the creature. We have the Air Force team sent to recover the device, led by Captain Shaw, who grew up in the town where all this occurs. We have the townspeople, mostly represented by Shaw's older brother, Mackenzie, the local police chief, and his roughly joined family - a woman wronged by her no good first husband and her moody teenage daughter. Most of the novel is concerned with people lost in the snow, getting picked off one by one by the snow creature. There's plenty of family angst as Mackenzie seems to be the good man always doing the wrong thing, disaffected from his brother and barely holding it together with his makeshift family. Most of the early part of the novel is needlessly difficult to get through as the reader gets introduced to several characters, one after the other, with dizzying speed. It becomes particularly hard to keep track of all the military people, even when Forward gives them all unusual names in what seems to be an overdone attempt at American pluralism.

The one part of the novel that stood out to me as "what is this all about?" concerns the remainder of the cult. They are down to three, the leader, his "girlfriend," and a follower, a former thief. The leader lasts for just a couple of chapters. Seeing the device wipe all of his followers from existence drives him over the edge and he gets left behind to die in the snow. The real headscratcher is the girlfriend, Emilie Jacks. She is former military, a tough guy in a woman's body, all muscle and kill instinct. She decides for no particular reason that with the cult done, she must destroy the cult house, beat up or kill everyone who stands in her way, take a hostage, beat her up, kill some more, and abandon her dying cult-mate. Why she does this, what she hopes to accomplish, and why Forward spends so much time on it in the novel never becomes clear. This whole sequence drags the plot rather than progressing it. Another questionable aspect that pops up in other Simon Forward works, such as the Big Finish drama "Dreamtime," is the portrayal of aboriginals, a Native American in this case, as having native psychic powers because they are somehow more in tune with the natural world. This bizarre romanticizing of native peoples is just annoying. Also, everyone wants to drive around in a zero-visibility snowstorm, which seems to be mostly a convenient way for the writer to get the characters separated from each other and thus easier to pick off.

The good parts of the novel are these. It is one of the few Doctor 4 novels that doesn't play The Doctor as all whimsical, scatterbrained, and nonsensical. This Doctor is close to how he was in 1975-6. Leela, too, is portrayed fairly well, not just as a superstitious primitive. The Doctor is not a crusader in this novel, just a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time who realizes he is the only one with the knowledge to rescue the situation. The writing is brisk, without stylistic overkill. The alien menace is interestingly different and believable because the menace is purely accidental. This last aspect is probably the best reason to read "Drift."



A worthy tribute

What:Drama and Delight: (Biography)
By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Monday 26 December 2016
Rating:   9

An excellent book, well written and researched that is a fine tribute to an amazing woman. All the people who knew or worked with Verity are in there.
Highly recommended.



an enjoyable, fun & slightly dark novel

What:Timewyrm: Exodus (New Adventure)
By:Eye of Horus, Under A Rock, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 23 December 2016
Rating:   7

After stumbling through the abomination that was Timewyrm: Genesis, I was ready to give up on the new adventures. However, Christmas was round the corner and a family member who knew I had read the first book decided to get me the second. I was quite board in the evening that day so I decided to read some doctor who literature. I didn't want to seem rood so decided to pick up the book and read the prologue and First Chapter or so before The Xmas special started. I was Enthralled by page one and was incredibly frustrated when the Special started and I had to put down the book. I read most of the book over the next few weeks and had ordered the next book in the series. But then things got in the way and I couldn't read it and it just sat on my desk, forgotten about. Until last summer, when I found it again while packing for my holiday. I quickly finished off the last 50 pages and packed the next book.

The Book has 2 main parts to it and also a couple of extra mini parts. the first is in Nazi Germany and is a really fun adventure story which had me grinning the entire way through. The second was in Nazi Germany, on the brink of WWII. This was, of course, the Darker section of the Novel and the story did address the human atrocities done by the Nazis (though it does accidentally make them irrelevant by putting the entire blame on the villain), the section does start to go downhill once the villain is revealed though. The book also has very solid charecters of important Nazis, one of which (I can't believe I'm saying this) was a realy likable person. There are also 2 mini parts. The first of these is the Nazis failed coup on Berlin in which Hitler gets his should dislocated. For someone who's studied this area of history and knows this, it is very interesting to see but is still enjoyable if you can't play spot the thing that actually happened. The second mini section is a year after the events of the second main half of the book and only has The Doctor, Ace the Timewyrm and Hitler in it (and has a maximum of three characters in it at once). You do get very invested in this scene and it takes a much more ominous, dark and looming feel than the rest of the book.



Quite possibly the worst book ever

What:Timewyrm: Genesys (New Adventure)
By:Eye of Horus, Under A Rock, United Kingdom
Date:Friday 23 December 2016
Rating:   1

I bought this book a few years ago off amazon because I wanted to get into the New Adventures and it seemed like the best place to start. How I'm still reading them today, I will never know. The point is, I'm a massive seventh Doctor Fan and the fact the first original Doctor who Novels were completely dedicated to him (not counting dying days) was brilliant. But oh deer the poor fans, after years of waiting, ended up with this garbage. This is a piece of garbage that dares to call itself a Doctor Who Novel. In fact, the only reason I consider it cannon is because I love Timewyrm Revelation. The Characterisation is terrible. Almost all supporting charterers are irrelevant with the exception of the space man and Ishtar. And it made me despise my favourite Doctor. Good Job John Peel!

