Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Time of the Daleks
Oh you want more?
I am a fan of Justin Richards' other Big Finish stories (particularly "Whispers of Terror") but this one really just doesn't work for me. This is Paul McGann's first interaction with the Daleks, in a mind bending time paradox story, that drags on a little too long, and is a bit too convoluted for my brain to figure out. The gist of the story is that William Shakespeare is disappearing from history (the Doctor mentions him and Charley has no idea who he is talking about). The Doctor figures out the cause for this potential rewriting of history is happening (mostly) in the 21st century a few decades from now. A British General (who has "temporarily" seized control of England (for the greater good) is engaged in time experiments and getting some help from... the Daleks!
The story is basically built around a time paradox involving the Daleks getting stuck in the time vortex. They send three Daleks to sort the mess out and they arrive in England. Once the Daleks attempt to escape and execute their fiendish plan, the Doctor intervenes, causing the Daleks to get stuck in the time vortex - which is of course how the story began. Rinse, lather, repeat. I know paradoxes don't really make sense to begin with, but this one really doesn't make sense to me.
My other big issue with this story is the science behind the time travel experiments. Basically, they have figured out how to time travel using a lot of mirrors and a lot of clocks - along with a Master Clock. Terrance Dicks once said in a DVD extra that you could have the most improbable science you want in Doctor Who as long as you make it sound plausible. (I am sure I am paraphrasing this horribly.) This rubbish with the mirrors just doesn't come off as plausible to me, at all, which disengages me from the story early on. Now, is this Richards' fault, or I am just a simpleton? Fans of this story can let me know how stupid I really am.
There are some good points. Listening to the Daleks quoting Shakespeare is at once both silly and creepy. At times one undermines the other, but usually the combination works quite well. There is certainly a lot of action here with gun fights galore. We also finally get the explanation as to why the Dalek was dropped right into the middle of episode 1 of "Seasons of Fear" - though I think it was silly that the other one was dropped off randomly into World War II. They should have sent that one into "Invaders from Mars" instead! Finally, the twist with Shakespeare is a cute surprise. Although the next Big Finish with Shakespeare (it will be a while before we get to that one) is far stronger and has a much better twist!
At the end of the story, the Doctor finally acknowledges that too many odd time anomalies and paradoxes have been swirling around them. He finally admits that it's time to do something about Charley. This leads nicely into the big season finale "Neverland". I appreciate some of the clever ideas in this story. Perhaps these ideas are just a bit too clever for me to appreciate, but I mainly just find most of this story ponderous to listen to.