Doctor Who Review – “Shadow of Death”
[rating: 4.5] I’ve often said that my favorite Companion Chronicle stories are ones that feature Frazier Hines playing Jamie because…
I’ve often said that my favorite Companion Chronicle stories are ones that feature Frazier Hines playing Jamie because he also plays the Second Doctor, and does such an excellent job. Thankfully this second entry in the Destiny of the Doctors series features Hines doing just that, and it’s every bit as wonderful as I’d expected!
We begin with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arriving at a mysterious planet near a pulsar. There they find a small research outpost. Yes, it’s basically another “base under siege” story. The scientists are there to research a civilization that had existed on the planet and had disappeared. Of course there’s also sinister goings on and deaths start happening and timey wimey stuff begins to occur. So pretty much just a normal Tuesday for the Doctor.
While this is a fairly basic and pedestrian story, it was well-executed. Simon Gurrier proves yet again that he’s one of the best writers for the early Doctors, and of course Hines is every bit as excellent as usual. Supporting actress Evie Dawnay turns in a decent, if not terribly memorable, performance as well
So a very basic story. Well-executed, but nothing special on its face. But what makes this more special than usual is that the Big Finish team are able to use elements from the new series mixed in with the old. So therefore it’s not a huge surprise when the psychic paper turns up, though what happens next is a major surprise, and one I won’t spoil for you here!
The one and only disappointment that I have is that I’m not sure how this is going to tie in with the larger epic picture. There’s no hint of a connection that I could spy with the First Doctor story, and as I write this, I’ve already listened to the Third Doctor story, and I don’t feel any connection there, either. Still, it’s possible that may be coming later. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from listening to so many of the audio stories, it’s that Big Finish is excellent at planting seeds that don’t sprout fruit until much, much later (over ten years in at least one case), so waiting to see how all this blends is fine with me.
Would I recommend listening to just this story? Not really. Look, it’s dead cheap if you buy it on download, as is the First Doctor story. Just buy them both and listen to them both. You probably won’t be disappointed.
NEXT TIME: The Mike Yates origin story we’ve all “wanted” all these years!