Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: Fourth Doctor Adventures: Suburban Hell

DW4D0405_suburbanhell_1417This adventure features Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela.

It’s a standalone story, which is welcome because I suffer from extreme fatigue with Big Finish’s predilection for overusing a setting or group of characters.

The basic plot is an homage / parody of Abigail’s Party, but this is very much equivalent to the way the Hinchcliffe stories borrowed from a classic monster movie or gothic trope.

The story has some good details and clever science fiction but it is also, in a way similar to City of Death, a late 70s gentle comedy married to a science fiction drama.

The performances are uniformly good with a welcome lack of scenery chewing and the infamous Big Finish LOUD VOICES.

Tom Baker is having a great time, and it seems Louise Jameson is as well, although Leela is a by the numbers character at the best of times. Nevertheless Jameson gets every little bit of performance she can out of the role.

I’d recommend this one, especially for the following reasons:

1. stand alone story – thank goodness

2. good plot and strong basis for the threat

3. science fiction elements are handled with a light touch

4. very little techno- or any other sort of -babble

5. leads are in fine form.

In a way this is a bit like the Fourth Doctor’s equivalent of Year of the Pig, much more so than the overtly silly and marmite Auntie Matter.

Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: The Condemned

Condemned, The cover

25 word or less: Mancunian Noir. Only Doctor Who can do this so well.

A joy to listen to, with a classic murder mystery plus aliens, the reappearance of Charley Pollard – who actually works well with the Sixth Doctor having previously been a Companion of the Eighth Doctor. Fortunately what could be an irritating interpolation is actually entertaining.

The story races along, has great voice acting and is complex enough to keep you entertained along the whole four episodes.

Again I’m forced to observe that this is a good adventure that the current moffat who would be signally unable to create. Too much PC garbage, too much excruciating dialogue and too much ego from the showrunner.

But back to the Big Finish Audio – this is a play that definitely is enjoyable to relisten to. It also has a great atmosphere.

8/10

Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: Year of the Pig

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25 words or less: Toby the Sapient Pig holds court at the Belgian seaside at the outbreak of the Great War.

This is an amazing story which not only illustrates those types of adventure to which the Doctor usually refers without ever seeing them, but also presents a wonderful period piece.

Toby the Sapient Pig astounds and entertains and the Sixth Doctor and Peri are in rare form. Also, the Doctor gets drunk and embarasses himself with Marcel Proust. If nothing else happened and the play only went for 30 seconds, it was worth it for that.

I could have listened to this for a week. Wonderful stuff.

Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: Phantoms of the Deep

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25 words or less: Fourth Doctor and Romana I (Mary Tamm, god rest her) do SPHERE.

Not bad at all, wonderful to see Mary Tamm in action again.

It’s by the numbers but good by the numbers and the underwater setting adds to the entertainment.

K-9 is used appropriately.

7/10

Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time

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25 words or less: A very special boy breaks invisible rules and solves a great mystery about the disappearance of his Dad and about garden gnomes.

I laughed out loud but by the end I sobbed my heart out.

A story about a very special boy. Nuff said.

Peri at her best- furious at the Doctor in the funniest way. Nicola Bryant is brilliant. Colin Baker is amazing in this, award worthy.

And the villains are a fantastic idea.

It has been a long time since the television version achieved anything close to this.

This story kicked ass.

Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: The Wrong Doctors

The Wrong Doctors cover

25 Words or less: great story, great adventure, time travel done right, Mel at her best, Sixth Doctor magnificent.

This was enormously entertaining, it captured the flavour of its era (late 1980s) very well, taking the best of its tongue in cheek and somewhat “bolshie” parodial content and making it into a perfect balance of romp and story. It’s also an example of how the current television show could and should do a story with similar complexity – only without all the PC crap, gay agenda, preachy rubbish that makes no sense and “power of love saves the day” nonsense. This audio drama has heart, it’s immensely entertaining. It is worth every penny. There’s some lovely emotional moments. And they don’t involve people shouting “shut up”, slapping each other or criticising England or its culture. Weird, I know.

You need to listen this one and give it your full attention to enjoy it. Not because it’s too complex or too dull but because you won’t get a second chance to enjoy it in full if you don’t engage with it.

I have the feeling the main villain as such was a John Cleese tanist, but I doubt Cleese would have restrained his odious inner ham to do the role justice whereas the performer who did the role did it perfectly.

The pocket dimension in time and looping moments are great.

And it isn’t the sort of faux predestination paradox and horribly sloppy writing that has gutted the television series in recent years – this one really works.

10/10 if you are in the right mood and pay attention to it; I am sure if you just put it on to listen to and are NOT in the mood for this sort of Sixth Doctor story and time travel story — it would not be as enjoyable for you.

 

Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: Whispers of Terror

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25 words or less: Clever. An audio drama set in an audio library.

Colin Baker gives us the Sixth Doctor as he should have been – worth it for that alone. Peri in this one is a little laid back but perfect nonetheless. It’s a got a small scale, but that makes no difference to the entertainment value.

8/10