Friday, August 8, 2014

More Eighth Doctor and Charley

I’m continuing to work my way through the Eighth Doctor audio stories from Big Finish Productions, and just finished the excellent, if lengthy, and interconnected series of stories, starting with 2002’s “Neverland” through 2004’s “The Next Life.”

“Neverland” introduces the concept of anti-time and people who live beyond time and space. Romana, now President of the High Council of Time Lords, attempts to fix the rip in the universe the Doctor caused by rescuing Charley Pollard from the R-101 in the 1930s (in “Storm Warning”). The sequel, “Zagreus,” continues the story in the TARDIS – and on Gallifrey. By the end of the story, the Doctor is exiled from our universe, unable to return and under penalty of death from the Time Lords if he finds a way to do so. As Zagreus was the 50th story in the Main Range of Big Finish Doctor Who stories, it is longer than usual, at around three hours, and has a large cast, including actors who played other Doctors (Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy) and companions (Elisabeth Sladen, Nicola Bryant, Sarah Sutton, Nicholas Courtney) in different roles.

From “Zagreus,” the next stories take place in the Divergent Universe, a pocket universe created by Rassilon  to contain the anti-time creatures. In “Scherzo,” “The Creed of the Kromon,” “The Natural History of Fear,” “The Twilight Kingdom,” “Faith Stealer,” “The Last,” and “Caerdroia,” the Doctor and Charley explore the Divergent Universe while simultaneously trying to find the TARDIS and understand the world around them. By “The Next Life,” the Doctor thinks he understands how the pocket universe works, but he discovers yet more secrets before finally making his way back to our universe.  Along the way, the listener understands how all the stories are connected, with events from “Neverland” and “Zagreus” affecting those in “The Next Life.” It’s an ambitious project, and I enjoyed the series as a whole, even if some of the stories were hard to follow in places. (Thank goodness for the Internet and plot synopses!)

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