Review: Doctor Who – Stranded 4

Review by Jacob Licklider


Just over one year ago, in March 2021, the Main Range ended from Big Finish Productions as the box set format took root before being firmly established for 2022. Now, one other long running institution from Big Finish Productions is at an end, the 16 part, four disc set, Eighth Doctor miniseries which has been the format of Eighth Doctor releases for nearly a decade. Dark Eyes, Doom Coalition, Ravenous, and Stranded have all been released to acclaim and here we are with Stranded 4, the final set in this style.

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Review: Charlotte Pollard – The Further Adventuress

Review by Jacob Licklider


My first Big Finish Audio Drama was Storm Warning, it was 2014, and Big Finish had at some point previously put the first fifty main range on sale for $2.99. Charlotte Pollard was my first companion and now, twenty years later, Big Finish are releasing Charlotte Pollard: The Further Adventuress to commemorate India Fisher’s Charley Pollard and taking the Eighth Doctor back to his early days. Paul McGann is clearly having a blast in all four stories, giving life to an Eighth Doctor unblemished by the loss of friends or the Time War, something which we haven’t seen since Big Finish revisited the Lucie Miller era in 2019. Whenever they decide to revisit this version of the Eighth Doctor, McGann breathes a new life into the character and reuniting him with India Fisher helps the nostalgia of that era bleed into the tone of each of the stories. None of the stories are particularly dark or disturbing, they all at least reference the arc of the time that Charley Pollard should have been killed on the R-101, but most importantly they allow two friends a chance to perform together for the first time in nearly a decade since the 50th Anniversary in The Light at the End.

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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: Time Lord Victorious- Echoes Of Extinction

Review by Jacob Licklider


Echoes of Extinction is a release with a troubled history. Originally announced for a November 2020 release with the final Big Finish release for the Time Lord Victorious event as a download and vinyl exclusive at certain UK supermarkets, boasting Paul McGann and David Tennant both portraying the Doctor before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed it, making the vinyl exclusive to Big Finish’s own website. Now it is April 2021 and Echoes of Extinction has finally been released, making it the final installment in the event to actually be released in the event. It is also interesting as being made for vinyl, it is essentially two interconnected stories, each approximately 28 minutes to accommodate the vinyl’s limitations. This is also a multi-Doctor story in the vein of Heart of TARDIS, where each Doctor’s plot affects the other’s while never actually meeting each other. The story follows the same format as the main range story Flip Flop which each disc could be listened to individually and in either order. For full transparency, I listened to the story in the order they were presented in the Big Finish app, with the Eighth Doctor’s story first followed by the Tenth Doctor’s story, rounded off with the customary bonus interviews as is with these ranges.

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Review: Doctor Who – The End Of The Beginning

Review by Jacob Licklider


So here we are. March 2021 and the end of The Monthly Range of Doctor Who. Over 20 years and 275 releases, and Big Finish Productions have decided to give their flagship range on final multi-Doctor send-off adventure. Relative newcomer Robert Valentine was given the task of writing The End of the Beginning, a story which harkens back to the very first release in the range, The Sirens of Time, telling three connected adventures for three Doctors before bringing them together for the final episode in one big overarching plan. Each episode adds to the drama and ends with the Doctor (and this time companion) in some sort of danger while everything builds towards some universe breaking danger. The production of The End of the Beginning is put in the hands of Ken Bentley, one of the range’s most prolific directors, and the sound design and music by Wilfredo Acosta. This is an entire story based on making an homage to the range; including appearances from range exclusive characters for one last hurrah before Big Finish moves into a new era of box-sets and new adventures with different Doctors and companions. There is at least one Monthly Range release which is still coming as it was delayed, but this truly is the end of an era for Big Finish Productions.

