Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman had written a comedy classic in the Christmas 2001 release "The One Doctor", so it's hard to blame Big Finish for going to the comedy well again a year later with "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!" Of course, lightning doesn't always strike twice, and sadly this is nowhere near as good as "The One Doctor". The primary problem is that it's simply not nearly as funny. Oh it's amusing, and I certainly get a few out loud chuckles while listening to this, but it pales in comparison to the earlier story. Both Roberts and Hickman have indicated that it may have been better if there was more time in between the two stories. I see a few problems. For one, "The One Doctor" felt like a love letter to Doctor Who, while they were parodying it. This feels like a much more mean spirited jab at the flaws of Babylon 5, Star Trek (all of them), and Space 1999. I say this as someone who likes Babylon 5 (but thinks it's overrated), likes Star Trek and TNG, loves DS9, found Voyager painful, and never bothered with Enterprise, and has never even seen a single episode of Space 1999. So, it's not like I am offended by the jabs at the shows - in fact I find a lot of them quite accurate. I also feel like the story is a bit overly long, and has a bit too much crammed into it. In addition to making fun of these shows, there is also a parody of the Eurovision Song contest, and an Agatha Christie murder mystery thrown in. Perhaps, it's all just a bit too much for one story?

It is natural for a story like this to have Bonnie Langford return again, this time paired up with Sylvester McCoy. The two leads are great in this - both well suited for the comedy. It's really quite funny when they assume the roles of the murdered commander and pilot whose ship they accidentally materialize on, just before it explodes. One of the funnier moments for me is when they are in the Commander's "Ready Room", when the Doctor's communicator goes off and he asks if it's Mel's or his! The guest cast are all amusing too, particularly the equally incompetent medical and science officers. This is a fairly all star cast (at least in the U.K), and Graeme Garden would make a welcome return to Big Finish later on in the 8th Doctor/Lucie audios in a much meatier role.

The Agatha Christie mystery is the main driving plot, and is generally very well done. The mystery's resolution is actually far more satisfying than that of Roberts' (also very amusing) actual Agatha Christie story for TV ("The Unicorn and the Wasp"). The song contest humor is more hit and miss with me. But, being a "Yank", I have never seen the Eurovision Song contest, so maybe some of the jokes are just lost on me. The writers wanted Bonnie Langford to end up performing the Earth entry in the contest, but were vetoed by Gary Russel, which seems like a foolhardy decision to me. Another noteworthy item on this story, is that it's the first Big Finish Doctor Who story to actually use the period appropriate version of the Doctor Who theme. (It would have to be my least favorite "official" version of the theme.) But, I am happy that each Doctor gets their own theme (or themes) used from here on out.

So, with the high hopes I had for this, I can't help but feel disappointed. But, I don't want it to come off like I dislike the story, because I don't. It's still a fun (if long) ride with a few chuckles and grins along the way. The cast are all good, and it sounds like there was a lot of fun to be had making this. If you enjoyed "The One Doctor", I am sure you will have some fun with this followup, just not as much. If you haven't heard either, definitely start with the earlier story.

Rating: Good

No comments:

Post a Comment