The Great Journey: Big Finish Doctor Who Monthly Range 31-40
Posted On July 6, 2021
Spare Parts by Marc Platt
Jubilee by Robert Shearman
Neverland by Alan Barnes
The Church and the Crown by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright
Bang-Bang-a-Boom! by Gareth Roberts & Clayton Hickman
The Sandman by Simon A. Forward
The Time of the Daleks by Justin Richards
…ish by Phil Pascoe
The Rapture by Joseph Lidster
Embrace the Darkness by Nicholas Briggs
Well, here we are again, with another 10 Big Finish monthly range listens under my belt and, sadly, after a really good run the last time I did one of these rundowns, we’re back to a “best” and “rest” scenario. This time around there were three of ten stories that I didn’t particularly care for at all.
Spare Parts – Obvious choice, eh? Everyone name checks this one but, you know, sometimes things get name checked a lot for good reason. It’s bloody great. Cybermen get their own creation story. Davo acting his socks off. I think much of the imagery here informed World Enough and Time.
Jubilee – No surprise here, either. It’s the prototype of Shearman’s own Dalek plus a bunch of absolutely bonkers stuff you’d never think of in a million years if you’d just seen Dalek on the tele. A bit long, but Shearman’s writing is creative and funny and frankly a cut above most, so is forgiven.
Neverland – McGann’s Doctor goes together with Romana really well. We dig into some deep, deep Time Lord history. The Celestial Intervention Agency’s onboard. Yes, it’s totally fan-ish; you wouldn’t give this to a casual listener, but for where I sit as a fan, I thought it was great; I really liked it.
The Church and the Crown – Basically Davo and the Musketeers. Brilliant. It’s a very straightforward, traditional type of story (good grief, it even has a historical double for one of the cast!), but I found it very listenable for that reason. Stories don’t always have to be tricksy, timey-wimey bollocks.
Bang-Bang-a-Boom! – One of the hardest ones to rate here, so the one I will say the most about. Part of me laughs when I listen and thinks, ‘Very clever!’ in a genuine way, especially as I seem to get most – if not all – the in-jokes and references. Yet part of me sort of grimaces and thinks, yeah well done, it’s not that hard to take the piss out of series like Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5. And was that joke genuinely funny, or was it just because it was delivered in an over-the-top American accent that came right out of 1994 tele? Tossing in a space Eurovision, however, is pretty bonkers, so it falls on the right side of the ledger… but it does leave me in two minds. Is it genius or just silly? I really don’t know!
The Sandman – The premise of the Doctor being a scary bogeyman who’s done terrible things to the Gaylari is really intriguing, definitely keeps you hooked and mostly pays off. Not a classic though.
The Time of the Daleks – The Daleks and Shakespeare. Two super British things, together at last. It’s actually not bad, with the whole conceit of people forgetting Shakespeare being the hook into the story and keeping you there. There’s a little twist at the end, however, you see coming from miles off.
…ish – Writers writing about words and writerly things within their fiction bores me a fair bit, so this didn’t go down particularly well. It felt like it was trying to be too clever, but does play to Colin’s strengths with words. Gave me similar vibes to Whispers of Terror, which will probably just confuse anyone reading this, but I know what I mean. All told, it’s listenable, but I’ll unlikely go back to it.
The Rapture – Parts of this intrigued me. The dance music, the setting, the claims that the DJ is an angel… all of that drew me in, initially. But then we get into Ace’s brother, and from there the story just felt like it dragged on and on and on and eventually I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be caring about. Maybe I just didn’t hit it in the right frame of mind? Who knows. But here it sits.
Embrace the Darkness – This didn’t gel with me at all and I normally love 8th Doctor audios. The cast – outside of the Doctor and Charley – are largely unlikeable/forgettable, so I instantly think, why am I caring, even when awful body horror type things are happening to them? It’s also way too long for the concept. Culled down to four tight 25 minute episodes it might do OK, but still wouldn’t amaze.