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

Review: Doctor Who – The Lovecraft Invasion

Review by Michael Goleniewski


In the midst of an explosive unseen adventure, the Sixth Doctor and his TARDIS team of Philippa “Flip” Ramon and Constance Clarke are tracking a malevolent mind parasite through the Time Vortex. Joined by an interstellar bounty hunter, the group soon end up in 1937 Rhode Island hoping to capture it before it does any real damage. But they aren’t quick enough to stop it from attaching itself to a maligned author of the day but one with significant impact for the future: H.P. Lovecraft. As the monstrous gods of the ‘Lovecraftian’ universe including Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep emerge in full force to turn Earth into a nightmare-infested hellhole, the Doctor and Flip venture into the mind of the famed author himself while Constance remains behind to keep an eye on him. As the TARDIS team is thrown into a world of madness, racism, and death, it’s going to take everything they have to keep their minds intact whilst the end of days threatens to destroy the planet itself…..

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Review: Torchwood – Dinner and a Show

Review by Jacob Licklider


Mild spoilers

Gareth David-Lloyd contributes this month’s release; implying it is set sometime during Series 2 of the show.  This releases character focus is looking at the ‘sensible’ halves of the relationships on the show, Toshiko Sato in the Tosh/Owen relationship and Ianto in the Ianto/Jack relationship.  A performance of the opera Faust invaded by aliens, many of whom are simply looking to appreciate a different planet’s culture and an alien performer.  It’s also Valentine’s Day and both Owen and Jack have essentially ghosted their significant others.  It is implied that Jack isn’t available and Owen is still being Owen, going off and being unable to grapple with his own emotions.

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Review: Torchwood – Iceberg

Review by Jacob Licklider


There really is something special about the way character drama can be done with a two-hander. Writing a story with only two speaking roles means that the author has to get really close with who these people are and what their relationship is; often times testing what their relationship and interactions mean. It’s odd then that in promoting Torchwood: Iceberg, Big Finish Productions don’t really mention this is ‘that’ type of story, instead implying that it’s going to be an examination of the character of Owen Harper, who died and was resurrected via alien technology in Series 2.

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Review: Torchwood – Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes #4

Review by Michael Goleniewski


Torchwood as a spinoff and as an organisation is no stranger to bouts of experimentation. In the course of its existence both on and off-screen, the series has delivered some of the oddest sci-fi stories ever created answering questions such as ‘what would happen if people stopped dying?’ to ‘what would happen if there was sentient gas who existed on the energy of orgasms to survive?’ But ‘Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes’ is perhaps the most experimental Torchwood story yet; answering the question: what would happen if you made a sci-fi adventure out of a self-help stress release tape without any of the main cast and only one voice moving you through?

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Review: The Lives of Captain Jack (Vol. 3)

Review by Jacob Licklider


The three sets thus far in The Lives of Captain Jack are an interesting experiment as while the Torchwood range is a continuation of that show and that very adult brand; The Lives of Captain Jack is contained with the ‘from the worlds of Doctor Who‘ banner. This means that there isn’t explicit adult content which expands the audience for this release to a much wider range of listeners. The third volume is the first story to be released by Big Finish Productions to feature both Jack Harkness as played by John Barrowman and Alex Kingston’s River Song; bringing together two of the most memorable characters from the revival. This gives fans a story that they have been asking for since both characters made a lasting imprint and Jack was supposed to appear with River in ‘A Good Man Goes to War’.

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Review: Torchwood – Dissected

Review by Jacob Licklider


Whenever Big Finish Productions decides to release a story that is a two-hander the listener is almost guaranteed a classic.  Most of the best Companion Chronicles are the experimental two-handers like Solitaire and The Time Museum, and Robert Shearman’s highly experimental Scherzo is a work of brilliant.  

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A New Term For Class Thanks To Big Finish

Big Finish is going back to Coal Hill Academy for six new full cast audio adventures, based on the television series created by Patrick Ness, in arrangement with BBC Studios.

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Big Finish brings us War Master versus the Master

It takes a Master to defeat a Master…. Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Gatiss battle it out this December in a new four-part adventure from Big Finish Productions.


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Review: Doctor Who – Tartarus

Review by Michael Goleniewski


Tartarus is an unusual Main Range release in that it mixes two different casts together i.e a Doctor Who TARDIS team and the cast of one of Big Finish’s original releases, Cicero. Taking place in ancient Rome, Cicero centers around the tales of the real-life orator, lawyer, statesman, and philosopher who was a prominent player in the latter days of the Roman republic and the early days of the Roman empire. It’s a set that this reviewer has yet to hear at the time of writing but have heard fantastic things about and hope to tackle in the very near future. Thus, bringing these two casts and settings together seems like a novel idea for a great Who story a la ‘Fires of Pompeii’ (or ‘Fires of Vulcan’ from Big Finish’s main line) as well as a nice introduction in getting listeners excited to check out the other set.

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