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Review: Doctor Who – Stranded 2

Review by Jacob Licklider


Stranding the Eighth Doctor on Earth was by no means a new idea, it had been done in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, but making him a landlord with Liv and Helen made for an interesting change. Stranded 1 was released way back in June 2020 when we were all in lockdown and the future releases were sadly delayed, with Stranded 2 moving from its original November release date to March 2021. Stranded 1 was one of those releases while where I enjoyed it quite a bit, I felt slightly underwhelmed by the premise as it was very much Doctor Who does a soap opera, but sitting down to listen to Stranded 2 made me acutely aware of how I have missed this ensemble cast and their interactions. Like Jon Pertwee’s second season bringing some time travel back, Stranded 2 still contains four earthbound stories, it is the first to actually bring these new companions and residents of Baker Street into the TARDIS and exploring their history and interpersonal relationships. This premise allows it to stand out from the first set and the Pertwee era in a number of ways which makes it incredibly fun. As Stranded 2 is still kind of like Doctor Who does a soap opera, this review may contain minor spoilers for certain plot developments in the characters. This review was also written with each section right after listening, so each section may not reflect how any story arcs happen.

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Review: Doctor Who – Mutually Assured Destruction (Time Lord Victorious)

Review by Michael Goleniewski


‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ is honestly a bit of an annoying release to review right off the bat because it takes place not only after the previous Time Lord Victorious story ‘Enemy of My Enemy’ but also after the main thrust of the Time Lord Victorious event covered in the novel ‘The Knight, The Fool, and the Dead’ and its sequel ‘All Flesh is Grass’ which is yet to be released at the current time of writing. Its description as quote ‘Die Hard with Daleks’ by both its author and Big Finish as a whole is a fairly apt one and Lizzie Hopley’s script wastes no time in immediately jumping into that idea. With the Daleks last seen allying with the Eighth Doctor and venturing into the Dark Times in the prior audio story, the narrative catches up with them after an unspecified amount of time in the aftermath of what must’ve been an immense battle. Working to stay afloat in the Time Vortex in a rapidly disintegrating saucer, the titular pepper-pots are struggling to survive. But they have bigger problems on their hands for the Doctor is still alive and causing havoc onboard in the hopes of finding his TARDIS and getting away.

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Eric Roberts’ Master will face the Daleks in his own audio spin-off next year!

More than two decades on from his clash with Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, Eric Roberts’ malevolent incarnation of the Master gets his own full-cast audio series in March 2021.

Today the cover art for this upcoming release was unveiled.


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Review: Doctor Who – The Enemy of my Enemy (Time Lord Victorious)

Review by Jacob Licklider


The Enemy of My Enemy
is a perfect title for a Doctor Who story where the Doctor has to team up with the Daleks, and this installment of the Time Lord Victorious multimedia event puts the Eighth Doctor in a situation where there is no other option.  

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Review: The War Master – Hearts of Darkness

Review by Jacob Licklider


The War Master since its inception in 2017, has become one of Big Finish Productions’ most consistent ranges, with three of the four previous sets being released to critical acclaim with only one falling short. The range has been characterised by an exploration of darker themes throughout the Time War, giving Derek Jacobi one of the darkest incarnations of the Master to portray and explore. War is the prominent theme and how war changes people and planets, the hopelessness associated with a war to end all wars such as the Time War, and the atrocities which arise from two societies being pushed to their limit. The audio format is perfect for this type of story as it allows the cast and crew to go as dark as possible, using the power of suggestion to depict such atrocities and the listener’s mind is responsible for the gruesome images, all the while never having to restrict themselves to an adult only audience. These types of stories were best explored by the first, third, and fourth sets, while the fifth sets, Hearts of Darkness, instead decides to focus in on how the war is most effecting the two Time Lords set to survive the Time War, the Doctor, here played by Paul McGann, and, of course, the Master. Keeping the established format of four stories written by two authors, in this case David Llewellyn and Lisa McMullin, telling a linked tale over the four-hour period. Unlike previous sets, Hearts of Darkness employs several plot twists which recontextualises what has come before in the set, making it near impossible to separate each episode from one another. Things change, and like any good story, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Continue reading