Thursday, 14 January 2016
REVIEW – WAVE OF DESTRUCTION
Big Finish’s January line-up continues with Tom Baker, Lalla War and John Leeson!
The Doctor Who dream team if you ask me. The Fourth Doctor, Romana II and K9 probably set the bar for great chemistry in Doctor Who and The Wave of Destruction goes out of its way to showcase it within the very first scene! It also features a pretty hilarious time travel gag which is right up this Doctor’s alley.
One of the criticisms I had about Romana II (one of my favs) last year in the Fourth Doctor box set was the fact that the story didn’t really need her and she didn’t really do much. Granted, those stories were adaptations of novels so it’s not really Big Finish’s fault. I cannot raise that criticism here though as the scenes with deadpan snarking Romana are fantastic to listen to. She really gets to do and experience quite a bit in this story and while it isn’t always terribly intricate or exciting, it is still placing a character in an alien situation. I mean the Doctor asking Romana to go shopping? Just take a moment and imagine how those scenes went.
Then forget about it because it was much cooler!
I’m not going to give away the returning monsters for this story, but I will admit that the title of the story should raise a couple of flags, though I didn’t see it coming until the reveal. Regardless, they are utilized quite effectively. Sound scheme. Evil characters. All quite fun.
If I’m honest, this story’s strongest element is how it manages to give every character something to do. This is always a potential issue with a Doctor Who story. We accept of course that one of the roles in a story is just being around the Doctor to ask him questions, but sometimes stories contain characters that are truly forgettable and really contribute nothing to the plot really. I admire stories which can dodge this bullet.
If I had to identify a negative with Wave of Destruction, I’d say it’s too short. Usually these episodes are thirty minutes each, but Wave of Destruction barely reaches the forty minute mark I think. It also seems to continual point to this being a two-part story which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I do believe that this is one of those stories which could’ve been split into 2 parts even though there is nothing wrong with the pacing as it is now.
What I’m trying to say: I enjoyed this story enough to want it to be longer. There! I said it.
A definite negative for me though was the ridiculous overconfidence of the villains which undercut the tension the story was trying to build up on numerous occasions, indirectly assuring us that the Doctor and company were in no real narrative danger. This is sinful as it’s pretty clear from the acting that we’re actually supposed to be fearful for the Doctor’s safety.
Rating this story: 4/5. The Fourth Doctor and Romana get off to a good start. Let’s hope they can keep the momentum going next month in The Labyrinth of Buda Castle.
Doctor Who: Wave of Destruction is available on Big Finish's website HERE.
Note: If you liked this review, please like and share it. If you’re interested in getting into Big Finish or want suggestions on which stories are great, check out my ranking of them HERE