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…

The Diary of River Song Series Two
Audio / December 28, 2016

Released December 2016 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW The Diary of River Song Series One was a revelation for Big Finish, one of the company’s first attempts at bringing the universe of the modern televised Doctor Who to life in the audio medium and succeeding magnificently in capturing the essence of the Doctor’s one-time wife in all of her unpredictable glory. While the inclusion of Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor helped push the boundaries of expectations as the intricate first series unfolded, The Diary of River Song Series Two unabashedly meshes the two distinct eras of the franchise as both Colin Baker’s Sixth and Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctors collide with a future they cannot be allowed to remember. Guy Adams opens this second set of adventures with ‘The Unknown,’ a fascinating tale brimming with ideas that perfectly sets the scene for what is to come. Aboard the space exploration vessel Saturnius which inexplicably continues to head to a destination that never gets nearer, River Song and the crew members find their memories failing them, even forgetting how a strange man known as the Doctor came to be on board. Sylvester McCoy provides a unique presence when paired with Alex Kingston, especially with both…

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…

Forest of the Dead
Episode / May 26, 2016

Aired 7 June 2008 ‘Forest of the Dead’ concludes the events set in motion in ‘Silence in the Library,’ masterfully piecing together every dangling plot thread it wanted to and offering a few surprises along the way. This is still a story very much based around concepts Steven Moffat has already used, but the end result is an extremely entertaining one nonetheless. The ending probably deserves the most note, cleverly turning the ever-present sonic screwdriver into a legitimate plot device as it holds the ghostly data fragments of River and thus saves her life in the only meaningful way the Doctor could hope to achieve. It would have been entirely appropriate to simply end the episode with a still shot of the spoiler-filled journal, but the extra motivation from the Doctor to save River certainly creates an altogether more memorable ending for a character that seems like she may still find her way back into the programme at some point in the future. Moffat also proves adept once more at subtly inserting horror into seemingly normal situations. The revelation that every male and female child in Donna’s life is the exact same is chilling, and the casual realization that six…

Silence in the Library
Website / May 26, 2016

Aired 31 May 2008 Steven Moffat returns to two-part scripting duties for the first time since the revived Doctor Who‘s first series’s ‘The Empty Child’ and the ‘The Doctor Dances.’ After those sterling first episodes that featured memorable monsters and catchphrases as well as the introduction of Captain Jack Harkness, Moffat followed with the equally brilliant ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ and ‘Blink.’ ‘Silence in the Library’ is the opening act of the new Moffat-penned script, and though there are still plenty of brilliant concepts and a lot of potential for a classic story in the making, the end result doesn’t completely capture the imagination quite as successfully as his previous stories did, partly because of the weight of expectations his own name now carries. Every writer has favourite plot devices at the ready, and Moffat offers spins on ingenious concepts he has already used to fuel this story. Thus, what seems to be malfunctioning machinery that was designed to help, scares elicited from an everyday object such as shadows, and even a relationship apparently happening out of time as River Song clearly knows more about the Doctor than she is letting on, all owe credit to similar devices in…

The Name of the Doctor
Episode / April 5, 2016

Aired 18 May 2013 The name of the Doctor may not be one of the burning questions most fans have avidly asked over the years, but having an episode titled ‘The Name of the Doctor’ certainly sets the scene for a very big and important outing, indeed. Unsurprisingly, writer Steven Moffat plays with expectations and , rather than offering a straight answer, instead completely changes the entire fabric and history of the programme while bringing into question not only the Doctor’s name but his entire identity. ‘The Name of the Doctor’ features one of the most interesting settings in Doctor Who history, the planet Trenzalore being the final resting place of both the Doctor and his TARDIS. As the TARDIS continues to die, its dimensional control continues to falter and so the dilapidated TARDIS here is impressively large on the outside. But on the inside lies the crux of the episode since a tear in space and time that is connects the Doctor’s adventures and lives has formed. Before Trenzalore even appears on screen, though, ‘The Name of the Doctor’ gives fans a taste of what they were likely hoping for all along in this fiftieth anniversary series. The actual…

