Big Finish: The 4th Doctor Adventures – The Paradox Planet

Music practice isn’t often stopped by something as unlikely as a near miss with a Time Tank  in the temporal vortex – but that’s not nearly as unlikely as what the Doctor and Romana find on Aoris: a world at time war with itself.  When the future attacks the past, surely it can’t end well for either side?  But the future time zone is desperate enough to fight for its own future, even if that means destroying it’s past – a past which may be more primitive, but is absolutely as dangerous in this war where history itself is the combat zone.  Can anyone win when winning means destroying your future or your past?  If anyone can help them, surely a Time Lord and Lady can…

The Paradox Planet
Let me start by saying ‘Argh another two parter! I wasn’t expecting that, even if it does end on a deliciously torturous cliff hanger…’

Big Finish have form in doing this to me with their Fourth Doctor Range, and while it’s an exquisite agony having to wait for the denouement, I can’t help but love them for it – even if it does mean counting the days till ‘Legacy of Death’ comes out.

To be fair, this wasn’t the stance I was expecting to take after reading the synopsis.  Literal time tanks seemed a bit of a crude metaphor, and the paradox itself could be so easily resolved in many simple ways. (Course, that  could still  happen – it’s hard to judge such a complex story before knowing the conclusion).  And up till now I’ve been mixed in the Doctor and Romana’s adventures this season.

But the time tanks, though odd, work in the context of the story; and the paradox  part of the story appears to be swerving itself towards something more complex and interesting.  And while they are serperated a lot in this story I’m finally feeling Tom and Lalla ‘click’. This could be entirely me but I’m glad it no longer feels slightly disjointed listening to them, as if they weren’t working as well as Tom and Louise do.

Ok, so you know I’ve been enjoying it.  But why? Well, the story is a good one.  It’s nice to see Big Finish enjoying a time travel story again (see Feb’s Main range for another cracker) and there is a lot of multi-dimensional story telling going with some lovely twists and turns.  TBH the resolution to the first episode feels a little ‘Flash Gordon’ thirties serial style resolution, in that you get an extra bit at the start of part two that shows how they get out – but I loved it regardless.

It’s a good cast.  No stand out players but all the actors turn in solid performances and the dialog they’ve been given feels natural (which is good, as there is a risk it could have turned into technobabble in this story).  The direction is also fast and well handled, something vital in a story as complex as this.  As always the soundwork is great – something it’s often easy to take for granted, which is unfair as it’s a difficult thing to do well.

I’ll have to wait until part two before I know if this is a true classic but it’s shaping up to be one.

Updated: March 22, 2016 — 12:27 am

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