Most movie novelizations end up being a not-quite-final draft of the film’s script converted into prose. There’s the occasional deleted scene or expanded character backstory, but it’s mostly just a book version of the film, as you’d have seen it. Doctor Who: The TV Movie is precisely that kind of novelization. It’s well written, sure, and Russell’s prose adds a fair amount of depth to the story that a ninety-minute TV film simply can’t have. But it’s still a very safe, very standard novelization. It’s a little disappointing compared to how different some of the other recent Target novelizations are to their original stories, but I’m kind of okay with Russell’s adaptation being as faithful and safe as it is. I have quite the soft spot for the TV film, and Russell’s novel does a great job of capturing what works about the film. (4 out of 5 wands.)
NOTE: This review features mild spoilers for Doctor Who: The TV Movie and its novelization. Read at your own risk.
Doctor Who: The TV Movie (written by Gary Russell) It’s December 1999, and strange things are happening as the new millennium nears. A British police box appears from nowhere in San Francisco’s Chinatown and the mysterious man inside it is shot down in the street. Despite the best efforts of Dr Grace Holloway, the man dies and another stranger appears, claiming to be the same person in a different body: a wanderer in time and space known only as the Doctor.
But the Doctor is not the only alien in San Francisco. His deadly adversary the Master is murdering his way through the city and has taken control of the TARDIS. The Master is desperate to take the Doctor’s newly regenerated body for himself, and if the Doctor does not capitulate, it will literally cost him the Earth… and every last life on it.
In celebration of this week’s release of series 4 of Big Finish Productions’ The Diary of River Song, I figured it was about time I finally listened to the first three series. Starring Alex Kingston (reprising her role as River Song from Doctor Who), The Diary of River Song features the continuing adventures of our favorite archaeologist from the new series of Doctor Who. Each series features four new stories, all tied together by an overarching plotline, with River facing another dangerous threat, often with the help of one of her husband’s many different faces.
Alex Kingston reprises her hugely popular River Song character for Big Finish, starring in a new series of adventures in the Doctor Who universe…
Overall, I’m just really, really pleased with these Eighth Doctor Time War sets. The Eighth Doctor is one of my favorite Doctors and the Time War is one of my favorite elements of Doctor Who mythology, so I’m really pleased to see it explored so well in these audios. Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War Series 2 is the second Big Finish Productions box set in a series of four featuring the Eighth Doctor’s adventures during the Time War. Starring Paul McGann as the Doctor, Rakhee Thakrar as Bliss, Jacqueline Pearce as Cardinal Ollistra, Nikki Amuka-Bird as Tamasan, and Julia McKenzie as the Twelve, The Time War 2 sees the Doctor and Bliss continue to fight for survival during the Time War. As the Time War gets more treacherous the Time Lords and Daleks become more desperate and they’ll use anything and anyone at their disposal… the Doctor and Bliss can only hope to avoid the crossfire. (NOTE: There may be spoilers in this review… read ahead at your own risk!) (more…)
In light of the recent release of Volume 2 of Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor Time War series (review coming later this week), I figured I’d finally give the first set a listen. I really should’ve done this earlier, because it’s the first piece of Doctor Who that’s really made the Time War feel like a Time War. Written by John Dorney and Matt Fitton and DIrected by Ken Bentley, Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War Series 1 is the first in a run of four boxsets that serve as a prequel to Big Finish’s four War Doctor boxsets. In Series 1, the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) is pulled into the events of the Time War, a war he has been avoiding as long as he possibly could. A terrible war is being waged through space and time, as two powerful enemies rip the cosmos apart in a final struggle to the death. The Doctor stands apart from this conflict: he is not a warrior, but a healer. But the Time War is snapping at his heels, and soon he will have no choice but to turn and face its horrors… (Warning: spoilers ahead!)(more…)
Shada. The long lost adventure from famed sci-fi writer Douglas Adams. Over the years since its aborted filming, the adventure has undergone no less than three separate adaptations. The question is: which Shada is the ultimate Shada? With the release of another version of the story, it’s becoming harder and harder to figure that out, so let’s break it down in a Tale of Three ‘Shada’s. Originally written by famed author – and one-time Doctor Who script editor – Douglas Adams, Shada follows the Doctor and Romana, his Time Lady companion, as they investigate a mysterious summons from an old friend of the Doctor, Cambridge Professor Chronotis, and work to thwart the plans of the evil Skagra – a man seeking the Professor, and a book he possesses, for his own evil ends. Their adventure will take them from 1970s Earth to a mysterious Time Lord prison planet that nobody can remember: Shada. Beware Skagra. Beware the Sphere. Beware Shada. For this review, we’re gonna be looking at three particular adaptations of Shada: the 2003 BBC-i/Big Finish Productions webcast/audio adaptation, the 2012 novelization (by Gareth Roberts), and the 2017 BBC animated reconstruction. (more…)
