So not to be a negative nelly but why oh why would you make, what was proably one of the most anticipated big finish releases ever, which would appeal to casual doctor who fans who have never gone near big finish, so incredibly complicated and at parts borderline incomprehensible. Obviously Eccleston was great, that was never in question but can't help thinking their would be people who listened to the set and be put of from ordering more and big finish altogether. Like seriously imagine that was your first ever listening of something big finish, is it really going to encourage you to come back for more, which is a shame cause theirs not enough standalone fare at the moment. It definitely needs another relistin and hopefully I'd like it more but it may not have been the most welcoming story for new listeners.
It _is_ a bit difficult to follow, particularly on first listening, but for atmosphere and a great companion, this is actually my favourite 9DA box set so far. Eccleston is on top form in this and a real joy to listen to.
The first time I tried to listen to this, I did not finish it. I just did not "feel" it. Today I decided to give it another chance.
Well, it is not as bad as I first thought. There are good scenes in to be had, the new one-off companion is nice, there are a few good action scenes. It know to entertain and does not get boring. But with all the timey-whimey-ness, it gets confusing pretty quick. This was the reason I stopped listening back in the day. The timelines become entangled and are all over the place, and I think even on a second listen, it is hard to keep up. The story tries to be clever with all these time shenanigans, but I just got the feeling that it could have been done better. Maybe another round of edits? Tighten it up a bit? Make the time swings a bit smoother? I am not sure. As it stands, I found it very hard to follow.
The next thing that bothered me- Strax. I love Dan Starkey, he is very versatile, Big Finish uses him in multiple characters and he is also a great audio book reader. So WHY was Dan Starkey used as the Roman commander shouting all the same phrases and martial nonsense that most of his Sontarans, especially the not-so-clever Strax are shouting? These Romans did not come across to me as Romans at all, just as sword wielding Sontarans. Not sure if this was meant as a joke that went too far? I just thought it was pretty un-original and tedious.
And then the elephant in the room: The Doctor. Honestly, this could have been any Doctor. The text would have fitted David Tennant very well, and I actually thought several times "Wait, this sounds more like 10". This did not particularly sound like the Ninth Doctor I am afraid.
In conclusion, I am sad to say, this came across as a pretty average release to me. But at least I now finished it and it was better than first feared.
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