Sunday, 25 January 2015
REVIEW - THE EXXILONS
Third Doctor sequel, Fourth Doctor starring
The Fourth Doctor Adventures Season 4 kicks off with a sequel to the the Jon Pertwee TV story Death to the Daleks. Featuring Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, The Exxilons also features some well-known actors/actresses from within the Who universe. Yup. We've got verbal fanservice both within and without the narrative with Jacqueline King (Donna Noble's MOM) as Calura (though you might not recognize this right off the bat), John Leeson returns as K9 for this series and Hugh Ross Big Finish listeners might remember as Sir Toby from the Counter-Measures audio series. But with such a powerful line-up, how did the story turn out?
First off, let me confess that I haven't seen Death to the Daleks yet so I don't know anything about Exxilon except that the Doctor did battle with the Daleks there as mentioned in Asylum of the Daleks. Secondly, even though this story features Exxilons post-Death, it is not a direct sequel, more like a continuation.
The short and the long of it is the Doctor and Leela arrive in the TARDIS and end up saving a young woman named Trexa who is being chased by a couple of bestial monsters. From there, things get spoilery so shhhh. As far as building the tension and the action goes, The Exxilons excel at storytelling. I noticed that not having any knowledge of Death to the Daleks was actually an advantage when I listened to this story. The pace of everything moves at an excellent pace and as I mentioned, so does the drama.
Once again, I find myself in love with all of the characters in this story. If I had to pick a least favorite, it would have to be Gethal, but even then, the fact that Hugh Ross voices him could never make me dislike him. He is a little stereotyped granted, but not to the extent that it puts you off. We also have a case of the supporting cast being well developed as the story plays out. Kudos to that.
While Tom Baker is on top form, it's Louise Jameson that steals the show. This is a bit ironic really and you'll understand why by the end of this paragraph. Leela's continuous loyalty to the Doctor puts her on par with Jamie McCrimmon and K9 as his most loyal friends. She never lets slip an opportunity to believe in him and defend him - even if he isn't there to hear it. Fantastic! What's not so fantastic is that apart from that, there really isn't any reason for her to be in this story. She doesn't do much, if at all helpful or useful.
Onto the negatives, one thing that stuck out like a sore thumb throughout this tale is the lack of TARDIS translation. At multiple points are the Doctor and Leela unable to understand either a foreign language or written text without any sort of explanation as to why this is happening. Given that the translation circuit explanation has been around since The End of the World (circa 2005), this plot hole in the story was a bitter disappointment. It is 2015 after all.
Rating this story: 7/10. A nice enough loveletter to fans of Death to the Daleks.