Review: Doctor Of War – Genesis

Review by Jacob Licklider


The Unbound range essentially started as a way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who by introducing six alternate universe takes on the Doctor and Doctor Who based around questions like “What if the Doctor never left Gallifrey?” or “What if the Doctor was exiled to Earth in the 1990s?”. This allowed different actors and actresses to take on the role of the Doctor, but after the initial six release run there weren’t any new Unbound Doctors introduced, two more releases in 2005 and 2008 before the David Warner Doctor was paired with Bernice Summerfield. So, imagine the surprise when it was announced that the range would be revived for two box sets using a new Unbound Doctor, the Doctor of War, played by Colin Baker, in a timeline that diverges during Genesis of the Daleks for two box sets, Genesis and Destiny (named after the Tom Baker Dalek serials).full

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Audio Review: The Worlds of Blake’s 7 – The Terra Nostra

Review by Ian McArdell


The Terra Nostra returns us to the criminal organisation first glimpsed in the Blake’s 7 episode Shadow, for a set of stories in the shady underworld of the Federation. Taking their inspiration from the Mafia, the Terra Nostra seemingly stretched throughout the galaxy and it was heavily implied that they existed as a form of Federation soft power within the criminal classes. This boxset also draws together strands from the previous two in The Worlds of Blake’s 7, The Clone Masters and Bayban the Butcher – notably the story of the psycho-strategist Hinton. Continue reading

Review: Doctor Who – Stranded 3

Review by Jacob Licklider


Stranded as a miniseries ended its second set with the Doctor being thrust into the future with companions Liv, Helen, Tania, and Andy where the Earth has come under a fascist dictatorship run by Divine Intervention. Stranded 3 picks up where Stranded 2 left off and with any of the multi-set series from Big Finish, and especially for the Eighth Doctor Adventures, this is not going to be a set aimed at newcomers. It continues the character driven nature of the other sets and the general Earthbound nature of the previous two sets, but the TARDIS is now working enough so the Doctor can actually travel in time, none of the episodes being set in a normal 2020/2021, the closest we get being John Dorney’s finale dealing with some of Divine Intervention and setting up the final box set. As with the final story having the gimmick of starting at the end and going back to the beginning, that is how this review will be structured. We will be starting at the end and working our way back to the beginning as Stranded 3 brings something very different to the standard box set, even by the standards of Stranded making it some of the more interesting sets from Big Finish. Continue reading

Review: The Ninth Doctor Adventures – Lost Warriors

Review by Jacob Licklider


Ravagers introduced Christopher Eccleston to the world of Big Finish as the Ninth Doctor through a miniseries.  Respond to All Calls switched gears towards three thematically similar stories with the idea being the Doctor, battle scarred and hardened, is always there to help.  The third set follows the format of Respond to All Calls, three stories tied around a theme, but that theme is a little subtler and is perhaps why some people haven’t gelled as much with this set as a whole.  Lost Warriors is a title which sets up the set with a subconscious exploration of the remnants of the Time War, and that’s there, but only in the last story and in the way the Ninth Doctor is characterised.  Each story has a warrior at its centre and each is an exploration of a different reaction to a war, one from a modern human war, one from a human war in the past, and one from an alien war, while the Doctor representing the Time War in all three of the stories.  It’s interesting as the Time War isn’t really directly mentioned in any notable capacity throughout the set, it’s in the background and simmering, but not actually being the driving force of the stories.  It’s a set about other warriors and other people as a reflection of the Doctor and not a direct parallel.  Eccleston’s portrayal of the Doctor is incredibly subtle here with the trauma and in each of the three stories he is absolutely brilliant in the role.  Some have complained he is too close to Tennant, but this is an odd set where the Doctor is actually the connection to the audience which usually is the companion’s job.

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Review – The Diary of River Song – New Recruit

Review by Jacob Licklider


October was already set to be a celebration of the Third Doctor era, bringing out the second Third Doctor Adventures set this year, but July saw the announcement of The Diary of River Song: New Recruit, sending River back to Season 7 with the Doctor travelling Europe and Liz and the Brigadier left back at UNIT. Of course, Tim Treloar reprises his role of the Third Doctor for the final story, but this is a celebration of the early years of the Pertwee era with a twist, putting River in the role of the Doctor and Liz as a companion making for a very different dynamic. Each of the four stories pastiches a Pertwee style story with the final one in particular providing one last twist for a Pertwee story which Big Finish have been unable to do until very recently which ends the set with one very pleasant twist. This twist is one which listeners would not want to have spoiled, and the TARDIS Wiki articles for these stories do provide spoilers so I implore potential listeners to avoid looking anything up about these stories. This review will only include light spoilers for plot details, but none of the big twists will be spoiled.

