I started my foray into Big Finish very casually, a couple of years ago, borrowing 8th Doctor audios from a friend. As such, I don't really remember too many of the details of the earlier stories, especially those with Charley.
Beyond, well, generally enjoying their dynamic. Not the best TARDIS team, but a good one! And is too years too short a time to be nostalgic? I dunno. I'm kinda nostaglic for Charley.
Anyway, Scherzo is a story that I do remember fairly well... and I'm sorry to say it's not because I hold it in high esteem. I suppose you could say this is one of the more experimental releases, that had more 'meat' for McGann to play with, but I dunno... it just never worked to me. In my recollection, I feel like the Doctor and Charley just spent an interminable amount of time trudging through a desolate wasteland, while making funny voices at each other.
I've been tempted to go back and re-listen to several 8th Doctor stories (I've already started going back to the lovely 8th Doctor & Mary stories), but I suspect I'll skip over Scherzo. Or am I perhaps misremembering it? Does this story have more merit to it than I recall? Or is it the dud it seems to be?
This felt like a bottle episode, where the budget was running out and they needed to save money on guest stars and sets. Occasionally it can produce some superb work on television because it gives the actors a chance to really focus on things like theme and character. I didn’t get that from this. McGann and Fisher work really hard at it but I just wasn’t invested.
This is one of my Big Finish Top 10. Absolutely fantastic. The writing is great, but what really sets this apart is the absolute stunning performance. The story itself is horrific, the sound monster hurts your ears, and the terrible experience is merciless in stripping all the fluffy bits from our hero characters. This is one of the stories where the Doctor is the most nasty and abusive. He simply cannot deal with his emotions and the concept of love terrifies and confuses him and he is emotionally unable to process it. For me, this is one of the only stories that is believable in describing what it means for a companion to love the Doctor. The Doctor is an alien force of nature, and love is a concept he just cannot process. I never was a fan of any of the TV stories which had the Doctor in romances and playing about with his human mayfly companions. I just never bought the idea. As Colin says, the Doctor falling in love with a human would be as if Colin would fall in love with a sheep.
Fantastic story and what an experience. It is like riding an audio roller coaster.
Edit: Maybe it is just me and for once I fit the cliche of the female emotional drama type... since it does not appear as popular with you boys....
I liked Scherzo, at the time it was very different to anything we had ever had in the Doctor Who audio adventures. A two hander Doctor Who story that was minimalist in the extreme. (Which after the extravagances of Zagreus was no bad thing!) As a character driven story that led the Eighth Doctor to all the weirdness of the Divergent Universe Scherzo was an odd listening experience, but also entertaining in a strange 'WTF is going on here?' sort of way. It might not be in the same category as The Holy Terror, The Chimes of Midnight or Jubilee but Scherzo is still a very good Eighth Doctor story, and another example of the creative greatness of Robert Shearman... who else would have dared write it?
Also this story has one of the most glorious entries on the TARDIS Wiki ever. In addition to the sound creature, they list “The existential dread of isolation, the horror that exists with all beings” as an antagonist.
I loved it on my first listen, and would have given it a 5/5 back then. That's when I was listening to all the Eighth Doctor audios in order and had just come off of Zagreus. I hadn't really heard much else, and I was just starting on my journey of discovery of classic Doctor Who. On subsequent listens I still like it a lot, but some of the luster has been removed. For some reason I feel like some of the wonder and magic of this story has been lost for me. Maybe it's just because I've heard so many more stories and I'm no longer new to the medium or to Doctor Who. It's still an interesting story about the meaning of reality, love and need. It's still up there for me, I gave it a 4/5, but I don't love it as much as I once did.
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