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The weakest Destiny chapter, reflecting what was (arguably) the worst era in Doctor Who,
This review is from: Doctor Who: Trouble in Paradise (Destiny of the Doctor 6) (Audio CD)
Of all the eras in Doctor Who that I’ve studied/witnessed, that of Colin Baker & the Sixth Doctor has been my LEAST favourite. This is not due to Colin himself, as the man is a great actor. Rather…it’s due to the direction that the creative team (of that time) went with the Time Lord and the show.
The Sixth Doctor was perhaps the wildest and most aggressive incarnation ever (proven by his predecessor’s unstable regeneration and his attempts to strangle companion Peri!), and his era was plagued with criticism/backlash from viewers, along with a variety of continuity clashes and various other problems behind-the-scenes. The Doctor’s attire (his infamous coat of MANY colours) certainly seems to alienate a lot of fans.
But while Colin’s tenure may be my least favourite (arguably the worst in all Doctor Who), I still believe that the man was just as worthy as any of his predecessors & successors in being cast the part of the Time Lord. His era DID have its moments, and whether you like it or not, it’s an era that SHOULD be included & honoured in this AWESOME ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ series.
Like the previous chapters, Trouble in Paradise captures the essence of this Doctor’s era; everything from the opening theme music, to the Doctor’s personality/current situation, and puts it on show in a brand-new setting. This time, the Doctor and Peri are on an urgent mission, which takes them to a sailing ship in 1492, where they’re greeted by none other than Christopher Columbus HIMSELF! Alas, it’s one of those meetings for the Doctor where the man BEHIND the legend turns out NOT to be what you’d wished for, and then more problems impede the Doctor & Peri’s quest when the universe is threatened, and a ‘time experiment’ runs amuck in 1492.
Trouble in Paradise seems to accurately reflect more than the Sixth Doctor’s life. It also seems to capture the problems of overall direction, continuity and the like of poor Colin’s era. After really enjoying the consistent, excellent flow of high-quality chapters (one-after-the-next) in this Destiny series, Trouble in Paradise is the first blip on the radar. It’s a story that’s plagued with problems, and by the time it’s finished, you’re left very underwhelmed by an unfortunate, confusing story that’s otherwise good.
To get the bad out of the way, writer Nev Fountain juggles several sub-plots (some good, some bad, some ugly, some just plain daft) and fails to keep them intricate & coherent. One of the antagonists - the ‘Boven’ and his ‘time experiment’ – is something I had to restrain myself from laughing hysterically. It just wasn’t something I was able to take seriously, and it clashes wildly with the ‘universe falling asunder’ and the whole Columbus sub-plot. It’s a real mishmash of writing, and it needlessly hampers this sixth chapter. There’re loose ends left over which are messily (& hastily) tied-up, which is frustrating.
What makes this even stranger is the fact that Fountain writes some material here that is genuinely inspired and emotional. The high-point of his story is definitely Christopher Columbus himself. Having studied his exploits at school, the explorer’s accomplishments are famous by name only, and his appearance is most welcome here. Of course, Christopher’s legend does hide his darker, more selfish traits in history (which I was truly surprised to learn myself), and this story presents him in a refreshingly villainous way that makes him all the more colourful, particularly in the ‘interludes’ where Columbus is writing his journal.
The Sixth Doctor, Peri and their relationship…is also faithfully captured. The Sixth Doctor boasts a superiority complex, intolerance for fools, and an arrogance/violent streak most unbecoming of a Time Lord. And whilst, his compassion and heroism remains, it’s buried VERY deep. Peri is a companion who isn’t afraid to put her foot down, even with the Doctor, so their tumultuous relationship is down to a tee, as is the fact that deep down, they truly care for each other.
Sound-wise, the music and effects are impeccable as ever. The jungle noises, the creaking of the ship etc, give such atmosphere, making the tale easy to visualise (which is what the Destiny series prides itself on). Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown) has a wonderful voice, narrating this tale beautifully. She even does a great impression of Colin Baker’s Doctor, but her false American accent in reprising her old role really does grate at times. Aside from that, Nicola is wonderful, but Cameron Stewart surpasses her in the role of Christopher Columbus, providing a stupid, superstitious and aloof tone for the explorer. And he also provides an epic Mumm-Ra impersonation for the ‘Boven’. (If only the ‘Boven’ was as awesome as Mumm-Ra…)
The overall theme of Destiny of the Doctor that connects these stand-alone tales together comes into play RIGHT at the start, which makes the surprise all the more-so and a nice change from other chapters. But while it has its moments, Trouble in Paradise is the weakest outing in this otherwise terrific audiobook series. Potentially, it could’ve been more, but as it is, the flaws do take a lot away from the end result. An okay chapter, but for completists only, I think.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Mar 2014 15:32:30 GMT
Thought this was underated & I enjoyed it very much.
A fair balanced written review.
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Mar 2014 17:57:54 GMT
R. Wood says:
Fair enough, if you enjoyed Trouble in Paradise, mate. It had its moments (particularly Columbus), but I personally enjoyed the others much more.
Thanks for the feedback.
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