Review: Doctor Who The Fourth Doctor Adventures – The Oseidon Adventure

oseidonadventurethecover_cover_largeBlurb: The first time the fearsome Kraals attempted to take over the Earth, with the help of their android agents, things didn’t go quite according to plan – thanks to the time-traveling alien Doctor and his allies at UNIT.

This time, Marshal Grinmal and his belligerent cohorts are ready for them. This time, they’ll make no mistakes. This time, Chief Scientist Tyngworg has not just one plan, but a back-up plan, and a back-up back-up plan worked out…

With the Doctor a prisoner on the Kraals’ radiation-blasted home planet of Oseidon, only his companion Leela can save the day – alongside a most unlikely ally.

Review: The Oseidon Adventure picks up where the previous story, Trail of the White Worm ended. Thankfully, Big Finish decided that if they were to sell these separately that the stories would have to be mostly disconnected. No one has to listen to the prior story to get into this one. The only thing that you need to know going into it is that the Master is on Earth and has just opened a wormhole to an unnamed other world, that the Doctor and Leela know that he’s there, and he has a human servant named Spindleton. You’d pick up all these details by listening to the story as well, but many who start listening initially think that they missed something because of how it opens, but they didn’t.

No one at any point ever was really excited by the return of the Kraals. They’ve always come off as second-rate Sontarans. Yet they’re cleverly used in this story. The Master is also at his devious best. The layers of planning that he’s put into effect this time is staggering and the story keeps you guessing as to his true purposes. The alliance with the Kraals makes complete sense once you understand what is going on. It’s also nice that the Doctor and Master finally get their big confrontation, something that Trail of the White Worm denied us. Having Beevers and Baker play off of each other is marvelous with Beevers reveling in every evil line and Tom not taking a word of it seriously. Parts of the story seem a little on the absurd side but in a way that just makes it more fun and impresses you with how deeply the Master has thought through his plan. The story stays pacey enough to keep you from thinking about things too hard and the story feels like it works even when it doesn’t. It’s only in hindsight that you may raise a few questions.

The other characters also come off well in this. Louise Jameson gives another fantastic performance as Leela. She’s at her bloodthirsty best, willing to kill every Kraal on the planet if it’ll help the Doctor. She’s also the one that comes to the Doctor’s rescue, a nice turnaround from most stories and it’s nice to see her taking charge. She even slaps the Master in the face when he’s trying to hypnotize her. Dan Starkey and John Banks deserve an award for their Kraals. The two men obviously did their research and the militaristic aliens seem like they’ve crawled right out of their previous appearance, The Android Invasion. The only one who fails to impress is Michael Cochrane reprising his role as Col Spindleton. It isn’t Cochrane’s fault. He delivers the lines that he’s given as well as can be expected. The problem is that Barnes here changes Spindleton from a big game hunter to the most absurd caricature of a right wing extremist that ever existed. He’s supposed to be funny but his character is so over the top as to be beyond belief. It just makes one want to move on and get over any scenes with him.

The sound design is excellent. The team at Big Finish should be commended for recreating the sound effects from the Android Invasion so exactly. It was also nice that the Master pulled a Gallifreyan staser and the authentic sound brings a smile to the face. The other sounds are also well done giving the epic scale that Big Finish really wants these Fourth Doctor Adventures to convey. The music similarly has the grand, orchestral flair that’s been present in these stories. It all combines to create a nice ending for the first season of Fourth Doctor Adventures and to give Tom a proper sendoff.

Recommendation: The Oseidon Adventure is a fun story with some returning villains that no one ever thought that they’d see again and the Doctor’s greatest foe finally getting to confront his nemesis. In the end the story has a lot of nice twists and turns and it feels like a fun romp so similar to the Doctor Who stories created in the late 70’s. This one should be fun for both new and old fans. I recommend it.



Audio Drama

Big Finish Productions

Directed by Ken Bentley

Produced by David Richardson

Written by Alan Barnes

Runtime Approx 60 min.

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