Doctor Who Review – “The Sands of Life”

Rating: Here we have story two of season two of The Fourth Doctor Adventures. It’s a good, solid story, but…

Chris Swanson

Contributor

sands-of-life_cover_large

Rating: ★★★★☆

Here we have story two of season two of The Fourth Doctor Adventures. It’s a good, solid story, but it’s also part one of at least two, and that makes it ever so hard to review. On the other hand, we have Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, John Leeson and David Warner, so at the very least, we know at the outset that we’re going to get something pretty amazing!

Our story starts off in the future of Earth, with the Doctor (Baker), Romana (Tamm) and K9 (Leeson) arriving at about the same time as several billion alien life forms, rather like space manatees, show up. This happens at the same time as a new Earth president (Haley Atwell) is taking office.

Romana and the Doctor are soon captured, of course, and blamed for the apparent invasion; something that at least seems plausible given that the aliens have been communicating telepathically with Romana. Their captor is not the government, but rather a corporation whose CEO (Warner) seems to basically be the one running the world. He is one of those evil CEO types who doesn’t really care about anything other than money and power and believes that he can use the manatees (called Laan), to get more of both.

Of course all this leads to tremendous action sequences, thrills, danger, excitement and the inevitable cliffhanger, and it’s that last part that’s the problem. The fact that this is a story broken up over two discs, and disc one is the only one that’s been released, makes it very difficult to review. As it stands, I really liked the buildup, but I have no idea what the payoff will be like.

That said, the buildup is really good. David Warner does a vocal styling I’ve never heard from him before; one that makes him almost unrecognizable. That’s not a bad thing, since it adds greatly to the mystery of his character. Baker, Tamm and Leeson are also great, though Leeson is largely limited to explaining that he can’t move on sand very well.

Atwell, best known from some other Big Finish work and her appearance in Captain America, is quite good, too, but very underused. I suspect there’s bigger things in store for her character in the next story, “The War Against the Laan”.

I think that once I’ve listened to part two, I’ll have more to say about part one. But for now, as it stands, this is a good, solid, entertaining buildup to…something. I guess we’ll learn what once part two rolls around.