Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review - "Doctor Who: Invaders from Mars"

The fact that I loved Big Finish's Sherlock Holmes audio dramas is evident to anyone who has frequented this blog often. Just recently did I finally get around to listening to one of their "Doctor Who" recordings featuring the Eighth Doctor. I decided to start with "Invaders from Mars" for the reason that it had a Sherlockian connection - it was written by Mark Gatiss who wrote "The Great Game" and "The Hounds of Baskerville," for "Sherlock."

New York City - 1938. The Doctor (Paul Mcgann) and his companion, Charley (India Fisher) arrive in the Big Apple only to find a man dead a short distance from their feet. The man is a private investigator named Halliday, which leads the Doctor and Charley to the man's office where they are approached by a young lady who believes that the Doctor is Halliday. She asks the Doctor for help in finding her long-lost uncle, a Russian research scientist who has vanished in the city. All the while there's a gang of mobsters with alien technology rubbing elbows with Nazis and Orson Welles who is preparing to deliver his infamous "War of the Worlds" dramatization.

"Invaders from Mars" was wonderfully produced. Just like the Sherlock Holmes recordings, the sound-effects and music really evoke a sense of mystery and excitement. In keeping with time and setting, much of the music resembled music used during 1930's radio dramas. Furthermore, all of the acting was very well done. Paul Mcgann is wonderful as the Doctor, who made his first appearance in the 1996 television movie. While the movie failed to capture the spirit of the show, Mcgann's performance is largely overlooked and he stands out as one of the best versions of the Doctor.

Paul Mcgann as the Doctor
My only complaint about "Invaders from Mars" is not really all that bad. The only problem is that Gatiss tossed too many story elements into his melting pot. The story features aliens, gangsters, Nazis, Russians and historical figures. However, the story was exciting enough that all of these elements seemed to fit together so well. In all, I'd give "Doctor Who: Invaders from Mars," 4 out of 5 stars. As usual, Big Finish produced a very exciting and well-done audio recording.

Notes: Big Finish produces a number of different "Doctor Who" recordings. "Invaders from Mars" features the Eighth Doctor, but Big Finish has created stories for the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors as well. Additional information can be found on their website.

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