Oh also, this book is a gross porno. No seriously, half the book is in depth description of Gilgamesh sexually molesting girls and when Ace complains that he wants to do it to her the Doctor essentially tells her to grow up.

*sigh* I hear his target books are good, I guess.



A dream come true

What:The Power of the Daleks (BBC classic series DVD)
By:Trevor Smith, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Date:Wednesday 21 December 2016
Rating:   10

So it seems. To be able to watch, not just listen to, my favourite Dalek story, is something I never thought i would be able to do. Ok its not the original filmed story, but it is the next best thing. Hats off to the boys and girls who worked so hard to bring this dream to fruition. and if thats not enough theres a ton of wonderful extras on this DVD. Fantastic story and lets hope its the first of many.



What It Says on the Box

What:Classic Doctors, New Monsters (Miscellaneous audio)
By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 19 December 2016
Rating:   7

Big Finish in its endeavor to regenerate interest in its products has shifted heavily into producing these box sets rather than as many new adventures. These sets also make strong ties between the classic series and the new series. This set is probably the ultimate effort in this regard. It says so in the title. We know that several of the monsters from New Who are presented as if the Doctor has encountered them before. So, why not relate some of these earlier encounters? It seems good. To do this as a box set, though, requires adhering to the New Who formula of single-part one-hour adventures. Further, each of our Doctors is companionless, which works out fine for fitting the 6th, 7th and 8th Doctor stories into their sequences of adventures, but is problematic for the 4th Doctor. Big Finish seems to have side-stepped the problem by not mentioning it at all and providing a few stray references to Doctor 4 televised stories, which would place this one as perhaps before Peri. The stories themselves are of a uniform good but not great quality. Probably the standout story, not by much, is the 8th Doctor adventure. On to the stories themselves.

1. Fallen Angels. Doctor 4 meets the Weeping Angels. Basically, this is a riff on "Blink" and offers not much new about the Weeping Angels. A couple of English tourists in Italy get tricked by a mad priest who worships Weeping Angels and gets sent back to 16th-century Italy, where they meet Michaelangelo himself, working on a project from a priest who worships the Weeping Angels. Michaelangelo thinks he is sculpting an angel that he is in fact releasing. Everything else, the listener can guess just from having watched "Blink."

2. Judoon in Chains. This is probably the most original of the stories. Here, Doctor 6 is using a court trial in the 1800s to rescue a lone Judoon on the run from his own people. The Judoon Captain Kybo seems to be gaining in intelligence and sensitivity far beyond any Judoon's ability. Great voicing from Nicholas Briggs pulls off this story. Mostly, the story is The Elephant Man with the Judoon playing Rhino Man.

3. Harvest of the Sycorax. This one is a riff on "The Christmas Invasion." Again, if one has seen the first, then the audio will be probably overly familiar. There is some attempt to give the Sycorax more culture, with art and a religion. However, basically they are the same as in the TV series. The setting this time is humanity in the future, living among the stars and enslaved to medical products provided by a pharmaceutical conglomerate. There is some nice commentary on the overabundance of and dependence upon mood altering designer drugs. It's all entertaining and very Doctor 7.

4. The Sontaran Ordeal. Doctor 8 encounters the New Who Sontarans who are trying to enter the Time War. Dan Starkey is brilliant as a disgraced Sontaran who survives a botched attempt at assassination from his less than honorable commanding officer. This story probably follows the New Who formula most closely in having an interesting idea get sidetracked by irrelevant dangers inserted at moments where the "action" seems to be flagging in favor of dialogue. However, the story does offer us new insights into Sontaran psychology and makes them more believable.



Quality Benny!

What:The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield (Bernice Summerfield audio)
By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 18 December 2016
Rating:   10

When I was younger and first read a few of the New Adventures virgin books when they introduced the character of Bernice Summerfield I have to admit I was as far from enamoured as its ever possible to get. I didn't like the character at all. But with the arrival of Lisa Bowerman as Benny on audio my view has come to be the total opposite now. I love Lisa and I love Benny! Benny is so damn cool! She's so vivid and bright as a character and Lisa does a spot on job on bringing the bright sparkly archaeologist to brilliant life. She has totally won me over with her brilliance. She has charm, she's funny, she's intensely diverting and always a joy to listen to! And then when you pair her with the wonderful Sylv McCoy and Mrs Aldred then your on for a sure winner.
And what a winner the first set in this brilliant New adventures of Benny for Big Finish is! But that's not surprising when you have writers like Nev Fountain and Una McCormack on board! Nev's story in particular is such a comedic jewel and it makes me mess myself how the comedy just doesn't relent from the get go in story one. What I also love about this first set though is also how markedly different in tone they are. Nev's story is all out bags of fun comedy and wit, Una's is a touching emotive yarn about Benny and her Mum, which I think is a splendid little piece of acting work. Guy Adams Random Ghosts is unsettling and brilliantly plotted and a little creepy, and James Goss' finale is back to the brilliant all out powerful ending block to this first set. And then just add a good dash of the pepper pots from Skaro then you know you have all the ingredients for a wonderful box set. Now I love Benny. She's such a cool character! And I love you Lisa! You keep on going girl. This series has started perfectly, I bet it will only get better and better and better. I love the four stories in this set, they all explore different aspects of Benny's character and flesh out her character ever more from her early days in the Novels. But she is far better in audio than on the page. She literally jumps to the ears and is always the most fun character in every story I've heard her in yet. One just cant get enough of good old Benny Surprise Summerfield. And its great to have her back with the good old Doc and Ace too. They are a formidable team!



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