October 17, 2011

My 5 Favorite "Doctor Who" Audio Dramas from Big Finish.

I know, I know. I'm well-aware that I promised in my premier on Doctor Who that I'd write entries on each of the -as of this writing- 11 Doctors. Well, I ultimately decided it was gonna be too much of a hassle, so I'm just probably gonna write up on random Who-related subjects from time to time on here. This entry is dedicated to my 5 favorite Doctor Who audio dramas from the company Big Finish. Join me after the jump, and prepare to hide behind the sofa.

1. "Spare Parts" by Marc Platt. If you can't tell by the cover, it's a Cybermen story. It's a damn good one, at that. In fact, it's the origin story for the Cybermen. Those of you who've only seen the new series of may only be familiar with the parallel universe Cybus Cybermen, but this is a very dark origin for the original Cybermen from Earth's twin planet of Mondas. The fact they chose the Fifth Doctor for this story adds an undercurrent of tragedy to the whole piece, as he lost a companion to the Cybermen, which is still fresh for him at this point in his timeline. Highly recommended.

2. "Jubilee" by Robert Shearman. The Sixth Doctor's tenure on the show is a point of contention for some viewers of classic Who. But it's pretty much agreed that his audio dramas are very good, and this one is no exception. It's a really dark tale that delves into the darkness and evil that we humans are capable of, as well as providing a very interesting deconstruction of the Doctor's greatest foes, the Daleks. Shearman also adapted this story for the episode "Dalek" from Series 1 as a way of getting new generations of kids scared of these creatures. Like "Spare Parts", highly recommended.

3. "Robophobia" by Nicholas Briggs. The Seventh Doctor is another point of contention for some fans. They didn't like how manipulative he was. I personally liked it, because it shows that even the Doctor has a dark side. Anyway, this story is a sequel of sorts to a classic Fourth Doctor story called "The Robots of Death". It's like a really good murder mystery that keeps you guessing til the very end. The only difference is that the Doctor has already worked out everything that happened, and is dropping cryptic hints to the ship's crew -and in turn, the audience- in order for them to work it out for themselves. Overall, really good story.

4. "An Earthly Child" by Marc Platt. The Eighth Doctor is a unique case in that he's the only Doctor that has been portrayed predominantly in expanded universe media, as he only had one official televised story. The title itself is a tip of the hat to the title of the very first televised Doctor Who story, "An Unearthly Child". Basically, the Doctor reunites with his granddaughter Susan, finds out he's a great-grandfather, and has to thwart an alien invasion. Pretty straightforward. For a Doctor Who story, anyway. Also, Paul McGann's son Jake plays the Doctor's great-grandson, and it works brilliantly. Recommended if you're interested in the Doctor's family life.

5. "Doctor Who and the Pirates" by Jacqueline Rayner. A raucous, and all-around pretty funny story at times. There's some tragedy here and there, but there's also some really amusing musical numbers to provide some levity. For example, the Doctor sings about a lot of his accomplishments to the tune of the "Modern Major General" song. Don't believe me? Hear it for yourself. It's brilliant. Might be a bit confusing, though, as it requires a lot of knowledge of classic Who to fully understand. To this day, I still wonder how many takes it took Colin Baker to sing that song. Recommended if the Series 6 episode "The Curse of the Black Spot" didn't really whet your appetite for a pirate-themed Doctor Who story.

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