For me, it’s between Ghost Walk and Iron Bright. After a few listens, Ghost Walk really ended up growing on me. Iron Bright, though, was great from start to finish. I don’t think it’s quite as good as Chapman’s 2017 story, The Middle - that was easily a 10/10 for me - but it’s still a pretty strong release.
The Hunting Ground, Hour of the Cybermen, and Serpent in the Silver Mask, with Hour of the Cybermen edging out Red Planets by only the slightest margin. Not everything was that much to my tastes, but undeniably another great year for the Monthly Range.
GREAT: Ghost Walk, Serpent in the Silver Mask, Iron Bright MOSTLY GREAT: Kingdom of Lies, Muse of Fire GOOD: Hour of the Cybermen, Red Planets BIT RUBBISH: Warlock's Cross, The Hunting Ground VERY RUBBISH: The Helliax Rift, The Dispossessed, The Quantum Possibility Engine ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL: The Lure of the Nomad
Its been another strong year for the MR. In my opinion, the range has improved massively in quality and, with the exception of one or two stories, has consistently had good releases since February 2015.
As ever, it is hard to pick what I think is the 'best' release as each is different, but here are my two pennies worth:
Best Trilogy: Undoubtedly, Davison's releases: Kingdom of Lies, Ghost Walk and Serpent in the Silver Mask. Three great stories, which each brought a different approach. Kingdom of Lies was a great satire on the British Royal Family (appeals as a republican) and Nyssa the Destroyer is a fantastic idea (especially deadpan delivery), Ghost Walk was a great ghost story with a unique plotting style and Serpent worked as a Christie-esque style murder mystery in space. Davison has been a consistently strong performer in recent years and is giving Baker a run for his money.
Missed the Mark: Lure of the Nomad - sadly, this just didn't deliver. Sharpe was a great idea, but should have been the last part of a trilogy and would have packed more punch. Still love Willoway and her tea, but just felt a bit cheated by this (unless it is being revisited this year). After Static, it would have been good to see that arc resolve itself.
Not Enough Material to Fill: The Quantum Possibility Engine and The Dispossessed - Whilst not awful ideas, there was just not enough material to fill 4 parts for these stories, hence why they suffered. The Dispossessed could have been wrapped up on 3 and the Quantum Possibility Engine in 2 or 3.
Stand Out Favourites: Hour of the Cybermen - was how 1980s Cyberstories should have been and this was a great recreation of that era without falling into fanw**k. Red Planets was also great as it offered an entirely different approach and was a clever plot (also reused Static's score, which I also like).
Misfires: Warlock's Cross - not engaging as a story and did little to develop the arc, Helliax Rift - plotting holes make it hard to fathom everything out and the characterisation doesn't work, a strong opener is let down by the rest of the production.
Overall, still a great run - encapsulating what is great about Doctor Who. 20 years on BF are still producing amazing stories and should be applauded for it. Will be fascinating to see where the range goes next. Hopefully, we will soon hear about a licence extension - my sub is up this year and I would like to take advantage of a 5 year super-subscription deal if possible.
99% the storys worked for me ,was the only Warlock's Cross black spot i played all the others 3 or more times Warlock's Cross 2 times on my itunes plays list got about a hour walk after work normaly play something i played before so i do not miss anything a lot of noise from cars and the like, carry 2 sets of head phones one for outdoors normal ones and noise cancelling ones for underground
the only golden age is now as it the only 1 we can change unless your the Doctor
All good this year, as far as I was concerned, Muse of fire probably my least favourite. It wasn't a bad story as such, but it had Iris and Panda in it, and I prefer the Whoniverse without Iris.
(Echo of infuriated posh furry voice) "Iris, you sort him out! Punch him on the hooter!"
'Muse of Fire' is a strong contender for my top MR story of the year in part for exactly those reasons, still chacun à son goût as they say. ('Gout? No risk o' that, chucks, not with my livers on the job!')