Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review: Doctor Who, "The Sands of Life" and "War Against the Laan"

These two audio dramas from Big Finish, released earlier this year, are really one story. Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, and starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Mary Tamm as Romana, the story finds the Time Lord and Lady coming to a future Earth beset by a megalomaniac businessman, Cuthbert, and billions of very pregnant telepathic aliens, the Laan, who live in the Time Vortex but give birth in the "sands of life" - except that the birth process releases a destructive amount of time energy, and billions of such energy releases will destroy the planet. From the Big Finish description:
Sheridan Moorkurk has just been elected president of Earth... but the harsh realities of who really runs the planet are just beginning to dawn on her. And what's more, she's starting to hear voices. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Romana encounter a mass of aliens heading to Earth... Aliens who have already made the mistake of upsetting the infamous Cuthbert, all-powerful CEO of The Conglomerate, by destroying one of his space platforms. Will the Doctor and Romana be able to avert inter-species war that will destroy all life on Earth?
 "War Against the Laan" follows immediately in time:
The Doctor, Romana and newly elected President Sheridan Moorkurk take on the all-consuming powers of business tycoon Cuthbert and his vast Conglomerate. But the situation goes beyond a struggle for political power. Cuthbert is intent on revenge on creatures he feels have attacked his interests. But when his revenge looks like leading to inter-species war, the Doctor knows the stakes couldn't be higher. The Laan are on the move. Is it too late to prevent the destruction of all life on Earth?
The stories are about an hour apiece. The stories suffer a bit from several problems. First, there are a large number of explosions that substitute for dialogue. Second, the main villain, the tycoon Cuthbert, is fairly one-dimensional. Finally, the ultimate solution is pretty abrupt. I know the cast was expensive, but each story by itself seemed a bit short for the price.

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