Army of Death (Doctor Who) Audio CD – Audiobook, 12 Dec 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the third in a trilogy of adventures that teams the Eighth Doctor with autheress and adventuress Mary Shelly. You do not need to have listened to any of the previous outings to get into this story. The Doctor and Mary land on what should be a peaceful planet, only to find some very strange tings going on. A city state has been totally destroyed, and there is an army of skeletons on the march. The pair have to walk along some dark paths until the truth is brought out and the situation resolved.
This is another high octane and generally fun adventure, with a witty script that delivers some great lines and situations for Eight and his companion. Paul McGann plays it with a feverish energy, really bringing out the tiggerish side of his Doctor’s personality. With its blend of horror and humour it almost harks back to the Robert Holmes glory days of the show. It’s a great blend. Personally I loved this release and hope that there will be more Eighth Doctor/ Mary releases soon, though a glance through the release schedules up to mid 2014 suggest I will be disappointed for some time to come. It was a cracking trilogy, a real triumph for the Big Finish team. 5 stars.
This follows on from The Silver Turk (Doctor Who) and The Witch from the Well (Doctor Who) but all three stories in this trilogy do pretty much stand on their own, so casual listeners could get into this easily without having heard the other two.
This one runs for four episodes of twenty five minutes in length each [approx] and is spread over two cds.
The story sees the Doctor and Mary arrive on the planet Draxine, where two city states of human colonists live in harmony.
Because when they get there, they find that one city has been destroyed. And the president of the other one assassinated by a lady who is now a wanted fugitive. The former vice president has been thrust into a role he never expected to get.
But worse lies in store. Because the dead of the destroyed city have come back to life. Their skeletons are on the march.
And they may not be the only undead on the planet....
As with the first two stories in this trilogy, Paul Mcgann gets some great dialogue which he delivers with aplomb. And Julie Cox makes Mary a hugely appealing character, full of initiative and determination and a strong sense of right and wrong.
The guest characters in this one are nicely written and portrayed, which lives it well above average. An early scene featuring a tough veteran soldier and a scared young recruit encountering the dead is a good example of this.Read more ›
The soundscape is nuanced, and modern sounding, but doesn’t particularly pull you in. The Robot voices lack sophistication sounding silly and unconvincing. The guitar element of the music would sound more at home in a Western, and seems to chop and change between that and something more pan pipe based. The Modulation applied to Harmon’s voice makes him sound like Arcturus from ‘The Curse of Peladon’, and the Bone Lord sounds like Borussa from ‘The Five Doctors’.
Julie Cox who, plays Mary Shelly, is a fine actress and was superb in the two preceding adventures but the character just seems to get shunted into the back ground most of the time. Mary has also started to develop a crush on the Doctor which doesn’t seem to add anything to the narrative other than Mary putting the Doctor on a pedestal and ultimately feeling disappointed and leaving. Watch out for the scene after the credits of the final episode. The Bone Lord is a rather pantomime villain that makes the Master look profound. McGann gives a lively performance which is nice as sometimes he just sounds too laid back. Shame the story couldn’t match his enthusiasm.
There are a lot of elements that don’t quite gel for me.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There's a lot to like about this. Paul McGann is wonderfully playful and fun as the Eighth Doctor and the Doctor is at his most charming. While these features are always present, the headier nature of previous stories have led to them being muted. It's a delight to hear. I loved when the doctor renamed the clunkily named robots. He's joined by some of the most solid guest actors I've heard on a Big Finish play with Harewood, Carolyn Pickles, and Eva Pope all turning in top notch performances. The script does a great job developing its characters. The concept is impressive and creepy. I liked the idea of how the modern idea of a cloud server is the inspiration for a technology in the story. There's also a nice plot twist in part three that turns everything on its head.
On the downside, there are a few minor things that bothered me on how some of the guest characters were dispatched. But the biggest problem in this serial was actually the biggest asset in the previous serial. In Witch in the Woods, Mary Shelley was the type of companion that could handle herself when thrown nearly 200 years into her own future. And she showed similar strength as a character in The Silver Turk. In this story, however, she's conflicted over her feelings for the Doctor and has clearly fallen for him and that drives her character. To be fair, there were subtle hints of this in the prior two stories but she'd taken a big leap forward in her feelings that strains credulity. While Army of Death implies a certain number of adventures have occurred between stories, the intensity of her feeling for the Doctor feels very sudden. I blame Big Finish's trilogy format. It seems like they wanted to bring the Doctor-Mary relationship to a head, and leave with an end that could be considered a close to the relationship while still leaving it open for new adventures to occur if the public demanded. Unfortunately, this business need hurt the story.
To be clear, Julie Cox's acting is still solid, it's just the writing that's problematic. I also liked when she questioned why the Doctor was more deeply affected by the horrors they were witnessing. Overall, the weakness in the Mary story is overcome by the strong plot and this is a very good outing for the Eighth Doctor.