Producer(s): Gary Russell, Jason Haigh-Ellery
Written by: Will Shindler
Starring: Paul McGann, India Fisher, Conrad Westmass
Keen to show C'rizz the wonders that their universe has to offer, the Doctor and Charlie whisk the TARDIS off to a star system which boasts a planet completely untouched by humanoid life. They are not the only visitors to the planet, however; scientists from the neighbouring planet are also present, conducting experiments which may condemn them all to death...
Don't Know What You're Looking At.
If there's one thing that harms science fiction series more than technobabble, it's *fudged* technobabble; from STAR TREK: VOYAGER's endless stream of gibberish about orange whirly things in space to the embarrassing first season of TORCHWOOD and (if we're honest) most of STARGATE SG-1, it serves at best to make the viewer cringe and at worst to turn them off completely. Unfortunately for Big Finish subscribers, the latest eighth Doctor adventure serves fudged technobabble in abundance, with orders of pointless exposition, and painfully-telegraphed plot twists on the side – hardly the most appetising meal. And for desert? Why, it's a big, wobbly plate of irritating-palmed-off-as-creepy chanting, uttered by a woman far too old to be playing an eight year old girl.
Okay, that's enough of the dinner analogy. The story, such as it is, can be summed up thus – TARDIS lands on prehistoric planet, the crew meet scientists meddling in Things That Should Be Left Alone (TM), Doctor warns them to stop, they ignore him, nutter attempts to take over the planet and is foiled by a timely deus ex machina ending. Now what we've just summarised, in addition to the plot, is the main problem with this adventure – namely, that it's so eighties Who that it hurts. It's a siege story without the siege, and one in which the main cast have very little to do. This wouldn't be so much of an issue if the supporting cast could stretch beyond the default settings of mediocre and hammy, but regrettably they don't, and to make things worse the listener is bombarded with frequent bouts of schoolyard chanting every time the writer wants to make things sound a bit spooky – which, it seems, is every other line of direlogue.
With the overall quality of Big Finish's productions as high as it is, it's surprising that Briggs and co are capable of churning out ham-fisted disappointments like this. Stilted, clichéd and predictable, it fails to inspire at every turn and does nothing to further the ongoing arc-plot, making it possibly the least-essential McGann story so far. Avoid.