caz963: (Eight)
[personal profile] caz963
I didn't get around to posting anything about the second of Big Finish's audios featuring Eight and Mary Shelley, so as the third has just been released, I thought I might as well kill two birds with one stone.



I've thoroughly enjoyed listening to all three of these adventures and am sad that it's going to be another year before the release of any more Eight audios (there's going to be a boxed set next autumn of stories that follow on directly from the events of To The Death - available at a discounted price if you pre-order!). Mary Shelley has proved to be an excellent companion and I hope that BF can find a way to bring her back because Paul McGann and Julie Cox work very well together; and Mary's mixture of naïveté and wisdom, her insight and empathy have really brought out Eight's lighter, more playful side.

I have to admit that I found Witch from the Well a bit hard to get into. The Doctor and Mary are separated for the majority of the story (which is a shame and, I felt, a waste given that there are only (so far) these three stories featuring her) because they end up in different eras; Mary in the present day while the Doctor remains in the seventeenth century. The plot revolves around the titular witch, of course, isn't; instead it's a dangerous alien that's been imprisoned in the well for centuries. Excavations in the preset day disturb the site, but waiting for the alien to emerge so that they can kill it are Finicia and Lucern, the twin children of the seventeenth century squire. Except they're also aliens who killed the real twins and assumed their forms, the better to observe and lie in wait for the witch. The story is quite complex, and in addition to the timey-wimey-ness of the plot, the same actors are also playing different versions of themselves - although fortunately, they all do a good job of differentiating them.

I enjoyed it, although I did have to rewind a few times just to make sure I kept up with the twists and turns of the plot!

Army of Death is a much more straightforward story, as Mary and the Doctor battle an army of the dead - literally. (I'm immediately envisioning the army of skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts!)
Two colonies, established on a distant world, co-exist in peace until one of the cities - Garrak - suffers a catastrophic explosion, which kills all its inhabitants. It's pretty obvious where the Army of Death comes from and what it wants, but the story is no less enjoyable for that. There is mention in this story of the way in which Mary's feelings towards the Doctor have grown; she compares him to Percy and of course, Percy can't possibly match up! The device of Mary reading from her diary is used in order to illuminate her thoughts, but I can't help feeling that it doesn't quite work. She's not diarised any of her other adventures with the Doctor, so why this one?

But that's a minor niggle. It's a solid story and features some very good performances - including some from long-time DW fan, Mitch Benn. (Devotees of The Now Show will no doubt remember his outrage at the prospect of DW being postponed to make way for the World Cup and resulting song a few years back).

I liked all three of the Eight and Mary stories very much, although if pressed to select a favourite, I'd probably have to go with The Silver Turk which I think is the strongest of the three.

I'm looking forward to some new Six next month :-)

Date: 2011-12-18 09:59 pm (UTC)
nwhyte: (tardis)
From: [personal profile] nwhyte
I agree with your ranking of the three. I am a little less wild about The Witch from the Well, but thought that Army of Death was solid and The Silver Turk excellent.

Date: 2011-12-19 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caz963.livejournal.com
I definitely think Witch is the weakest of the three. When I started it, I was really enthused by the setting - the witchhunts at that period were especially rife in the part of the country in which I live, and I find that period very interesting. I thought the witch-finder (Kincaid?) was a well-drawn character, and the performance of whoever was playing the squire and his ancestor was very good. In fact, there were a lot of good things about it - but when all's said and done, it was one of those things where the whole doesn't quite match the sum of its parts.

These stories reminded me of how much I enjoy listening to Eight and Paul McGann. I wish there was something else coming from him before next autumn :(

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