Torchwood is back with a brand new seventh series, following from the Aliens Among Us and God Among Us series previously released. Now considering that I had not heard either of those two series before this point I thought I would be hopelessly lost but rest assured that this boxset feels like a good enough jumping on point since the writers do a good job at getting you up to speed quickly. The four stories here all have a strong linking theme of prejudice, and the set takes the themes to some interesting places. As a continuation of what we have seen on television, this is a worthy successor to the four series we got on our screens.
The second installment in The Eleventh Doctor Chronicles final hurrah for Jacob Dudman’s time portraying the character, All of Time and Space, continues the generic titling while the sets themselves are anything but generic.This marks the halfway point for the series, with the final two sets coming in late 2023 and early 2024 respectively, and if you’re going in expecting some big revelation as to where the arc is going you may be disappointed.All of Time and Spaceinstead focuses on exploring the character dynamics between the Eleventh Doctor and Valarie as they continue their travels and come across something that will break that relationship down to an interesting point.While I will be avoiding larger plot spoilers for this review, as much of the set works if you go in knowing little of the big character defining moments, All of Time and Space is a set that will work at its best if you are listening to it without preconceptions and having heard Geronimo! recently.If you’ve come to this review to know if it is worth it, it is definitely worth it, it is one of the few recent releases from Big Finish to genuinely return to experimental storytelling with its heaviest focus on character development.
This review was always going to be a difficult review to write. As announced The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield: Blood & Steel is set in Weimar Germany during the rise of the Nazis and as such this review will be discussing fascism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism due to the historical setting. This is also discussing the last time David Warner will be playing the Doctor due to his passing this year, though not the last Big Finish release (or even Doctor Who release) to feature Warner. While there is no word yet from Big Finish, it would not be a surprise if this was the end of The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield as a range, ending as a fitting tribute to the Doctor who came to define the range, appearing as the secondary lead in five of the seven box sets released. As a range, it became a wonderful opportunity for new talent while continuing the legacy of perhaps the most important character to Doctor Who’s continued life during the Wilderness Years. Bernice Summerfield is what gave the Virgin New Adventures their longevity and is where Big Finish Productions got their start. If this is the end for the range and possibly the character, it is a brilliant set to go out on, but since there have already been two Bernice Summerfield ranges before this, Benny may not be truly gone. At least, not yet.
The Year of Martha Jones is the third Big Finish Box Set spin-off featuring a companion from Russell T. Davies’ run as Doctor Who’s showrunner. Recorded in February 2020, but not released until December 2021, this release was a long time coming, having been leaked on performer’s online CVs, but it was only announced in 2021. While certain forums have speculated what kept this release on the back-burner for so long (only Tom Baker’s banked releases, which have been kept back for a number of years, and the missing Fifth Doctor/Marc Monthly Range stories, which were pulled due to the pandemic, have had this kind of a delay in even being announced), yet the only concrete development can be gained from the behind the scenes mentioning that it was originally planned to be a four disc set, reduced to three, and that the same month that this was being recorded, Freema Agyeman reprised her role as Martha Jones in Torchwood: Dissected.
With the first two series of Missy, Rufus Hound’s portrayal of the Meddling Monk appearing in one story for each set already becoming a standout, for Series Three the subtitle Missy and the Monk was given. Hound is featured as Missy’s own companion in each of the three stories, all travelling the universe together. Except because it’s Missy piloting the Monk’s TARDIS, the Monk is much more a hostage than say an active participant which is an excellent dynamic, making Rufus Hound the butt of the joke which is just a perfect dynamic throughout. Missy and the Monk is also notable for being from mostly new writers meaning that it’s a set with its own distinct flavour from the previous two with less emphasis on Missy as an evil ‘Mary Poppins’ (there aren’t any stories here with the Davis siblings) and more of her as the crazy version of the Master with the hair-brained yet genius schemes. Some complaints I have seen of this set are that ‘Miss’y and ‘the Monk’ are perhaps parodies of themselves, but I can’t really see that as Missy is already a character who doesn’t take the Monk seriously and is just keeping him around for her own amusement. That’s just their dynamic and it has been in the previous sets with Michelle Gomez and Rufus Hound playing off each other brilliantly. Though one slight issue with the set as a whole is that the incidental music, while always great, relies a bit too much on reusing the tracks from the first two sets.Continue reading →
Big Finish’s Torchwood Monthly Range is no stranger to taking deep cuts from Whoniverse canon. Within the span of its range, it’s made Tom Price’s PC Andy one of the most developed characters in the series, saw Murray Melvin’s Bilis Manger return to cause more chaos in several creepy adventures, and even threw a weird trilogy of Queen Victorian stories together that turned out to be some of the best of its respective canon. But ‘Empire of Shadows’is aiming to take the biggest stab of all at time of writing, bringing back a well-liked but not particularly noteworthy character from the biggest (and best) two-parter from ‘Doctor Who Series 2’, Captain Zachary Cross Flane, for a sci-fi conspiracy thriller involving the death of royalty and a potential opportunity for Torchwood to regain its influence on the Earth Empire….
What made the first two instalments of The War Master work incredibly well was the decision to have the Master acting as a background character, working his scheme and influencing people to do things that seem to be good before things fall right apart at the end and it turns out the Master’s been in control all along. Killing Time, the sixth installment (though the fifth to be recorded, switched due to the COVID-19 pandemic) places the Master on the Stagnant Protocol. The planet is one that is out of the way and only noticed when people think that it can be taken over for its own gain. Currently there is a viral plague which the government has been inefficiently handling allowing for a new empress to take power with the Master working from behind the scenes. Now, this series was recorded in 2019 before the COVID-19 virus even existed, yet James Goss and Lou Morgan, in writing a science fiction set where the government doesn’t take the plague seriously, and the scientists are trying desperately to find a cure to the variants. In the behind the scenes interviews, the absurdism of Goss and Morgan’s premises for these episodes, as they weren’t expecting a global pandemic to take the world into one where the situation of the Stagnant Protocol is one that we now all know far too well. Even more coincidentally, this isn’t the only time this happened for Big Finish, two main range releases were delayed for similar reasons.
Freema Agyemanreturns in her own triumphant trio of audio adventures, to be released in December 2021.
After more than a decade away from the TARDIS, the Tenth Doctor’s companion, Martha Jones, is returning to the world of Doctor Who, in a brand-new box set of full-cast audio drama from Big Finish Productions.
If you follow the reviews I have written in the past for IndieMacUser I have indulged in discussions on how Big Finish have during the COVID-19 pandemic, but what hasn’t been discussed yet is the releases which have been disrupted. Luckily Big Finish Productions rarely announce releases before recording has at the very least began, yet The Diary of River Song Series 8 has become one of those releases which had to be changed while recording was occurring due to the pandemic. Continue reading →
Seven Doctors in seven unforgettable adventures join the Doctor Who Target book range, all publishing on 11th March 2021, each with newly commissioned cover artwork by Anthony Dry.
These latest novelisations, almost all written by the original writers of the TV episodes, will help Target fans finally complete their classic-era collection, and take the Target range into its next incarnation.