The Children of Seth
Audio / July 19, 2017

Released December 2011 To round out its trilogy of Fifth Doctor adventures to open the third series of The Lost Stories, Big Finish turns to ‘The Children of Seth,’ a story from the mind of ‘Kinda’ and ‘Snakedance’ writer Christopher Bailey. When the TARDIS picks up a message on the temporal scanner containing only the word ‘Idra,’ the Doctor, Nyssa, and Tegan travel to the Archipelago of Sirius as the Autarch is about to announce a crusade against Seth, the Prince of Dark, and the secrets of Queen Anahita and of Level 14 threaten to become known. ‘The Children of Seth’ is nowhere near as deep or thought-provoking as Bailey’s two televised outings, but it also wisely never pretends to be and instead superbly focuses on fleshing out the world and culture of Sirius as the Doctor and his companions take rather proactive roles in finding out about their surroundings during their familiar routine of capture and escape. Accordingly, the political treachery and mistrust is all presented logically and fluidly, and the justice system on display is certainly severe enough to add an extra layer to a story that takes a distinctly different route from its many peers that also…

Hexagora
Audio / July 17, 2017

Released November 2011 Big Finish’s The Lost Stories Fifth Doctor trilogy continues with ‘Hexagora,’ a story from Peter Ling and Hazel Adair and adapted for audio by Paul Finch. When the Doctor, Nyssa, and Tegan arrive in Brisbane and uncover an alien abduction leading them to the planet of Luparis and a city very reminiscent of Tudor London, they soon uncover a secretive plot that threatens the very livelihood of two species. ‘Hexagora’ is a story that certainly contains immersive visuals and strong ideas, none more so than the Luparis façade of Tudor London complete with people skating on the frozen Thames River. Fortunately, the titular Hexagora race is just as intriguing, an insectoid race that migrates through space and conquers in order to colonise but that is now on the verge of extinction due to the impeding Ice Age on Luparis while its population remains too weak for another journey. With the ability to move amongst a planet’s native population unnoticed, they have added human memories of that time to their hive memory and are now relying on abducted humans to form the unwilling hybrid crux of their species’s continued survival through the harsh conditions. Even if the story…

The Elite
Audio / July 15, 2017

Released October 2011 Following the incredibly successful introduction of Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor to is audio family with The Fourth Doctor Box Set, Big Finish now welcomes Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor into its The Lost Stories range with ‘The Elite,’ a tale from the mind of ‘Enlightenment’ scribe Barbara Clegg. Arriving in a domed city on a planet scarred by warfare where the young population fights for the glory of the Elite, the Doctor, Nyssa, and Tegan soon find themselves caught up in the machinations and changing schemes of The Cathedral of Power’s High Priest. Set after Tegan’s return to the TARDIS in ‘Arc of Infinity,’ ‘The Elite’ captures the essence of its era spectacularly, highlighting the city-based tale of rebellion against a familiar foe with a synthesized score. The dystopic setting with its intended goal of a achieving a master race under the guidance of its High Priest who descended from above is realized well, and even though the distorted voice and album cover should give the figure’s shrouded identity away, the audio medium keeps the surprise regarding the Dalek’s true presence hidden superbly to deliver maximum impact. It’s quite chilling to realize just how easily the general population…

The Five Companions
Audio / June 3, 2017

Released December 2011 Whereas 2010’s Bonus Release ‘The Four Doctors’ took a rather novel approach to a multi-Doctor story by focusing on a new character traversing the Doctor’s personal timeline, 2011’s fuses different eras of Doctor Who together in an altogether more traditional fashion, though still with its own unique twist. As Ian, Steven, Sara, Polly, and Nyssa find themselves brought together and confronted with Daleks, Sontarans, and dinosaurs, ‘The Five Companions’ finds the Doctor directly confronting his past in a thrilling but also very personal tale of survival and reflection. Writer Eddie Robson borrows from ‘The Five Doctors’ and suggests that these past companions are in another part of that serial’s Death Zone on Gallifrey and that the Doctor has been pulled out of his transport to the Capitol to appear at that same area. However, though this is a Fifth Doctor story, the tale wisely focuses on the returning companions themselves, certainly not shying away from the fact that they have aged since leaving the Doctor and allowing moments of reminiscence while showcasing the unique element that each brought to the series while traveling aboard the TARDIS. Obviously Big Finish’s The Companion Chronicles range has kept the earlier…

Alien Heart and Dalek Soul
Audio / April 28, 2017

Released April 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW It’s been quite some time since Big Finish’s Monthly Range has toyed with its format and offered stories of any length other than the traditional four parts. For three consecutive release, though, Big Finish is offering two two-part adventures, one pair featuring each of its stalwart Doctors. The two-part story has been used successfully in The Companion Chronicles, The Fourth Doctor Adventures, and The Eighth Doctor Adventures ranges, but Stephen Cole’s ‘Alien Heart’ and Guy Adams’s ‘Dalek Soul’ mark the first two-part entries in Big Finish’s longest-running range. The use of the Fifth Doctor to introduce this string of releases is particularly shrewd as well, as Peter Davison’s tenure featured the final three two-part stories of thirty minute episodes, stories that were by no means classic but that highlighted just how strong and versatile Davison was in the role. With Big Finish effortlessly transitioning from its trilogy with the boisterous introductory era of Nyssa, Tegan, and Adric to the more earnest era that never reached television featuring just Nyssa alongside the Doctor, this first pair of stories again spectacularly highlights Davison amidst events of surprising scope. In ‘Alien Heart,’ the Doctor and Nyssa discover…

