The Land of the Dead (#4)

Big Finish Main Range

A classic of the early adventures. Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton just mesh well together from the start! Perhaps it’s due to Nyssa’s expertise as a scientist but she always works well with the Doctor as a companion. In this particular adventure, Nyssa gets her own adventures away from the Doctor and, unlike most of his female companions, doesn’t do much screaming about “where’s the Doctor?” or “are you alright Doctor?” that drives me batty. Like he can’t take care of himself at all. Drives me crazy, it does. Peri is sometimes reduced to doing this by the writers, in such adventures as Red Dawn, The Reaping, and even the classic The Church and the Crown (one of my favorites).

Nyssa frequently gets to do her own thing and advance the plot as only a cooperative companion can do. In this adventure, she drives off with Tulung to examine and date the fossils. She gets wrapped up in Tulung’s hallucinations but her kind nature gets her in a bit of trouble as she tries to make the best of a strange situation. She’s always a good balance of the rational and the spiritual, making her an excellent companion to Peter Davison’s Doctor, a rationalist through and through.

It’s almost too bad that Monica couldn’t’ve been added to the Doctor’s companion list. She’s the first of the non-companion roles that is introduced and I really liked, of the women characters. She is sarcastic and funny, an excellent foil for the Doctor. I could see her getting along well with Colin Baker’s Doctor as well.

The performances are great and this is a standout audio amongst the first five. Set in Alaska, this allows for a small cast and the sense of isolation to keep the story going. They’re trapped by the permean creatures in rooms full of natural elements, so the solution also makes sense. Stephen Cole created a very believable scenario here, with lots of good action and characters, plus the pretty well developed bad guy (as opposed to the token bad guy) to do all of the kooky stuff to get them all further into danger. Go Doctor!

Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton

Writer: Stephen Cole

Director: G-Russell

Release: January 2000

Laura Vilensky 2019