Dead Time

Posted in Audio by - March 11, 2021
Dead Time

Released March 2021


In the wake of a tremendous paradox, the TARDIS has begun to heal in Matt Fitton’s opener to Stranded 2, ‘Dead Time.’ However, when the Doctor decides to take the TARDIS for a test flight with decidedly more passengers than he intended, he finds that it can travel only in time at this point and arrives in the distant future on an Earth that appears to be dead.

Despite the momentous setting that is brought to life quite effectively with truly wonderful sound design, particularly in the opening moments as the travelers arrive, the resulting plot is a fairly low-key one that instead places the impetus of its focus on its expanded cast and the burgeoning relationships among these characters. This ultimately proves to be a successful technique that will undoubtedly continue to pay tremendous dividends as this series continues, but it also means that there are vast swaths of this story where little actually occurs and which eventually necessitates a somewhat forced inclusion of a threat to spur the travelers on and to present a means of travel once again. Strangely, even the resolution is awkwardly rushed with little sense of scope or fanfare, but the scale of the paradox and the resulting future of humanity and of all life on this Earth serve as brilliant reminders of the stakes the Doctor and his companions continue to face going forward.

With so many characters present as Andy, Tania, and even Robin come along for the journey, it’s perhaps understandable that the Doctor takes something of a supporting role in this re-introductory story. He certainly has his more heroic moments and helps to drive the plot along, but he’s more of a reactionary force as he continues to observe and to interact with his new associates, intriguingly being much more open to and trusting of Tania than he is of Andy at first. Of course, the marketing for Stranded quite heavily emphasized the inclusion of Rebecca Root, and Tania is quickly becoming one of the better-developed supporting characters in Doctor Who as her romantic feelings toward Liv, professional relationship with Andy, more collegial relationship with Helen, and protégé pseudo-companion role with the Doctor continue to develop. At the same time that Robin is modeling his own behaviour over what he believes the Doctor would do, uncovering an intriguing mystery in the process, Helen is likewise thrust into something of an introspective role as she finds something of a kindred spirit in this child whom she is initially tasked with watching. With so many first-time TARDIS travelers aboard for this journey, the vast differences in reactions are expertly realized and fitting of the individual characters, and this dead world that is still so dear to each of them allows each to continue to develop incredibly well.

Of course, secrets abound among these new friends, and Fitton mines plenty of drama from both what is and is not said as everyone attempts to find sure footing in these new circumstances. ‘Dead Time’ likely won’t go down as an all-time classic due to the fairly pedestrian plot that nonetheless manages to pack in a few surprises, but the strong character work and the strengthening foundation for this expanded roster that is thus far providing a much more grounded type of drama than often pervades the franchise is able to create a memorable opener to this second series that boldly lays forth the new trajectory for this set.

  • Release Date: 3/2021
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