Get Adobe Flash player

Like & Follow JC!

  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Subscribe to this blog

Loading...Loading...


Tweets from JC!

View more tweets

Recent Comments

    Tom Baker

    Review: Doctor Who Bonus Release – Night of the Stormcrow

    stormcrow_cover_largeBlurb: High atop Mount McKerry sits the observatory. For years now it’s been watching the skies. Now something’s watching back. Something dark and huge that blots out the stars. Something with giant wings. Something that kills.

    When the TARDIS is struck mid-flight, the Doctor and Leela crash-land on the mountain to find they are not the only aliens to be visiting. Beings of nothing infest the complex, staff members are dead or mad. As the survivors argue amongst themselves and attempt to take advantage of the situation, a creature vast and terrible is coming ever closer.

    A creature called… Stormcrow.

    Review: The Fourth Doctor Adventures have made a conscious decision to set the stories within a particular segment of the Doctor’s history. For the stories with Leela that is between seasons 14 and 15. Season 14 is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the classic series. Tom Baker was at the height of his powers as the Doctor. Robert Holmes was script editor, cranking out stories inspired by gothic horror, and Philip Hinchcliffe was producer. Hinchcliffe was young for a producer and really wanted to push boundaries and make an impact. He allowed Holmes far more free reign in expressing those dark concepts in Doctor Who, a series that was vestigially still considered a “children’s programme”, despite the controversy. Yet, many of the first season of Fourth Doctor adventures, although set in this time period, failed to have that sense of risk. Night of the Stormcrow changes all of that.

    Night of the Stormcrow follows a formula very familiar to Doctor Who fans but it’s a formula that worked often in the classic series because it’s one that that allows a lot of variation. Bad stuff goes wrong in a secluded outpost. The Doctor and his companion arrive just after it’s finished. There’s suspicion from the personnel. They then find out that they’re cut off. Further bad things happen and some people start begrudgingly trusting the Doctor as he tries to help while others become more convinced that he’s guilty. Night of the Stormcrow doesn’t deviate from that formula but it works exceedingly well and since it doesn’t extend any links to other stories it is just as as appropriate for new listeners as well as those familiar with the classic series or Big Finish’s earlier Fourth Doctor stories.

    Writer Marc Platt does a fantastic job of creating a horror story around his own fears. In interviews he’s mentioned that he often wakes up at 3AM convinced that something terrible is going to happen. In writing this story he gave those fears voice. He’s crafted a very tense and dangerous situation with tons of atmosphere. He’s also one of the few writers who has used the two-part format well. Most of the Fourth Doctor adventures have felt as if they barely started before they ended. Here, Platt tells a story that fits into the length of two episodes perfectly. The characters are given sufficient development and the plot is developed sufficiently in that time. It is either a sign that Big Finish has figured out how to tell these shorter stories or that Platt himself has. Either way, it’s literally a nice change of pace and the story is allowed to develop naturally. The Stormcrow is never sufficiently explained but this appears to have been an intentional move on Platt’s part to leave it as a mysterious force and something only semi-understood. This may satisfy some but not others, but it’s a fairly small thing and only slightly mars an otherwise excellent story.

    Platt develops the characters sufficiently in the story, which is only complimented by the actors themselves. Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are both on the top of their game here. There are some wonderful scenes that feel like Tom never stopped playing the Doctor. He goes from being silly to gravely serious to back again at the drop of a hat. The scene where he makes everyone pancakes is such a mundane act in the middle of such terror that it seems like the kind of thing that Tom’s Doctor would do despite him never having done it in an episode before. I also love Leela’s part in this story. She overcomes her fear by knowing that she’s a hunter and that she will hunt the thing that makes her afraid. She’s also the one that brings the Doctor back from the brink. Her respect for him and her certainty that he will always do the right thing in the end is what saves him and it’s both a touching scene, a fitting development in the Doctor/Leela relationship, and wonderfully performed by both Tom and Louise. Ann Bell is the guest star who steals the show as Professor Gesima Cazalet. Her character is able to go from eager scientist to kindly grandmother to steely determination. It’s an interesting arc for the character but one whose seeds are sown at the beginning of the story and leads to a satisfying conclusion. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Chase Masterson also appears in this story as Peggy Brooks. Masterson proves to be a competent voice actress but is nothing exceptional. She may have been hindered by the fact that Peggy gets far less development than Gesima even though there’s also a surprising twist towards the end with her character. Rounding out the cast are Jonathan Forbes and Mandi Symonds who play Trevor and Erica respectively. Erica spends most of the story in a coma but Forbes plays Trevor as a man trying to come to grips with his inner fear. His arc also pays off in a satisfying end to the story as Platt has all of the characters play off against each other as the mystery of what the Stormcrow wants is finally resolved.

    Recommendation: Night of the Stormcrow is a really great story that hearkens back to the best of the Tom Baker era while telling a thoroughly original story. Fans of the classic series will feel nostalgia but this is fresh and new enough to interest new listeners as well. I definitely recommend listening to it.

    9/10

    2012

    Audio Drama

    Big Finish Productions

    Directed by Nicholas Briggs

    Produced by David Richardson

    Written by Marc Platt

    Runtime Approx 60 min.

    The post Review: Doctor Who Bonus Release – Night of the Stormcrow appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Review: Doctor Who The Fourth Doctor Adventures – Destination: Nerva

    destinationnervacover_cover_largeBlurb: After saying their goodbyes to Professor Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, the Doctor and Leela respond to an alien distress call beamed direct from Victorian England. It is the beginning of a journey that will take them to the newly built Space Dock Nerva… where a long overdue homecoming is expected.

