Eight ver­sus Eleven

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 230 min­utes |

Pub­lisher Big Fin­ish

Cre­at­ing a mem­o­rable Doc­tor Who vil­lain isn’t as easy as it looks – es­pe­cially when it’s a sin­gle char­ac­ter de­signed to go head-to­head with our time-trav­el­ling hero. Up un­til now, Big Fin­ish have of­ten been hap­pier bring­ing back th­ese kinds of ad­ver­saries than cre­at­ing new ones, but with their lat­est Eighth Doc­tor box set, they’ve crafted their most at­ten­tion­grab­bing bad guy yet.

Doom Coali­tion 1 also con­tin­ues Big Fin­ish’s new ap­proach to the Eighth Doc­tor ad­ven­tures, stick­ing with the mul­ti­ple box set for­mat em­ployed for the Dark Eyes saga. This story will even­tu­ally run for four box sets (to­talling 16 one-hour episodes), and pitches the Eighth Doc­tor against The Eleven (Mark Bon­nar), a Time Lord crim­i­nal whose pre­vi­ous ten per­son­al­i­ties are still jostling for supremacy in­side his head.

The ac­tion kicks off when The Eleven es­capes from a max­i­mum­se­cu­rity pri­son on Gal­lifrey, in­tent on caus­ing chaos and ex­act­ing re­venge on the Doc­tor for orig­i­nally catch­ing him. The Doc­tor and cur­rent com­pan­ion Liv Chenka (Ni­cola Walker) are soon pur­su­ing him across time and space, fol­low­ing clues that lead them to ’60s Lon­don and Re­nais­sance-era Florence be­fore a cli­mac­tic con­fronta­tion with the ma­ni­a­cal Time Lord.

The four episodes are a well-bal­anced set of tales that de­liver sat­is­fy­ing drama, from the at­mo­spheric chills of “The Red Lady” to the ac­tion of “The Galileo Trap”. Hat­tie Mo­ra­han is en­ter­tain­ing as ad­di­tional new com­pan­ion He­len Sin­clair, while Bon­nar does a good job of keep­ing The Eleven just on the right side of broad comic-book vil­lainy.

The fi­nale maybe isn’t quite as im­pact­ful as it could have been, but over­all this is a much stronger, more fo­cused lis­ten than the last Dark Eyes box set. So far Doom Coali­tion is shap­ing up to be a thor­oughly en­joy­able Who ad­ven­ture. Saxon Bul­lock

Jan­uary box set The Diary Of River Song will also fea­ture McGann’s Doc­tor – but will he and River ac­tu­ally meet?

What­ever they’re look­ing at, she seems hap­pier about it than he does.

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