Infamy of the Zaross

Posted in Audio by - November 23, 2017
Infamy of the Zaross

Released November 2017

The Tenth Doctor era of Doctor Who is arguably the most fondly remembered since the relaunch of the series in 2005, exploring a very human Doctor alongside a succession of dynamic companions who challenged his beliefs and actions. Following an incredibly successful foray into the audio medium with Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble last year, David Tennant again returns to Big Finish for The Tenth Doctor Adventures, reuniting with Billie Piper to revisit 2006 and all that his first year in the titular role entailed.

Of course, the televised 2006 series was somewhat inconsistent as both writers and David Tennant worked to find a consistent voice for the newly-regenerated lead. While it’s obvious that the audio adventures will continue to explore the more nuanced Tenth Doctor that developed over his tenure, ‘Infamy of the Zaross’ does take on a lighter tone overall, both beginning and ending with meta scenes and allowing plenty of time for Tennant’s quirkiness to shine. Indeed, elements of both the Zaross’s unusual invasion in Norwich and of Jackie’s friendship with Marge whom she happens to be visiting in Norwich almost play like a sitcom, certainly elements that- for better or for worse- will not seem unfamiliar to fans of this particular era.

There is quite a brilliant twist that underlies the Zaross invasion, one that explains the unusual qualities of the invasion perfectly and ends up striking out quite poignantly about the lengths to which individuals will go to achieve fame, about the culture surrounding basic fame, and about how it can be used as leverage against individuals desperate to retain it. While the consequences of the invasion are all too real, making it anything but an illusion, this is definitely a welcome wrinkle to the typical invasion story that lends a surprising amount of depth to these new foes without delving too much into their history as they come to realize the truth of their situation and how tenuous their position truly is.

Though the resolution is a bit rushed after such dynamic intrigue and exploration of the threat the Zaross pose, the script still finds time to deliver a wonderfully touching moment between Rose and Jackie that exemplifies the emotional core that bolstered the first two years of the relaunched Doctor Who. Camille Coduri has performed as Jackie for Big Finish on a couple of previous occasions, and her performance is pitch perfect as her character reacts to yet another threat and tries to keep up with her daughter’s new lifestyle, a realization that hits her quite squarely when she is afforded a look of Earth from outer space. And although Piper doesn’t quite perfectly recapture Rose’s accent here, she certainly captures the energy and essence of the ever-resourceful Rose who at this time has firmly accepted her position alongside the Doctor and is becoming more comfortable standing up for herself and for Earth while taking action.

‘Infamy of the Zaross’ may not be a classic story, but it absolutely exudes a sense of 2006 authenticity that perfectly highlights the characters and their relationships while presenting a unique threat that speaks to the state of current affairs quite effectively, spotlighting the dynamic energy of David Tennant magnificently in the process.

  • Release Date: 11/2017
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