I feel like I liked the premise of this box set more than I liked the box set itself. But, that’s not to say Doom Coalition 4 wasn’t good – because it was – it just wasn’t quite as good as I’d have liked. Written by Matt Fitton and John Dorney and directed by Ken Bentley, Doom Coalition 4 picks up exactly where Doom Coalition 3 ended: Padrac (Robert Bathurst) has trapped the Doctor (Paul McGann), Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker), and Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan) inside a time escape pod and launched them into the future of the destroyed universe. Meanwhile, Padrac still has River Song (Alex Kingston) in his sights, yet she seems to be on his side. Just what game is she playing and how will it play out? Will the Doctor be able to escape and thwart Padrac’s ultimate plan to destroy the universe in order to save Gallifrey? And what about the Eleven (Mark Bonnar) and Caleera (Emma Cunniffe)? Whose side are they really on and how far will they go to achieve their goals. (Spoilers ahead) (more…)
Finally! This is the kind of box set I’ve been wanting from this series the whole time! The stories are all interconnected, especially the latter three. and on top of that, they’re all superb stories, too! Written by Matt Fitton and John Dorney and directed by Ken Bentley, Doom Coalition 3 picks up shortly after the events of the previous box set with the Doctor (Paul McGann), Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker), and Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan) continuing to travel throughout space and time. Naturally, wherever the Doctor goes, trouble always follows, and this is no exception as the Doctor uncovers mysterious pieces of a clock rumored to be the Doomsday Chronometer, a clock built by a Time Lord known only as The Clocksmith (Nicholas Woodeson). Can the Doctor stop the Clocksmith from bringing about the end of the universe? And how does that mysterious nun (Alex Kingston as River Song) factor into things? (Spoilers ahead.)
Well, this one’s an improvement over the last one, that’s for sure. While still a bit too monster/case-of-the-week for my tastes, at least all of the stories are well written. In Doom Coalition 2, the Doctor (Paul McGann), Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker), and Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan) continue their search through time and space for the Eleven (Mark Bonnar), a Time Lord criminal with a disorder that causes him to retain the personalities of all of his previous regenerations. On their journey, they encounter another Time Lord, Caleera (Emma Cunniffe), who is equally messed up as the Eleven is. The Doctor and friends must stop Caleera from using her psychic powers to destroy the universe. During their journey, they encounter the Voord, brainwashed Time Lords, an odd “gift” sweeping through the residents of 1906 San Francisco, and none other than the Doctor’s wife herself, River Song (Alex Kingston). Can the Doctor, Liv, Helen, and River stop the Eleven and Caleera from causing irreparable harm to the universe? (Spoilers follow.) (more…)
Not to be rude to Dark Eyes, but man I am in love with the premise Doom Coalition. Partially because I just really love anything to do with the Time Lords and Gallifrey, and since the Eleven (Mark Bonar) is a really messed up Time Lord, he’s far more up my alley than the array of Daleks that Dark Eyes featured. Unfortunately, however, the box set really fails to live up to the high expectations its premise (and first episode) set for it. Written by Matt Fitton, John Dorney, Marc Platt, and Edward Collier and directed by Ken Bentley, Doom Coalition 1 follows the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) as they track down an escaped Time Lord criminal known as the Eleven, a Time Lord with some kind of genetic defect that causes him to retain the personalities of all eleven of his bodies. Their journey takes them through time and space as they must stop the Eleven from succeeding in his evil plan. (Spoilers follow.)(more…)
Big Finish has returned with another installment in their Classic Doctors, New Monsters range. This time featuring the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Doctors, Classic Doctors, New Monsters (Volume 2) features four stand-alone stories with the Doctors facing the Vashta Nerada, the Racnoss, and the Carrionites. What’s unique about this box set is that the Fourth Doctor story and the Eighth Doctor story are loosely linked, both featuring the Vashta Nerada as villains. This is a clever idea, especially bookending the set with these two stories, and they prove to be my favorite stories of the bunch, not to suggest that any of the stories are bad. On the contrary, I really enjoyed all of them and it saddens me that Big Finish sees this as being the last of these box sets for the imminent future. (Spoilers ahead) (more…)