The Angels Take Manhattan
Episode / March 30, 2016

Aired 29 September 2012 The Doctor’s admission that he tears out the last page of book so that the adventure never has to end provides all the setup that is needed for this adventure, poignantly foretelling of the permanent departure of Amy and Rory from the TARDIS that has been teased for so long. Amy has been the longest-serving companion of the new era of Doctor Who and Steven Moffat’s time as the showrunner has largely been about exploring Amy more than anyone or anything else. She saw him as a child, dreamed of his return, formed a strong comradery with the Doctor as she traveled with him, and even became his mother-in-law. Along with Rory who has increasingly become more prominent and affable, it was never going to be an easy task to say goodbye to such a beloved duo, but ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ certainly provides an emotional and fulfilling sendoff. The story begins with an ill-fated private eye whose investigations reveal an unscrupulous collector, a hotel with a hidden secret, and the Weeping Angels themselves, including one in plain sight that is certain to draw just as many criticisms and praises. This sequence effectively reiterates how dangerous…

The Wedding of River Song
Episode / March 26, 2016

Aired 1 October 2011 By beginning the revived Doctor Who‘s sixth series with the very public death of the Doctor, Steven Moffat was always going to have a tough task in wrapping up the plot arc in a satisfying manner that didn’t alienate its fans or more casual viewers. While it’s inevitable that not everyone will be pleased with the outcome, ‘The Wedding of River Song’ manages to tie together the loose threads and lingering questions without too much deus ex machina or paradox as might be expected. The beginning of ‘The Wedding of River Song’ is Doctor Who at its most confident, unabashedly referencing its past episodes and creating a grand spectacle in the process. In an alternative London, time is frozen at 17:02, and the likes of pterodactyls, steam trains on tracks in the sky, Roman soldiers, and even Charles Dickens advertising his upcoming Christmas special on television are all seen in quick succession. Enter a bedraggled Doctor who tells Winston Churchill that time has been splintered, causing all of history to happen at once. The cause? A woman. An extensive flashback follows, as the Doctor explains events and how this history came to be, establishing and re-establishing…

Let’s Kill Hitler
Episode / March 23, 2016

Aired 27 August 2011 After its first official midseries break, Doctor Who blasts back onto screens with an audacious adventure, offering further exploration into the increasingly complex relationship between the Doctor, Amy, Rory, and River in the process. Through the use of a series of true flashbacks, it’s clear that Melody Pond has been a part of Amy and Rory’s life for far longer than just as the infant glimpsed in ‘A Good man Goes to War.’ Taking a cue from the headscratcher that was the Doctor’s escapism from the Pandorica, writer Steven Moffat offers another paradox of sorts through the introduction of their childhood friend Mels. Though a troubled individual, it is Mels who gets Amy to realize that Rory likes her as more than a friend after showing just how dedicated he is to her at an early age. She is so important to the pair of them that they decide to name their daughter after her, and as she regenerates into River Song later in the story the fact that they named their daughter after their daughter is a delightful quirk. It’s from Mels, though, that the tantalizing title ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ comes as the Doctor and…

A Good Man Goes to War
Episode / March 22, 2016

Aired 4 June 2011 Considering the fairly intricate and twisting plots Steven Moffat has presented in many of the episodes he has penned, ‘A Good Man Goes to War’ surprisingly offers a more straightforward tale as Doctor Who concludes the first half of this series. Still, there is an epic blockbuster feel to proceedings and a heavier dose of action than recent episodes have featured, and events easily weave their way to the cliffhanger ending that sets up the concluding run of episodes nicely, offering some much needed answers along the way. In a bit of neat role reversal from ‘The Pandorica Opens,’ the Doctor calls in several favours to assemble an army of his own following the revelation at the end of ‘The Almost People,’ affording him a tremendous victory- though perhaps not as epic as the fates had proclaimed. The trap that is set as well as the creation and use of another Time Lord of sorts to destroy the Doctor is certainly a unique and fascinating plan of action, though it does seem quite circuitous and present just to serve the plot going forward. Still, it’s hard to argue just how incredibly effective and shocking the faux…