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Review: Missy and The Monk (Missy Series 3)

Review by Jacob Licklider


With the first two series of Missy, Rufus Hound’s portrayal of the Meddling Monk appearing in one story for each set already becoming a standout, for Series Three the subtitle Missy and the Monk was given. Hound is featured as Missy’s own companion in each of the three stories, all travelling the universe together. Except because it’s Missy piloting the Monk’s TARDIS, the Monk is much more a hostage than say an active participant which is an excellent dynamic, making Rufus Hound the butt of the joke which is just a perfect dynamic throughout. Missy and the Monk is also notable for being from mostly new writers meaning that it’s a set with its own distinct flavour from the previous two with less emphasis on Missy as an evil ‘Mary Poppins’ (there aren’t any stories here with the Davis siblings) and more of her as the crazy version of the Master with the hair-brained yet genius schemes. Some complaints I have seen of this set are that ‘Miss’y and ‘the Monk’ are perhaps parodies of themselves, but I can’t really see that as Missy is already a character who doesn’t take the Monk seriously and is just keeping him around for her own amusement. That’s just their dynamic and it has been in the previous sets with Michelle Gomez and Rufus Hound playing off each other brilliantly. Though one slight issue with the set as a whole is that the incidental music, while always great, relies a bit too much on reusing the tracks from the first two sets. Continue reading

River Song meets the Third Doctor

Tim Treloar’s Third Doctor and Alex Kingston’s Professor River Song are colliding in a brand new box set of adventures from Big Finish.

River-Song-New-Recruit-Doctor


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Review: Doctor Who – The Blazing Hour

Review by Jacob Licklider


As February continues on, Big Finish’s monthly range reaches its penultimate installment, and it becomes clear that the end of the range is meant to parallel its beginning. As the second story was a Fifth Doctor and Turlough adventure, so is The Blazing Hour, making the total number of adventures to feature this specific TARDIS team in the Monthly Range to reach the large number of five. It makes The Blazing Hour one of those rare opportunities to see a rare all-alien TARDIS teams; placing the Doctor and Turlough in a story that reflects on the absolute worst of humanity. This is a story where one should not judge the release by it’s cover. The cover from Tom Webster is strikingly surreal; boasting Turlough in a wheelchair, the Fifth Doctor barely standing, a disfigured figure, and flames in the background. While all of these things occur in The Blazing Hour, instead of telling a story of surrealism, James Kettle provides a story all about the greed that humanity succumbs to and how that can corrupt genuinely good ideas and advancements in technology. The first episode of this story spends quite a bit of time on speaking against the idea of nuclear power in a manner close to sounding like a Luddit;, as Kettle focuses on the ease at which nuclear energy could go awry. While Kettle intends it to be cautionary and foreshadowing, it isn’t as clear here that he is speaking on what happens when negligence and greed become the main point of running a power station.

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Review: Doctor Who – Shadow of the Daleks 1

Review by Jacob Licklider


Shadow of the Daleks is an interesting idea for a Doctor Who Big Finish release, at least for the Main Range. Instead of a single release, this is a story arc crossing two releases made up of eight individual episodes from different writers, all with the conceit of the Time War breaking into the life of the Fifth Doctor and a collection of people. This review is of only the first release, as it serves as the October Main Range release, Shadow of the Daleks 1, as the second installment has not been released and the story has not been concluded. As a series of four individual stories that have an overarching narrative, I will be foregoing any sort of format and just talking about what strikes me as this is a very different type of story. Listeners going in should expect that the title Shadow of the Daleks is apt as while the Daleks appear, and Nicholas Briggs is always excellent, they are not the focal point, staying in the literal shadows of each of the four episodes. The implication is that they are fighting the Time War, and possibly dragging earlier Doctors into events in a gambit to win, but as it stands there isn’t much to know of what they are. They are even referred to only as the Enemy in one of the stories which brings back images of the Eighth Doctor Adventures and Virgin New Adventures where the Terry Nation estate did not allow their use in the novels.

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Review – The Diary of River Song (Series 7)

Review by Jacob Licklider


As a spin-off series, The Diary of River Song is one which has perhaps relied the most on it’s connections to Doctor Who as a parent show.  The first four series were promoted by prominently featuring the Fourth through Eighth Doctors, Series Five featured four distinct incarnations of the Master, and Series Six heavily featured the eras of the first four Doctors revisiting classic stories in prequels, mid-quels, or sequels.

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