Rubber lovers bounce back

SFX - - Reviews - Saxon Bul­lock

re­leased OUT NOW! 230 min­utes | CD/ down­load

Pub­lisher Big Fin­ish

As far as Who vil­lains go, it’s dif­fi­cult to get more ob­scure than the Vo­ord, the rub­ber­suited aliens who only notched up one on- screen ap­pear­ance in 1964 ad­ven­ture “The Keys Of Mar­i­nus”. Now, in the wake of their role in last year’s Paul Cor­nell- writ­ten comic minis­eries Four Doc­tors, the Vo­ord make an­other come­back in the first in­stal­ment of Doom Coali­tion 2, Big Fin­ish’s lat­est set.

Once again, it’s a quar­tet of in­ter­linked sto­ries, which fol­low the Eighth Doc­tor ( Paul McGann) and com­pan­ions Liv Chenka ( Ni­cola Walker) and He­len Sin­clair ( Hat­tie Mo­ra­han) in the af­ter­math of their ini­tial con­fronta­tion with the Eleven ( Mark Bon­nar), a de­mented Time Lord su­pervil­lain with mul­ti­ple per­son­al­i­ties. This time, the time- trav­ellers are pitched against an even greater galaxy- threat­en­ing ad­ver­sary with a mys­te­ri­ous link to the Eleven.

The set starts well, with the two open­ing episodes pulling off a com­bi­na­tion of ac­tion, in­trigue and sparky di­a­logue. McGann is on ex­cel­lent form in Vo­ord- re­lated ad­ven­ture “Beach­head”, while episode two – “Scenes From Her Life” – sets up in­ter­est­ing stakes for the rest of the saga. Un­for­tu­nately, fi­nal episodes “The Gift” and “The Sono­mancer” don’t quite pay this off, de­liv­er­ing fun but oc­ca­sion­ally clunky ad­ven­tures dragged down by ex­ces­sive melo­drama.

It’s good to hear Alex Kingston back as River Song in the fi­nal episode, al­though the over­con­vo­luted plot­ting nec­es­sary to pre­vent River and the Eighth Doc­tor meet­ing ham­pers the story. It also doesn’t help that the Eleven is too car­toon­ish to be a gen­uinely in­tim­i­dat­ing vil­lain. With two more Doom Coali­tion- re­lated sets to go, let’s hope Big Fin­ish can pull the saga back into shape for a rous­ing fin­ish.

Am­i­cus Pro­duc­tions, who made the two ’ 60s Who movies with Peter Cush­ing, also op­tioned “The Keys Of Mar­i­nus”.

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