Time Lord Victorious: Genetics of the Daleks (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Friday, 5 February 2021 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Time Lord Victorious: Genetics of the Daleks (Credit: Big Finish)

Writer: Jonathan Morris

Director: Jamie Anderson

Featuring: Tom Baker, Nicholas Briggs, Pippa Haywood, Joseph Kloska, Clive Mantle, Andrew James Spooner, & Nina Toussaint-White

 

Big Finish Release (United Kingdom)

Released December 2020

Running Time: 1 hour

The Fourth Doctor gets in on the Time Lord Victorious action, sort of. This story does feature Daleks but in terms of the TLV business, that is mostly used as a warning of what the Doctor can become. This is not really an adventure where time is askew or involves some ancient creature from the Dark Times...but it does feature a Dalek telling the Fourth Doctor of what kind of person he may potentially come...the Time Lord Victorious. 

Tom Baker is quite good here. I remember when he was first returning to the role on audio, I felt he still had it but you could tell he was so much older than when he was the Doctor on screen. I’ve not had the pleasure of listening to all of his output since he began reprising, but based on this? He has really settled back into the role perfectly...and sounds as if we were back in 1976.

In the end, there isn’t much to say about this one.  It is yet another slick production from Big Finish, with a great performance from an all-time classic Doctor, and (of course) the Daleks.  It feels very disconnected from the Time Lord Victorious series (despite actually name dropping Time Lord Victorious), and can easily be enjoyed as just another fun Tom Baker/Dalek adventure. 





Time Lord Victorious: Mutually Assured Destruction (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 2 February 2021 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Time Lord Victorious: Mutually Assured Destruction (Credit: Big Finish)

Writer: Lizzie Hopley

Director: Scott Handcock

Featuring: Paul McGann, Nicholas Briggs, Samantha Béart, and Wilf Scolding

Big Finish Release (United Kingdom)

Released December 2020

Running Time: 1 hour

Big Finish closes out their “Eighth Doctor Trilogy” for the Time Lord Victorious event (though he will make one more audio appearance in “Echoes of Extinction” which will also feature the Tenth Doctor), and it is a decent story. The Eighth Doctor is still stuck with the Daleks, though they don’t initially seem aware he is on their ship. They are trying to connect the TARDIS to their time ship. 

It is basically the Doctor trying to get the best of the Daleks in their own ship, trying to save a couple survivors of a planet they wiped out as well (who also allude to a “Dark One”)...and the Strategist is still trying to make deals with the Doctor while increasingly butting heads with the Time Commander. 

I enjoyed this story. Not so much for being a part of a larger “event” but because it was a fun adventure with the Eighth Doctor and the Daleks. McGann is, as always, a fun Doctor to listen to. And while the Daleks have certainly had more than their fair share of stories with him in recent years (from the end of his Lucie Miller adventures through Dark Eyes, and more recently in the Time War series), Big Finish still knows how to execute a good Dalek story. 

Granted it still feels like we are teetering on the edge of whatever the Time Lord Victorious story is all about...the bigger picture feels sort of lost on me at this point, with all stories I have thus far taken in feeling like they are hinting at or building to something else. It is now beginning to feel like everyone contributing is trying so hard to keep the audience from being alienated, trying to make it clear enough as to not need other material, that in the end, it is feeling less like a big interconnected story, and more like random adventures that may share some story elements. 

Maybe at some point, I will be able to dive deep enough into all the TLV stuff that it will all make sense and feel very exciting. I look forward to that moment. 





Time Lord Victorious: Short Trips: Master Thief / Lesser Evils (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 1 February 2021 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Master Thief / Lesser Evils (Credit: Big Finish)

Written by Sophie Iles & Simon Guerrier 

Directed by Lisa Bowerman

Narrated by Jon Culshaw

 

Big Finish Release (United Kingdom)

Released: October 2020

Running Time: 80 Minutes

The Master, two incarnations actually, gets in on the Time Lord Victorious action via this Big Finish release featuring two Short Trips, both read by Jon Culshaw. The first features the Delgado version of the Master, while the second follows the Ainley version. 

In the first tale, “Master Thief,” the Master has stolen the de-evolution weapon featured prominently in the second Eighth Doctor TLV story, “Enemy of My Enemy,” and now is inflicting it on several people on a planet, but as he does so he begins to lose his edge. Disintegrating his enemies into a pile of primitive ooze has somehow softened him, and it ultimately leads to his downfall. 

The second story, “Lesser Evils” has less focus on action and the Master ripping through anyone in his way, and is a far smaller character piece. The Master is quietly defending a race from the Koturrah...but why? 

I enjoyed both of these short little entries, though I am unsure how important they are to the overall Time Lord Victorious story. Then again with every entry trying hard to not rely too much on other media in the story, who is to say what is very important to the whole thing? Culshaw is a solid narrator, his versions of each Master is good (his Ainley is very good, and while his Delgado doesn’t sound perfect, he captures something of the essence). For quick bite-sized adventures in this big arc, they are worth your time. 





