The Oseidon Adventure

Posted in Audio by - January 17, 2017
The Oseidon Adventure

Released June 2012

Doctor Who has an impressively vast catalogue of nefarious foes, some obviously much more famous and significant than others. And while Big Finish is unquestionably tailored to the more devout Doctor Who fans, even the audio adventures have by and large avoided delving too far into the more obscure annals of the franchise to bring back long-forgotten foes. With the first run of The Fourth Doctor Adventures reaching its close and having just reintroduced Geoffrey Beevers’ version of the Master to carry over into this story, though, ‘The Oseidon Adventure’ does just that as it brings back the mysterious Kraals from ‘The Android Invasion,’ Marshal Grinmal and Chief Scientist Tyngworg leading the charge after their initial failed conquest of Earth.

‘The Android Invasion’ is by no means a poor story, but its placement in a season with the likes of ‘Terror of the Zygons’ and ‘Pyramids of Mars’ causes it to be overlooked more than it rightfully should. Still, the Kraals as presented here are a very competent menace, and writer Alan Barnes makes excellent use of these warrior scientists who are able to create robotic duplicates with memories directly downloaded from the original. They work exceedingly well alongside the Master who makes the most of being on two sides of a wormhole, and Beevers excels as his scarred incarnation takes prominence and tries to harness ZO energy on Oseidon to make himself whole once more. Fittingly, it’s the Master’s own cunning and cleverness that prove to be his undoing, and Beevers’s confrontations with Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor are easily the standout scenes of this release, though the incredibly strong chemistry between Baker and Louise Jameson as well as Leela’s response to the Master trying to hypnotize her come close to rivaling them.

The script does turn back on itself on occasion to make it a bit more complicated than it needs to be, but it’s never to the detriment of the overall story. Indeed, ‘The Oseidon Adventure- just like all of the stories in the first season of this fledgling range- have perfectly recaptured the overall essence and tone of Tom Baker’s early years on television. Unfortunately, the abundance of nostalgia has somewhat overridden any sense of experimentalism or novelty, ‘The Wrath of the Iceni’ being the standout release simply because of its willingness to break away from the expected norms of the era. It is nice to finally experience Leela confronting some of the classic foes that she missed during her tenure, but so many in such a short timeframe seems like a bit too much too quickly. As it is, the Kraals make a nice addition to the story as a race that fits the story’s needs, but the presence of the Master also diminishes their overall use and effect. Accordingly, Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, and Geoffrey Beevers are the undoubted selling points of this release, and for those looking for great performances blanketed in nostalgia, ‘The Oseidon Adventure’ is the perfect ending for this series. Hopefully the upcoming second series is more willing to break away from classic conventions, though, to truly distinguish itself as something special.

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