Book Review – Doctor Who: Her Final Flight

  • Title: Her Final Flight
  • Series: Doctor Who Main Range Specials
  • Author: Julian Shortman
  • Director: Gary Russell
  • Characters: Sixth Doctor, Peri
  • Cast: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Steven Bugdale, Jonathan Owen, Heather Tracy, Conrad Westmaas
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/11/2016

I was completely and totally confused by this audio play. It begins with two villains discussing doing horrible things to The Doctor (The Sixth Doctor, played by Colin Baker), then the TARDIS is crash-landing on a primitive planet, where the Doctor runs in to Peri. There, the story alternates between Peri and the Doctor trying to deal with a sudden disease – not to mention the locals worshiping the TARDIS as a healing goddess. But in between all this, the Doctor keeps having blackouts where he seems to remember being tortured by said villains from the first scene.

The entire thing is one, big, “WTF is going on?” It’s OK if a story starts that way, but this story continues to be extremely confusing. The Doctor eventually realizes he’s in some sort of mind trap, and turns the tables and traps the villain – but we never learn who she is or why she was after the Doctor in the first place. Nor do we learn the identity of her benefactor/employer.

I had thought most of the way though this story that the mysterious villain would turn out to be the Rani. Much of what’s going on seems her style. But at the end that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Honestly – if I hadn’t had the CD in my hands, I would have thought I’d missed half the tracks in a download. This is one confusing story.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order Her Final Flight on CD.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

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Book Review – Doctor Who: Peri and the Piscon Paradox

  • Title: Peri and the Piscon Paradox
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Author: Nev Fountain
  • Director: John Ainsworth
  • Characters: Peri, Fifth Doctor, Sixth Doctor
  • Cast: Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/28/2016

I’ve enjoyed Big Finish’s Doctor Who and other audios for years. I enjoy the Companion Chronicles very much. But this story marks a milestone for me as it is the first time I have listened to an entire story in my car while driving back and forth to work and while doing my errands. I’ve had friends tell me I should try listening to audios in the car, but I always figured it would be too distracting while I’m driving – or that I’d miss too much of the story. Actually, I found that I could pay attention to the story and drive – so this will definitely be an experience I’ll repeat soon.

This double-CD story (which took me four days to listen to – the only time I’ve regretted having a short 25-minute commute) is told first from the point of view of younger Peri, and the Fifth Doctor, who land in L.A. in 2009, and the second CD is told from the point of view of an older Peri, with assistance from the Sixth Doctor. You also could listen to them in reverse order. It’s not recommended, but possible – and it some ways, if you know what’s coming from the older Peri’s point of view, some of what’s going on in the first disc makes more sense.

Disc 1 plays very much like a normal Doctor Who Adventure, told by younger Peri – the Doctor and Peri land in L.A. and discover an alien fish, whom the Doctor knows as a Piscon, is planning on stealing the Earth’s water, or something. But when Peri spots a curiously familiar woman – things get strange.

Disc 2 has the older Peri as the host of a relationship advice cable show, a very successful one. Dr. Peri Brown runs into the Sixth Doctor who shows up in the audience of her show. But she doesn’t remember him, or rather, she remembers their first adventure, and that’s it. The older Peri also meets her younger self. Soon, it’s Peri who spins a tale, an, um, fish tale, to tell Peri and the younger Doctor – because the Sixth Doctor accidentally causes the death of the Piscon Zarl before his younger self can defeat him. This, of course, creates a paradox, as the Doctor explains to Peri, who suggests using time travel to fix the mistake:

“What? Are you mad? I can’t go back in time to stop myself interfering with my own past, because that would mean I’d be interfering with my own past to stop myself interfering with my own past! Then where would we be?” ~ The Doctor

So the Sixth Doctor goes along with Peri’s plan: They will hide the dead Piscon in the trunk of her car, and the Doctor will disguise himself in the Piscon’s spacesuit. Peri will spin her story to her younger self, and the Doctor’s previous incarnation, and they will push the Fifth Doctor into defeating Zarl, thus returning history to what the Sixth Doctor remembers.

Well, that’s the plan, which, when listening you don’t know – all you know is some evil Fish are running around L.A., the fish police (Piscon police) are after Zarl, and older Peri is pretending to be working for an secret government “Men in Black”/X-files organization that deals with alien insurgents. As things shake out, younger Peri becomes very angry at and disillusioned with her older self. But older Peri is hiding quite a lot. And it’s in the last few chapters, or tracks of disc 2 that delivers quite the kick in the teeth. The truth of Peri’s past and long and winding road that led to her career as a relationship counselor. The story also explains Peri’s contradicting “ends” from the canon/aired episodes of Doctor Who. It’s a satisfactory, bittersweet, and sad ending, which I’m not going to spoil.

I recommend Peri and the Piscon Paradox but it’s not entirely the light-hearted adventure one might expect.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order Peri and the Piscon Paradox on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Church and the Crown

  • Title: The Church and the Crown (#38)
  • Series: Big Finish Monthly Doctor Who Audios
  • Authors: Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
  • Director: Gary Russell
  • Characters: Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison), Peri Brown (Nicola Bryant), Erimem (Caroline Morris)
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 01/17/2013

Big Finish does an excellent job with their audio plays. Make no mistake… they are NOT audio-books, with a well-known actor reading the material – the Big Finish audio plays are full-fledged plays complete with music, sound effects, and honest-to-goodness acting. The quality of the individual stories varies, but it’s usually in the three to five out of five range.

The Church and the Crown was a surprise – because I loved it! I got it as part of my subscription package (back when I could afford a monthly subscription package) but when I listened I was floored. Big Finish have created a farce, a complete farce, and I mean that in the best possible way. This story was laugh out loud funny. Peri, it seems, is a dead ringer for Queen Anne of 17th Century France. So, yes, the story involves all the escapades of a French farce – doubles, secret identities, horse-drawn carriage chases (which work surprisingly well in the audio format). Nicola Bryant and Peter Davison are brilliantly deft at the comedy, and it makes you wonder what might have been if Peter had done one more season of Doctor Who at the BBC. This audio also features Caroline Morris as (ancient) Egyptian Princess, Erimem, a companion created specifically for the audios. I always quite liked Erimem.

I highly, highly recommend this audio. If you haven’t listened to any of the Big Finish Audios, and you like Doctor Who it’s an excellent place to start. If you’re a fan of audio books and plays and you haven’t tried the Big Finish lines (they have several) I highly recommend their work.

For more on Big Finish go to their website: www.bigfinish.com

Follow this link to download The Church and the Crown