Time Lord Victorious: The Enemy of My Enemy (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 20 January 2021 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Enemy of My Enemy (Credit: Big Finish)

Writer: Tracy Ann Baines

Director: Scott Handcock

Featuring: Paul McGann, Nicholas Briggs, Rachel Atkins,  Samantha Béart, Jacob Dudman, Raj Ghatak

 

Big Finish Release (United Kingdom)

Released November 2020

Running Time: 1 hou

The second Big Finish instalment of Time Lord Victorious seems to play in that specific sandbox a little more than the first outing. This one has it all, Daleks trying to work with the Doctor, timelines all askew…and the Doctor caught in the middle. 

The story has the Doctor held prisoner by the Daleks and forced to help them. This is essentially the same set up that the Titan Comics story had. This time the Daleks claim to want to go in peace with a race of aliens from a planet that is meant to be a barren wasteland. The people of this planet have a genocide weapon that wipes out a whole race by breaking them down into cells and letting them evolve from scratch. It is pretty clear that the Daleks plan of coming in peace is just a ruse to get at this ultimate weapon. 

This is maybe the first time in my experience with the Victorious stories that I have felt it was losing me. Don’t get me wrong, it is a well-produced adventure, with plenty of good story elements...but I think despite the idea that the multi-media event is something new and grand...a lot of it feels fairly typical Doctor Who. Planets and Civilizations that shouldn’t be there, timeline shenanigans, crazy sci-fi weapons that need to be stopped and...Daleks. Big Finish is good at producing Dalek stories, but they’ve become a tad old hat. Not only have they had a constant presence on TV (they’ve not missed an appearance, even a brief one, in a single series since 2005), and on Big Finish they have faced off with the Eighth Doctor a lot. 

This is a solid adventure, well-produced and acted, a decent entry in the overall Time Lord Victorious event.  The only problem is that in general, I am seeing a trend with the Time Lord Victorious. It is starting to just feel like standard Doctor Who with a fancy label on the cover.  I’m curious to see where they take it, but so far it doesn’t feel like it is going in any incredible new direction. I found myself not as invested this time around, but it isn’t bad by any standard. 





Time Lord Victorious #2 - Defender of the Daleks (Titan Comics)Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, 23 December 2020 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Time Lord Victorious #2 - Defender of the Daleks (Credit: Titan Comics)

Writer: Jody Houser

Artist: Roberta Ingranata

Colourist: Enrica Eren Angiolini

46 Pages

Published by Titan Comics - October 2020

Defender of the Daleks concludes here in the second part of the Titan Time Lord Victorious offering. The Doctor continues to work with the Daleks to stop the Hond from escaping and destroying everyone in the universe. Can the Doctor stop the Hond from destroying everything?  Can he work WITH the Daleks?  Even if he wins, can he still lose?  It’s an entertaining story, and without getting too deep into any spoiler territory, I think this is one of writer Jody Houser’s stronger efforts. Much like the Thirteenth/Tenth Doctor team up that launched the seemingly now-dormant Thirteenth Doctor comic that she penned...this story feels far more complete and has better pacing, which was not a strength for the bulk of the Thirteenth Doctor’s “Year One” stories.  

This is, ultimately, a fairly successful close to this segment of the cross-platform storyline that is the “Time Lord Victorious” thing.  So far I have read these two Titan installments and begun listening to the Big Finish offerings...the connections between them seem loose.  I understand that this is a story in which each installment needs to both fit into a larger puzzle AND stand entirely on it’s own...but as this story wrapped up, I didn’t feel like it was so much part of a larger ongoing story, as much as it was just a fairly entertaining one-off.  

But as long as it is a good read, does that really matter much? Who cares if the larger multi-media story isn’t quite coming into view?  If I was only going to read this comic, I would be satisfied as a one-off Tenth Doctor Adventure.  It doesn’t leave you craving more or where it all might go next, but it is solid.  In the end...that is enough. 





Time Lord Victorious: He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 21 December 2020 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Time Lord Victorious: He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not (Credit: Big Finish)

Writer: Carrie Thompson

Director: Scott Handcock

Featuring: Paul McGann, Silas Carson, Jack DeVos, Pauline Eyre, Misha Malcolm, Martin McDougall, Melanie Stevens

 

Big Finish Release (United Kingdom)

Released October 2020

Running Time: 1 hour

 

Big Finish enters into the Time Lord Victorious game with He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not, which is a standard Eighth Doctor story involving heading for a vacation, stumbling into some trouble with the first people he meets, and trying to keep everyone safe from a murderous Ood, all while trying to sort out why the planet and time seem to be completely off-kilter.

The basic story of this feels like it has little to do with the overarching Victorious business, but it is more of a set up for things to come, this is mostly in the “planet where the society and art that should be there, is replaced with a wasteland and small population” background, and less to do with the main plot, which involves two young lovers trying to escape an Ood bent on murdering the lover of his employer’s daughter, because the daughter was genetically engineered to dote on the father, and not love anyone else. 

This is, obviously, pretty standard but good ol’ fashioned Doctor Who plotting.  Does it have anything to do with the Time Lord Victorious or the Daleks or any of that other stuff?  Not really.  But it is well-produced (I expect little else from Big Finish these days), with good performances and a decent little adventure for the always entertaining Paul McGann.  

In the end, the Doctor saves the day and attempts to save the Ood if it promises not to kill the girl...but the TARDIS has other plans and begins to take off...the Doctor narrowly gets aboard but the Ood gets sucked into the Vortex...and then the Doctor ends up as a prisoner of the Daleks!  Next adventure I presume!