Review: The War Master: Self-Defence

Review by Jacob Licklider


The Trial of a Time Lord 2: Electric Boogaloo is not the title of the release I am reviewing today, but perhaps it should be and I mean that lovingly. The War Master: Self-Defence was announced on the hook that the War Master would be sharing a story with David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, and with this announcement I stopped paying attention to the releases of plot summaries which is why it threw me for a loop when at the end of the first episode the War Master is put on trial by a race of god like beings from before the Time Lords after an introductory adventure in the set sets up the premise. The middle stories are flashbacks, though one feels like it may just be a flash forward a la Terror of the Vervoids. There is also no adherence to the format of A Christmas Carol looking explicitly at past, present, and future, just an opener, what’s used by the prosecution, the defence, and the final verdict which brings the Tenth Doctor into the story. Like the best installments of The War Master: Self-Defence is hung on a very solid story arc where each episode serves some sort of purpose to layering the plot to a point that explores the genuine depths the War Master will go to get his way. Like Master of Callous before it, Self-Defence is one where everything is re-contextualised at the end and an emotional hit is pulled off that although you can see it coming from a mile away, it just clicks and enhances both the performance of Derek Jacobi as well as the side characters.

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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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Review: 12th Doctor Chronicles (Vol 2) – Timejacked!

Review by Jacob Licklider


 

The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles, like the other instalments in the Doctor Chronicles range from Big Finish Productions started as a replacement for the Companion Chronicles and a chance to give the New Series Doctors a chance to shine while the actors playing those Doctors don’t come to Big Finish. Jacob Dudman is the actor who headlines the range, performing the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors. His Eleven is actually pitch perfect and his Tenth Doctor isn’t too far off, but his Twelfth Doctor was the performance that left audiences and myself cold in his Short Trips performances for being further away from Peter Capaldi, but for The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles: Timejacked! a switch occurs. Writers Matt Fitton and Lou Morgan implement a story arc and new companion for the Twelfth Doctor, young Time Agent Keira Sanstrom, played by Bhavnisha Parmar, and a tighter focus on the three stories bringing it in line with the new Big Finish style of box sets being either miniseries or separate serials in their own right. Dudman has also developed his impression of Peter Capaldi into less of an attempt to imitate the character but instead as a friend of mine noted, take inspiration from Peter Purves’ First Doctor in attempting to get the mannerisms and characterisation down, which makes Timejacked! feel more like a Twelfth Doctor story than anything else with Dudman in the role.

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Review: The War Master – Killing Time

Review by Jacob Licklider


What made the first two instalments of The War Master work incredibly well was the decision to have the Master acting as a background character, working his scheme and influencing people to do things that seem to be good before things fall right apart at the end and it turns out the Master’s been in control all along. Killing Time, the sixth installment (though the fifth to be recorded, switched due to the COVID-19 pandemic) places the Master on the Stagnant Protocol. The planet is one that is out of the way and only noticed when people think that it can be taken over for its own gain. Currently there is a viral plague which the government has been inefficiently handling allowing for a new empress to take power with the Master working from behind the scenes. Now, this series was recorded in 2019 before the COVID-19 virus even existed, yet James Goss and Lou Morgan, in writing a science fiction set where the government doesn’t take the plague seriously, and the scientists are trying desperately to find a cure to the variants. In the behind the scenes interviews, the absurdism of Goss and Morgan’s premises for these episodes, as they weren’t expecting a global pandemic to take the world into one where the situation of the Stagnant Protocol is one that we now all know far too well. Even more coincidentally, this isn’t the only time this happened for Big Finish, two main range releases were delayed for similar reasons.

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Review: The War Doctor Begins – Forged in Fire

Review by Jacob Licklider


The War Doctor range was one of the Big Finish ranges sadly cut off due to the passing of Sir John Hurt.  A fifth box set was actually planned and some of those scripts have been used in other ranges such as The War Master, at least in similar premises.  Now that time has passed, the character has been recast with Jonathon Carley, most well known for several fan Doctor Who productions, and instead of continuing John Hurt’s legacy as the character which may have been insensitive if done incorrectly, goes back to the beginning of the character to explore what the War Doctor actually kind of means.  The War Doctor Begins was announced as four box sets, starting release in June 2021 all looking to lead to essentially where their War Doctor releases began.  Forged in Fire sports a beautifully painted cover by Claudia Gironi featuring Daleks and Thals and a younger John Hurt.  It also is a set which sets up something interesting for the character, taking a step away from what Steven Moffat implied with the character, that he was the version of the Doctor who went against everything that the Doctor stood for, that his purpose was to be a warrior.  There is something to be said to the recast; Carley joins Jon Culshaw’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sadie Miller’s Sarah Jane, and Elliot Chapman’s Ben Jackson (among others) in Big Finish’s roster of perfect recasts.  Carley worked closely with director Louise Jameson to ensure that his impression was more than just an impression, but really embodying the younger version of the character.  He makes it his own and Jameson’s direction is also a welcome change as her touch makes the entire set have a different atmosphere to Big Finish’s usual output. Continue reading

Review: Gallifrey – Time War (Vol 4)

Review by Michael Goleniewski


Romana is lost to the Time War though Leela and Narvin still fight to survive. A resistance, caught between Rassilon’s fury and the Dalek Emperor’s mania, have a desperate plan to stop the conflict. Everything ends. And for some on Gallifrey, the Time War will soon be over.

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Review: Gallifrey – Time War (Vol 3)

Review by Michael Goleniewski


“Romana and Narvin are exiles, driven from Gallifrey by Rassilon’s regime and cut adrift amid the horrors of the Time War. Their one remaining hope is that they can find their friend: Leela was also lost in the maelstrom of battle, but she is fighting to survive…”

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Review: Torchwood – God Among Us (Part 2)

Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)


Yvonne Hartman (Tracy-Ann Oberman) leads Torchwood once more with Captain Jack (John Barrowman) still in the mix with the new Torchwood team as the stakes only get higher.

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