on 2 June 2010
I am among the minority of Doctor Who fans that love the original Web Planet.
This audio story creates a somewhat different atmosphere to the original with its ethereal celestial desert and acid pools. Instead, we have a strange forest landscape, though the noise of Zarbu evokes the original. Both stories have a dreamy feel.
The story is interesting enough, though oen struggles to get one's head around the concept revealed at the story's conclusion.
I think the two Menoptera voices ought to sound just a little bit more alien than they do.
Probably the best part of this audio is the amazing musical score, which is included as an isolated music track at the end of the CD.
on 13 February 2009
I can certainly appreciate the expense and the detail of the ambitious television story The Web Planet, but I have found it to be one of the most difficult-to-watch Doctor Who stories. In fact, I never watched the DVD all the way through-the only Doctor Who story where I have done that-and struggled with VHS all those years ago.
However the "sequel" is marvellous. Whether this is because there are no challenging "visuals" to detract the listener or knowing of the Doctor's previous adventure is difficult to say, but this is a solid, enjoyable Big Finish story and is far better than the title might suggest.
Also, knowing this is a story about giant insects, then probably a listener could enjoy this without knowing about The Web Planet, although it helps as there are some nice touches.
back in 1965, there was a doctor who story on television called the web planet. it is available on dvd Doctor Who - The Web Planet  and in it the first doctor and his companions visited the planet vortis. a strange and rocky world inhabited by several insectoid races. It was a very ambitious story. perhaps too much for it's own good, as the budget and production values of the time didn't quite do justice to the visuals, and thus opinion on the story tends to be somewhat divided.
this cd is a one off audio doctor who story featuring peter davison as the fifth doctor, and sarah sutton as his companion nyssa, and it involves the pair of them visiting vortis once again.
since the story is on audio and thus there are no visuals save those you can conjure up in your mind's eye, there should be no problem with them on this occasion.
the story runs for roughly fifty minutes, and the final track of the cd lasts for nineteen, and contains trailers for other doctor audio stories from big finish and also some of the score from this story.
the plot of return to the web planet involves the doctor and nyssa exploring vortis, and trying to find the force that drew the tardis there. they meet an alien scientist and his daughter, and their investigations lead to them discovering strange things lurking in the wilds of the planet that threaten it's future. can the doctor figure out what's going on in time to save the day?
this story certainly tries hard to create a very alien world, and perhaps because of that it's one where you really do need to work hard to suspend your disbelief and imagine the images it's trying to convey. like the tv story, you have to give it full marks for effort. It's largely successful though. the two leads are very good, and so are the supporting cast, and the plot does develop nicely, leading to a good and really quite imaginative explanation for what's going on.
a decent little tale. nothing special, but well worth a listen
I think the title of the review says it all. I listened with hope to this audio recording and although I was pleased to hear the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa discuss the alien world of Vortis, the audio production did nothing to recapture the atmosphere of the original William Hartnell story - The Web Planet. In the original, we had wispy air, blurring images and the echoing calls of the Zarbi, all truly atmospheric. But on the audio recording, all we had was a friendly Zarbi and the hordes of migrating Zarbi chirruping away. Even the Butterfly People, the Menoptera, were unconvincing, their original sing-song voice and waving arms lost in the audio recording.
All of this is a result of a weak story and I begin to understand why Big Finish gave this disc away with new subscribers. If Vortis, the Zarbi and the Menoptera are ever used again, I just hope they have a decent writer who may also recall that there were Pygmy-Menoptera living underground and Larvae-Guns (Venom Grubs) used as weapons by the Zarbi. Bring back the Animus!