    A homecoming that could bring about the end of the human race.

    Review: Destination: Nerva was the first of the range of Fourth Doctor Adventures made by Big Finish productions. Tom Baker had resisted doing the audios for many years, as he did with many other attempts to tie him back to the role with which he had such a love-hate relationship. According to the interviews Louise Jameson had finally convinced him to give Big Finish a try and record some audios. The first result were the two stories in the Fourth Doctor Box Set, but Destination: Nerva was the first story to be written for this new format. Unlike the typical length of the stories from Tom Baker’s run on TV, the Fourth Doctor Adventures are all 2-part adventures, allowing Big Finish to record more stories with the Doctor, but with the downside that these stories for the most part feel much more slight than their TV counterparts.

    One of the most surprising and pleasing aspects of Destination: Nerva is how little Tom and Louise seem to have changed over the years. Both of them leap back into their roles as if the intervening 40 years hadn’t happened. It’s a great feeling to hear the Doctor expressing righteous anger when he sees injustice. Louise gives a wonderful performance as the assertive and inquisitive Leela who wants to learn everything that the Doctor can teach her. The composer helps set the mood for the story by so effectively imitating the style of Dudley Simpson who had been the composer for almost all of the stories in Tom Baker’s run. The touch of Victoriana combined with the body horror of being turned into amorphous monsters flesh also really feels like the kind of story that the Hinchcliffe era would have produced. This story was clearly written with nostalgia in mind as even the setting is a location from two of Tom Baker’s television stories, and it succeeds in creating a sense of familiarity to those who remember Tom Baker’s run on the story.

    Unfortunately, the story doesn’t provide much beyond that. The pacing is horrible. The first episode feels like the typical build up to a storyline in this era of the series, but the second episode just ends abruptly as if someone was writing two episodes based on a story being a four-parter and was then asked to wrap everything up in the last 5 minutes of episode 2. So many of the motivations in the story don’t make sense. Even worse, we are told of a far more interesting story that happened in the past when Victorian soldiers traveled through space conquering in the name of the Empire. That story is only used as a backdrop for what occurs here, but it sounds like a far more interesting set of events and it’s a real shame that this wasn’t allowed to be fleshed out more.

    The guest cast are fine but few of them get any personality. Only Dr. Alison Foster is allowed to have any kind of a backstory and real character. Unfortunately, any thoughts that the backstory may have any real impact on the events that occur in the story are squashed by the end. The story of her child who only lived a few days is just there to give her color, which is fine, but in a story that so sorely needed something like plotting it seems like yet another wasted opportunity. Production-wise things get a little confusing in a few spots where a lot of sounds are thrown out and it’s not apparent what’s going on. It only happens in a few points and eventually you do get the exposition on what just occurred but it can be a bit of a strain trying to pay attention when it’s actually happening.

    Recommendation: The Doctor and Leela are back and it’s difficult not to be happy. This story gets a higher rating than it should just because it’s such a joy to have these two fine actors back recording Doctor Who again. The production team seems to understand that and have created a story high on nostalgia and Tom and Louise perform up to expectations. The problem is that the script isn’t supporting them and what’s produced is a meandering and illogical set of events. Some production misses that make it hard to understand what’s going on in a few key scenes don’t help either. This one is definitely a mixed blessing but ought to be given the benefit of the doubt as a Freshman outing.

    6/10

    2012

    Audio Drama

    Big Finish Productions

    Directed by Nicholas Briggs

    Produced by David Richardson

    Written by Nicholas Briggs

    Runtime Approx 60 min.

    The post Review: Doctor Who The Fourth Doctor Adventures – Destination: Nerva appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Earth Station Who Episode 69 – Genesis of the Daleks

    ESW Episode 69Mike, Mike, the Phantom Troublemaker, and Rob Levy are joined by artist Kelly Yates to discuss the story that gave new life to one of the Doctor’s oldest foes. We also talk to Kelly about some of the Doctor Who comics he worked on for IDW. Plus, Doctor Who is going on a world tour!

    Links
    Earth Station Who Amazon.com E-store
    SnakeDance
    Kinda
    ESW on iTunes
    ESW on Stitcher
    TARDISTOPIA
    The New ESO Window Sticker
    Make-A-Wish Foundation
    Genesis of the Daleks on DVD
    The Art of Kelly Yates

    If you would like to leave feedback or a comment on the show please call the ESW feedback line at (404)963-9057 (remember long distance charges may apply) or feel free to email us @ eswpodcast@gmail.com

    The post Earth Station Who Episode 69 – Genesis of the Daleks appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Earth Station Who Ep 54 – Light at the End

    More 50th anniversary fun! As “The Day of the Doctor” draws closer, the ESW crew listens in on the epic audio adventure from Big Finish featuring all eight classic Doctors. Mike, Mike, Jen, Josh Wilson, and Kris Nelson take a nostalgia-filled trip full of favorite voices from the past. Plus, we discuss other events of … Continue reading

    The post Earth Station Who Ep 54 – Light at the End appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.

    Earth Station Who Episode 48 – The Deadly Assassin

    The Doctor finally returns home to Gallifrey and he might not have a companion, but that doesn’t mean he’s alone. Mike, Mike, Phantom Troublemaker, Jennifer Hartshorn, and Kris Nelson don the traditional Timelord robes and accompany the Fourth Doctor as he battles his rival into the Matrix itself. Try though we may, no one can … Continue reading

    The post Earth Station Who Episode 48 – The Deadly Assassin appeared first on Transmissions From Atlantis.