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 by Jacob Licklider
The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield is one of those Big Finish ranges which slips under the radar of quite a lot of people. Bernice Summerfield is one of those characters who has a big role in the greater Doctor Who universe, as the companion most associated with the Virgin New Adventures range of novels and the character which gave Big Finish Productions their start. Benny’s own range has been running since 1998 through eleven series of single releases and five box sets before being rebranded in a box set series of ‘New Adventures’; fitting considering where the character came from. The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield has been releasing one box set each year since 2014, with a small hiatus in 2018 to celebrate 20 years of Big Finish by reviving the classic range. 2016’s The Unbound Universe took Benny out of her universe while 2017’s Ruler of the Universe brought the character and the David Warner Doctor, right back into our universe. Now, two volumes later, Big Finish are finally dealing with the fallout in Lost in Translation, as Benny and the Doctor spend a set on the run from the Time Lords who have deemed the Doctor an aberration, unfit to exist. Continue reading
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…”
Review by Jacob Licklider
The War Master: Anti-Genesis is the fourth, and potentially final, installment in Big Finish’s War Master range starring Derek Jacobi. Unlike the other Big Finish ranges dealing with the Time War, the War Master does not have an overarching plot through each of the four box sets as they are placed around this Master’s personal timeline. Anti-Genesis sets itself apart from the other three box sets, as unlike the previous sets, it is less a standalone War Master release, but a crossover with the Gallifrey range, featuring Sean Carlsen and Pippa Bennett-Warner as Narvin and President Livia, respectively. It is also a plot which reflects on Genesis of the Daleks and that stories implications for the Daleks and Time Lords, while placing the War Master directly in the action. For this review there will be spoilers for each of the stories in the set. As the set was only recently released, a non-spoiler review for those who have not heard it or are wary about spoilers: it is an excellent set. Derek Jacobi as always gives an excellent portrayal of the Master and giving him one scheme throughout instead of other sets giving him a scheme a story helps bring the set into a focus. The overarching plot is engaging and truly feels like a story involving a time war, instead of simply relying on Daleks and Time Lords engaging in traditional warfare. It’s a set that’s worth your time and should be picked up as soon as you can.
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.
Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
Big Finish, already being all over the Time War, now brings the Gallifrey gang into the fray. Continue reading