Saturday, January 4, 2014

Tea Time in the TARDIS

For the past few holidays, my wife and I have listened to Doctor Who audio stories starring Paul McGann in the car. We've heard about a dozen so far.

I can't recommend them highly enough. There are some stinkers, of course, but I'd say the batting average is about equal to any season of the current series. Standout stories include:

"Storm Warning," the first 8th Doctor story, which is about the crash of the R101 airship.

"Seasons of Fear" by Paul Cornell and Caroline Symcox, where the Doctor jumps through time chasing an immortal despot.

"Chimes of Midnight" by Robert Shearman (who wrote "Dalek" in S1), a creepy and beautiful Christmas story set at an English manor in 1906.

"Embrace the Darkness," a trapped-on-a-space-station style episode on a planet with no sun. The Doctor visits Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall" basically. One of the best uses of the audio medium I've heard.

"Time of the Daleks," a story that lets the Daleks pose as Shakespeare enthusiasts and somehow makes it both hilarious and terrifying.

McGann is a wonderful Doctor - calmer and more straight-forward than the manic Tennant/Smith-types, but just as excited to be traveling the universe. He says things like "I've caught a chill of gloom" and makes them sound relaxed and natural. I dislike the TV movie as much as anyone, but 8 is quickly becoming one of my favorite Doctors.

The same is true of India Fisher as companion Charley Pollard. She's from 1930, which makes for a nice change from the recent TV companions (and makes me wish even more that Moffat had gone with Victorian Clara). 

She's also my favorite type of companion - smart, capable, naturally curious, always up for any kind of adventure. Since the stories are 2 hours long, she and the Doctor often get split up, and she's always fascinating to hear on her own.

So yeah, Doctor Who audios. Quality merchandise.

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