A strangely epic attempt to "re-imagine" huge expanses of Doctor Who mythology and continuity, "Death Comes To Time" isn't really bad, just a bit puzzling. Producer Dan Freedman has stated on numerous occasions that he felt it was necessary to re-invent the series in order to give it a shot at eturning to television, but...wow. Who knew he'd reinvent it quite so much? UNIT with space battleships? Ace becoming a Time Lord? And then, there's the death of the Doctor himself. Not a regeneration (though to a certain extent things are left a bit vague), but a fatal blow. I hate to spoil so major a story development, but it's necessary to reveal that point - if not its context or its place in the plot - in order to really discuss why Death Comes To Time resulted in a fan backlash fierce enough to make Freedman withdraw his bid to follow the story up on TV.
"Death Comes To Time" is an experiment with inconclusive results. The BBC trumpeted the return of Doctor Who in an audio/online medium with an unavoidable tidal wave of publicity - even though Big Finish Productions had already brought the series back in that medium two years earlier. A bold re-imagining of the story served to alienate and baffle what may well be the most continuity-obsessed body of fandom in the world. And yet at the same time, the production values were great, the cast was excellent, and the bold re-imagining was, at the very least, intriguing if not "official." But by the time the third disc spins down, I can understand why the reins were handed over to Big Finish for the next BBC online audio project. Producer Dan Freedman took a bum rap for "Death Comes To Time," and while he earned it in some ways for toying so drastically with the fundamental tenets of the series, he also gave us an interesting story which sparked what I'll charitably call a lively dialogue about what form the fans would accept for the return of Doctor Who.