Doom Coalition 4
Audio / March 10, 2017

Released March 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW Doom Coalition burst onto the scene in October 2015, instantly setting an incredible precedent with the introduction of the mesmerising Time Lord villain the Eleven and never looking back as subsequent stories introduced new companion Helen Sinclair and new villains the Sonomancer and the Clocksmith, re-introduced the ever-beguiling River Song, and slowly built up one of the greatest threats the universe has ever faced. With the Doctor betrayed by a man he once called friend and seemingly doomed along with his companions as the universe’s end approaches, Doom Coalition 4 arrives amidst exceedingly high expectations to finally conclude this sixteen-part epic. John Dorney’s ‘Ship in a Bottle’ opens this concluding set, taking a cue from the third set’s opening tale, ‘Absent Friends’ and offering a much more intimate and introspective story than is usual, albeit one with the impending inevitability of death and resultant destruction of the universe as its backdrop. With no villain or, indeed, any characters other than the three leads present, the focus is squarely on exploring the mindset of the Doctor, Liv, and Helen as they find themselves facing the very real prospect of having to live out the rest…

Robophobia
Audio / October 17, 2016

Released July 2011 Acting as a sequel of sorts for the brilliant Fourth Doctor story ‘Robots of Death,’ ‘Robophobia’ picks up on the rumour that the robots aboard a sandminer headed for Kaldor City somehow turned dangerous and murderous, nearly destroying the entire crew. With 157,000 deactivated robots now aboard the transport ship Lorelei, the Doctor’s witnessing of a murder and nearly being strangulated brings the simmering paranoia and fear back to the forefront. It might seem a bit odd to have the Seventh Doctor confront the famed robots, but Sylvester McCoy, stripped of any companions, offers arguably his strongest performance for Big Finish yet, and the eerie tenseness fits his incarnation wonderfully. McCoy deftly switches from light and witty to dark and manipulative, and at the right times he is genuinely frightening with his delivery of lines. The Seventh Doctor’s willingness to stay in the shadows as he moves his pawns about the board, waiting for the most opportune moment to strike, is one of the most fascinating traits of this incarnation, and that is in full effect as he furtively moves about the ship putting just the right notion into the just the right people’s minds. This is…

Doom Coalition 3
Audio / September 28, 2016

Released September 2016 After an agonizing wait, Big Finish has at last released Doom Coalition 3, four more stories continuing the ever more complex adventures of the Eighth Doctor, Liv Chenka, and Helen Sinclair as they battle both the past and future and once more cross paths with the enigmatic River Song. This review, by necessity, will feature fewer and fewer spoilers as the four stories are subsequently discussed and the more vital and crucial plot points leading into the fourth set are revealed. John Dorney’s ‘Absent Friends’ kicks off the third portion of the Doom Coalition saga with the Doctor concerned about why the TARDIS has landed in England rather than on Gallifrey as intended. Set just before the turn of the twenty-first century, the TARDIS team finds itself in a small village struggling with the advent of mobile telephones and mysterious calls, a large phone mast from the new telephone company Superville dominating their attention and view and causing plenty of scorn and consternation. As the Doctor tinkers in his TARDIS and soon finds that nothing is wrong with it and that he seems to have been pulled off course purposefully, Helen gives in to temptation and furtively…

Dark Eyes 4
Audio / February 21, 2016

Released March 2015 In 2012 Big Finish set out on a mission to reinvigorate the Eighth Doctor, pushing him to the very precipice and driving him closer to the Time War. The first Dark Eyes box set was a commercial and critical success, and the storyline was quickly expanded to a sixteen-part epic spanning four box sets. The first three have featured confrontations with the Daleks, the Master, and the Eminence; now, in Dark Eyes 4, the timelines are unstable and the Doctor sets out defiantly to end the conflict. Dark Eyes 4 opens with the Doctor taking Liv Chenka to London at the turn of the century to look for Molly in ‘A Life in the Day.’ While he explores with Beth Chalmers’s Kitty Donaldson, Liv tends to and gets to know Kitty’s wounded brother Martin, played aptly by Barnaby Kay. Liv has from the outset been walking around with an embittered and almost defeatist demeanour, and ‘A Life in the Day’ finally allows her to come out of her shell as she poignantly comes to terms with just where she is in her life and what she hopes for going forward. Martin proves the catalyst Liv needs to…

Dark Eyes 3
Audio / February 20, 2016

Released November 2014 The Master is back for the four-episode Dark Eyes 3 and is again seeking universal supremacy, this time by manipulating the Eminence’s Infinite Warriors. Molly O’Sullivan is vital to his plans and, aided by Sally Armstrong, he is perilously close to succeeding. Paranoid from his recent events and not wanting to change history, the Doctor is hesitant to join the conflict; when Narvin, a Time Lord CIA agent, provides the incentive and motivation needed, though, the Doctor and Liv Chenka go up against the Master to stop his scheme and to save their friend. Big Finish makes a bold choice with the beginning of Dark Eyes 3 as the first story, ‘The Death of Hope,’ primarily features the villainous Master. It’s an approach that’s not used very often in any medium, and Alex MacQueen completely controls every scene he is in, relishing the opportunity to be the de facto lead as the events of this box set are set in motion. The Master here is self-absorbed as always, but he’s also incredibly cunning and charismatic and a dominant manipulator, proving again how evil he can be and how fantastic a foe he can be when handled properly.…

Dark Eyes 2
Audio / February 18, 2016

Released February 2014 Continuing on from the ending of Dark Eyes, Big Finish continues the Eight Doctor’s adventures with another four-story box set aptly titled Dark Eyes 2. Comprised of ‘The Traitor,’ ‘The White Room,’ ‘Time’s Horizon,’ and ‘The Eyes of the Master,’ this time the Doctor finds himself and acquaintances pitted against the Daleks and a resurrected Master. Dark Eyes was an astronomical success for Big Finish, and fortunately the high quality continues in the sequel while even managing to eliminate many of the pacing issues that hampered the first set. That improvement is primarily due to the individual stories having stronger individual plots, allowing for events at hand to be managed while the overarching plot can be gradually revealed without relying on superfluous padding to fill the running time. Dark Eyes saw the Eighth Doctor at his lowest point before finally finding a renewed sense of hope that allowed him to continue with his life; this sequel set sees him as still a very fragile being, but one being unwittingly drawn into the temporal affairs of both the Time Lords and the Daleks. Clearly Big Finish is building towards something grander down the line- quite possibly the start…