The Bounty Of Ceres

SFX - - Rated / Videogames Miscellaneous -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

115 min­utes | CD/ down­load Pub­lisher: Big Fin­ish

Fol­low­ing neatly on from New Who’s re­cent rein­ven­tion of the Master, the lat­est Big Fin­ish box set por­trays a more tra­di­tional take on the Doc­tor’s arch- en­emy. Pro­ceed­ing di­rectly from Dark Eyes 2’ s cliffhanger, the third in­stal­ment of the saga sees the Eighth Doc­tor ( Paul McGann) put on the trail of the Master, who’s at­tempt­ing to use the metahu­man abil­i­ties of Ir­ish WW1 nurs­ing as­sis­tant Molly O’Sul­li­van to con­trol the all- con­quer­ing Em­i­nence.

As be­fore, it’s a box set of four one- hour episodes, and the tone is dark as the Doc­tor’s bat­tle with the Master takes in mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions and time­lines. Dark Eyes 3 has plenty of strong mo­ments and dra­matic twists, and McGann is on ex­cel­lent form as al­ways – it just doesn’t quite equal the nar­ra­tive drive of its pre­de­ces­sors, and feels a lit­tle stretched across its four- hour run­ning time.

Else­where, Masters Of Earth pitches the Sixth Doc­tor and Peri into a chal­leng­ing dilemma, as they ar­rive in Scot­land in 2163, a year be­fore the First Doc­tor is due to de­feat the Dalek oc­cu­pa­tion of Earth. De­spite his best ef­forts, the Sixth Doc­tor ends up in­volved in a des­per­ate race to the po­ten­tial safety of a Scot­tish is­land. The story utilises imag­i­na­tive con­cepts along­side pow­er­ful ac­tion se­quences and well- used con­ti­nu­ity ref­er­ences. A pacey wartime thriller with an ef­fec­tive sense of bleak­ness, it does a great job of cap­tur­ing the mood of 1964’ s “The Dalek In­va­sion Of Earth”, while also de­liv­er­ing an im­pact­ful and grip­ping ad­ven­ture.

Fi­nally, in the lat­est Early Ad­ven­tures re­lease, The Bounty Of Ceres, things get im­pres­sively hard SF as the TARDIS ar­rives on a dwarf planet in the as­ter­oid belt, where the First Doc­tor, Vicki and Steven run into trou­ble with a group of as­ter­oid min­ers and an un­known force that’s out to kill them. The script does a good job of mix­ing the Hart­nell era’s ed­u­ca­tional style with a more mod­ern ap­proach, and evolves into a brisk SF drama that also pulls off some in­ter­est­ing character work on Steven, ex­plor­ing his astro­naut back­ground in more de­tail than the orig­i­nal show ever man­aged. Saxon Bul­lock

Also out ( on 18 De­cem­ber): a read­ing of War Doc­tor novel En­gines Of War, per­formed by Dalek voice Ni­cholas Briggs.

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