Second series in, and I'm still finding myself thinking, 'Blimey, Chris Eccleston is playing the Doctor again'. I gleefully spot possible references to David Bowie in the title and to Dicken's The Signalman in a couple of lines of dialogue, but Robert Valentine's story is very much its own person. Saffron is a nice addition, as are all the characters. The sentiment occasionally slides close to the kind of sugary 'love conquers all' themes that ran through Matt Smith's middle stories at times but again, provides an emotional moment or two that are triumphant rather than saccharine. A very well judged piece, an entertaining villain - no returning monsters* - and a fine start to this second series.
* It's interesting that the deliberate selling point, or gimmick, of a returning foe/monster actively puts me off a story these days, rather than compelling me to buy it. Perhaps BF should start labelling stories 'featuring all new characters' now!
It's the opening and closing stories that really stand out; two intimate, melancholic character driven affairs perfectly suited to Eccleston's Doctor. I adored Saffron and Mandy, who would have been fine companions in their own right, and the wider cast add to the magic. The False Dimitry is a quirky farce in an unusual setting and larger than life characters; it's a great tonic sandwiched between Station to Station & Auld Lang Syne and works better for it.
If I had two slight criticisms, they'd both sit with Station to Station. Ian Bartholomew isn't distinctive enough in his two roles, to the point where you're expecting there to be a twist where they're one and the same. The other is the conclusion is a little undercooked in favour of the epilogue; it's well seeded but could've perhaps been a bit cleverer.
This and Respond to All Calls is exactly what I want from The Ninth Doctor Adventures. Great adventures, free of continuity and lots of character work. The portrayal of Nine is spot on and Eccleston is a joy in this, striking the balance between how he wants to portray the Doctor in 2022 but also respecting his series on screen. One of those Big Finish releases where every one and every thing is firing on all cylinders and really reminds you why you love what they do.
I adored this one as well, and I think it easily ties, maybe beats Respond to All Calls for my favourite of the 9DA's. All three were very lovely and dealt with some very complex themes, but in a way that was instantly relatable.
Station to Station was a proper horror story, and I really think Indigo Griffiths is a companion in the making(a theme for this set actually). The sound design was especially well-done for this episode, and I imagine this will sound extra good on the record player once the Vinyls are delivered.
The False Dimitry might become lost between the other two stories, but I think it's one of my favourite historicals in a while. It was a genuine blast and Sarah Grochala really nailed down Nine's personality(more Grochala writing please!) I do hope that this kind of historical is something revisited.
And finally Auld Lang Syne. My heart is full and broken at the same time. I will always sing the praises of Foley, but I think this really stands among his best. And I laugh that this is the second story in a year of Foley's to feature Wendy Craig!
Thinking more, I do really appreciate that the 9DAs have very sparring continuity. I really enjoyed having the Cybermen for three eps, but that was well balanced against 9 episodes not featuring returning elements or heavy continuity.
Post by aussiedoctorwhofan on May 5, 2022 4:32:53 GMT
I have about 10 mins left in the 1st story. I got a bit excited hearing the Doctor mention "Earl's Court" and their police box, (wife and I visited that and got our touristy pics taken there on our Doctor Who-themed honeymoon years ago).
Did I hear him get called "The Oncoming Storm"? Hello "11th"..
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