Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review - "Doctor Who: Sword of Orion"

Yet another instalment in Big Finish's "Doctor Who" series, "Sword of Orion," by Nicholas Briggs is an exciting and very enjoyable audio drama. Boasting fine performances from Paul Mcgann and India Fischer, the drama really unfolds quite nicely in another adventure of the Eighth Doctor.

The future is wild - at least the future that the Doctor and Charley Pollard have arrived in is. When the Doctor's TARDIS is accidentally loaded aboard the cargo bay of a junk shop, the Doctor and Charley give chase. Things go from bad to worse when that ship nearly has a disastrous run-in with another space craft. Once aboard the great star-ship, the Doctor and Charley discover a brutally beaten man on the verge of death. Accused of the man's murder, the Doctor and Charley are taken into custody. However one by one, the crew of the junk ship start dropping like flies, and that's when the Doctor runs into his old foe, the Cybermen.

Big Finish's second Eighth Doctor story (following on the heels of "Storm Warning" by Sherlockian author, Alan Barnes), "Sword of Orion" is a taught and imaginative thriller. Unlike Mark Gatiss' "Invaders from Mars," this audio recording is a more science-fiction driven plot than than historical drama. The setting is aboard an abandoned star-ship and features the semi-robotic alien species, the Cybermen.

Author Nicholas Briggs crafts a wonderful story which is ripe with suspense. The majority of the story is filled with unrelenting chills and thrills as the crew of the star-ship and the Doctor battle against a small army of Cybermen. In addition to writing, Briggs was also the director of the drama, and his directing foreshadows his wonderful work in charge of the Sherlock Holmes series. Briggs' directing makes the recording very successful in delivering excitement and chills. The writing also gives a chance for the relationship between the Doctor and Charley to blossom. Their interactions with each other are fun to listen to since both actors have a firm grasp of their characters. Again, Paul Mcgann delivers a powerful performance as the Doctor. He still delivers a calm, understated performance which makes more a humanized and believable version of the Doctor.

Once again, my only problems with the recording aren't really bad things. I have never really been a fan of science-fiction stories, so me taking a liking to "Doctor Who" is somewhat surprising. I decided to choose "Invaders from Mars" as my introduction to Big Finish's "Doctor Who" due to the historical setting. However, with "Sword of Orion," there was no historical setting and the story was purely science-fiction driven. This is my own personal view and it does not detract any from the overall quality which was put into this audio recording. Overall, a thoroughly recommended drama. I award "Doctor Who: Sword of Orion" 3.75 out of 5 stars.

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