Thursday, 22 May 2014
REVIEW - DOCTOR WHO - TOMB SHIP
Journey to the Center of the TARDIS meets Indiana Jones...
They say looks can be deceiving and never has it been more so than with Tomb Ship. Due to the cover not impressing me as much, I left listening to it to last. The premise is rather simple and straightforward: The Doctor and Nyssa arrive on a pyramid shaped space tomb where they meet a - I guess you could call them an expedition team. From there, we get right to business with traps and turmoils and the Doctor going all Indie on us. Loved it!
I mentioned that this story had elements of Journey to the Center of the TARDIS as well. As the story progresses, you can't help but notice the similarities: A team journeying through a vast and dangerous setting with a bunch of selfish supporting cast. It's all there, but unlike the Van Baalen Brothers in Journey, Eve Karpf's Virna and her 'boys' Hisko, Heff, Murs and Rek have a much more gripping tale surrounding their family. They sort of remind me of Lily Finnegan and her boys from Afterlife. Coincidentally Johnathan Forbes who plays Heff in Tomb Ship also plays Barry Finnegan in Aftelife. Go figure!
Virna (excluding her boys) comes across very much like the main Van Baalen brother in Journey through her single-minded, greedy nature, but the fact that her succumbing to tunnel-vision and resorting to threats every other scene and the implied reality that she only seems to bare children to help her find the treasure hidden in the tomb makes her much much worse than what the Van Baalens ended up doing to each other. Plus there is another more intriguing character thrown into mix that just ruins any chance Virna has at redemption.
The idea of a exploring a tomb, ducking traps and looking for lost treasure is a brilliant idea for a Doctor Who script. I can't seem to think of a story that has tried putting the Doctor in Indie's shoes right now, but it works. He even has a hat! Not an Indie hat, but a hat people! Peter Davison's Doctor is just perfect for this kind of adventurous role. Since this is Doctor Who though, the traps need to challenge everybody intellectually instead of physically. I will testify that the resolutions to these traps the Doctor and company encounter are freaking brilliant! Saw none of them coming. Hell! They weren't even on my list of possibilities and I consider myself observant. Kudos to both Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby for crafting such a magnificent script.
Normally this section of the review I'll point out all the things that annoyed me during the story. What aspects I felt didn't work in the script. Unfortunately for those who look forward to this section, I'll have to skip it as there wasn't really anything I disliked about Tomb Ship.
There is one tiny thing that ruffled my feathers - the return of Hannah Bartholomew! Remember her? The quintessential British huntress lady from the previous story? The annoying one with the 'jolly good' pompous demeanor? She's back! Actually, I'm not sure if I can call it properly coming back or just cameoing as her return came out of nowhere and wasn't welcomed by me. I didn't mind her much in Moonflesh, but I really hate people who just 'invite' themselves aboard the TARDIS like they have every right to. That just puts me off.
Other than that, this story is a solid spectacular spectacle! More enjoyable than Journey in my opinion. From the cover, I mentioned that bug army of alien monsters felt a little cliche, but I was wrong. The writers of this piece do not fall into that trap. In fact, they don't feel like villains at all. I pity them actually, so perhaps they're victims more than anything else.
Rating this story: 8.5/10. Eat your heart out Jonesy!