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The Fourth Doctor Adventures: The Renaissance Man

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Author Topic: The Fourth Doctor Adventures: The Renaissance Man  (Read 186 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: May 22, 2012, 06:46:23 pm »

In continuing my reviews of the new Tom Baker series available via Big Finish, it is inevitable that the second story will receive a more balanced view than the first (excellent though the first one was). With the initial euphoria over, the great man’s return to the fold still provides a thrill of pleasure, but we fans are not unthinking imbeciles (pauses for a sharp intake of breath) and we demand quality not mere nostalgia.


Here is what the Big Finish chaps have to say about the second story, The Renaissance Man:

To continue Leela’s education, the Doctor promises to take her to the famous Morovanian Museum. But the TARDIS lands instead in a quiet English village, where they meet the enigmatic collector Harcourt and his family.

When people start to die, reality doesn’t appear quite what it was. There’s something sinister going on within the walls of Harcourt’s manor, and the stakes are higher than they can imagine.

The Doctor is about to discover that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

The thing is about nostalgia is that it is a double edged sword. While, on the one hand, it summons up memories of more comfortable, happier times, these memories can be sullied if we return to them. In writing a series of adventures, the Big Finish team had this problem to overcome - a one off adventure can be dismissed as novel and fun. A series has to measure up - especially when dealing with an iconic Doctor.

Rest assured, therefore, that the second story in the new series is a wonderful and intriguing revisitation to the Fourth Doctor and Leela dynamic. Tom Baker is magnificent as the Doctor, combine intelligence, wit and anger. Louise Jameson is utterly sublime as Leela, the intelligent yet uneducated savage. More than ever before, in this series, the companion is the prism through which the audience can view the experience of traveling with the Doctor. The guest stars also perform well, with Ian McNiece providing a refreshing yet suitably authoritative performance as the enigmatic Harcourt.

The workmen, however, are only as good as the material they are given and the real triumph of this story comes from the script. Time-served Who-Scribe Justin Richards uses an interesting narrative technique to both mislead and yet, ultimately, reward the listener with a wonderfully concentric tale. This, above all else, is a triumph of the audio medium and special praise must go to the author for a really intelligent and well written story. The strength of Big Finish productions are that they can take us to places unfettered by budget and the mundane. This story taps into that perfectly and what we have is a genuinely wonderful adventure that captures the spirit of the Classic series combined with the accessibility of an audio adventure. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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Kovarians-Eye-Patch
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 12:32:20 am »

I've been wary about dipping in with the new Fourth Doctor stories. While I don't doubt that they will be written well I can't shake the thought that Tom Baker will give half arsed performances and that would be a shame.

Sounds like a good story though.
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2012, 08:39:07 pm »

I thought this one was ok. The overall story was a good one but I do think at times a few character came off as hollow and got lost behind the Doctor. Even on an audio Tom Baker manages to make sure he's the one who's noticed. Not that that's a bad thing but I think some of them weren't given enough opportunity to develop.
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Vampyros Adric
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2012, 09:47:49 am »

I think the main problem with this whole series is that the stories are a little short (they are about 60 minutes long). One of the great joys of the classic series was the time that characters, motivations and plot developments had to develop. These stories are more like snapshots - but I did like the script on this and I thought McNeice was superb
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