Zaltys
Audio / March 29, 2017

Released March 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW The Peter Davison era of Doctor Who saw a subtle shift in the types of stories told to ones featuring slightly higher-concept notions and more cerebral plots than in the past as the programme tried to redefine itself while aiming for a more mature audience that had grown up alongside it. Fitting perfectly into that mould, ‘Zaltys’ concludes the 2017 Big Finish Fifth Doctor trilogy, culminating a successful run of adventures revisiting the early Fifth Doctor TARDIS crew of Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan. Writer Matthew J Elliott proves that he is unafraid to drench his story with continuity, but he manages to do so without his references ever feeling intrusive or cumbersome while adding depth to the story in the process. Accordingly, the intimate discussions regarding Tegan’s aunt and Adric’s brother make perfect sense as, much to Adric’s amazement given the powers of the TARDIS and what it allows, Tegan continues with her quest to return to Heathrow. These opening scenes recapture the relationship between the two perfectly, and Tegan’s taunting of Adric while having him recall how much happier he was before Nyssa and Tegan joined adequately sets up the complex story as…

Terminus
Episode / March 20, 2017

Aired 15 – 23 February 1983 ‘Terminus’ is unquestionably another serial that succeeds more with its ambition than with its actual execution, a poor guest cast and external production factors plaguing a story filled with genuinely engaging and rather high-concept notions. It marks an intriguing end to Sarah Sutton’s run in the TARDIS in the middle of Turlough’s conflict with the Black Guardian as well, giving Nyssa an admirable send-off that makes the most of her benevolent nature, but ultimately a lack of consistency and depth along with some questionable decisions keep ‘Terminus’ from being what it truly wants to be. Turlough being an agent of the Black Guardian tasked with killing the Doctor is a fascinating premise for a companion, but unfortunately little is done with it here, as was the case in ‘Mawdryn Undead.’ Instead, most of the drama surrounding this fact is boiled down to Tegan and Turlough discussing whether or not they truly trust one another. It is notable that Turlough takes Adric’s room in the TARDIS while stating that he’s through with children, though, and this can quite overtly be seen as the personification of the gradual darker undertones the franchise was starting to employ…

Mawdryn Undead
Episode / March 15, 2017

Aired 1 – 9 February 1983 The early tenure of Peter Davison has proven it is unafraid to tackle time travel in its scripts, with ‘Four to Doomsday,’ ‘Earthshock,’ and ‘Time-Flight’ each featuring the concept in some key fashion. ‘Mawdryn Undead’ takes things one step further with its plot occurring over two time periods occurring out of sync with one another, a fantastic central premise in a story featuring the return of the Black Guardian, the return of the Brigadier, and the introduction of new companion Turlough. The Black Guardian, of course, was introduced at the end of the Key to Time season as an opposing force to the White Guardian, but his plan and motivations here are never fully explained. He overtly states that he views the Doctor’s good as his evil and that he wants the Doctor killed, but it’s unclear what has spurred this hostility to manifest so resolutely now or why, exactly, he has chosen Turlough as his weapon of choice when so many more effective means must be at his disposal throughout the universe. In fact, the Doctor’s casual acceptance of Turlough aboard the ship exemplifies this incarnation’s trusting demeanor, but it also highlights how…

Snakedance
Episode / March 13, 2017

Aired 18 – 26 January 1983 Though introduced only a year earlier in ‘Kinda,’ the concept of the Mara was impactful enough to ensure its return in Doctor Who’s reflective twentieth season filled with returning foes. Understandably, the complexity and ambiguity are not nearly as prevalent as in the original serial, focusing instead on plot and expanding upon familiar concepts to successfully craft an entirely different experience that remains true to what came before. Part of the success of ‘Snakedance’ is, of course, due to the groundwork laid in ‘Kinda.’ Nonetheless, the concept of the wheel of repeating time briefly mentioned in ‘Kinda’ becomes wholly more satisfying and realized as the Federation records reveal that the Manussians regressed from a refined and technological society to a primitive and violent one in thrall to the Mara. ‘Snakedance’ also quite poignantly and prominently features theatrical performances, again reaching back to ‘Kinda’ and the significance of drama in exorcising demons and quite directly incorporated as the natives parade around an effigy of the Mara to symbolize their fears. As the lines and boundaries of reality blur, the truth behind the Mara is incredibly satisfying and deeply terrifying. With the Great Crystal intended to…

Arc of Infinity
Episode / March 12, 2017

Aired 3 – 12 January 1983 The mantra going into the twentieth season of Doctor Who was that every story would feature a returning villain from the past, the intent being to imbue the anniversary year with a sense of celebration and nostalgia. Fittingly, the tenth anniversary villain from ‘The Three Doctors,’ Omega, is the first to be revisited as the exiled Time Lord continues his quest to cross back into the real universe from his exile with the help of the Doctor’s body. Omega is inherently one of the most fascinating villains ever conceived, one who is intricately linked with Gallifrey’s past and Time Lords’ powers and abilities. However, ‘Arc of Infinity’ relies too much on his initial appearance ten years earlier, using only one line of dialogue to begin to hint at Omega’s true motivations and psyche. As a standalone story, it simply does not flesh out the villain enough or even begin to explain how the Doctor and Omega know each other or how Omega has reached his current state. With the Doctor’s appearance, Omega is at least afforded some degree of sympathy through Davison’s mannerisms and acting prowess, but the sheer potential that Omega brings with…