Seasons of Fear (#30)

Big Finish Main Range

This has to be the weakest of the eighth Doctor adventures in this group, though some would say that Embrace the Darkness is the weakest. As far as spreading a storyline across time periods goes, this story does an excellent job of that. And framing it with the Doctor speaking to someone, a someone we don’t know until Neverland. And what’s really going on? The mystery angle works really well. Is Sebastian Grayle really that evil and bad? (spoiler alert) Why does he come to gloat and are the Nimond all THAT powerful? Why didn’t they take over now instead of waiting around awhile?

Paul Cornell also wrote Shadow of the Scourge and Circular Time, both very fun and exciting stories. He always co-writes his stories, too. And manages to do a good job of creating a fun storyline. This story also reminds me a bit of the Ghosts of N-Space, as they go to an old castle and try to prevent a guy from getting immortality. Though there is some fun dialog:

Charley: “Are you ever going to explain this plutonium stuff to me?”

Doctor: “Not much to explain. Tremendously rich source of energy, kills humans if you get near it unprotected, and frequently used in weaponry. Next.”

“Hey! Bats! Great!”

Why does his shirt keep getting a bunch of tiny holes/nicks in it? That is never explained to my satisfaction. Odd stuff that isn’t ever explained. Unless I can’t remember the solution and it came duringNeverlandor something like that. And I never really felt like Grayle would kill the Doctor, despite his pronouncement at the beginning. I just never felt the threat as real. Many have threatened the Doctor, few have succeeded against him. I definitely could understand and feel the threat more in Embrace the Darkness—make the dark a spooky, scary, painful place and I’m there!

Things flow okay in this story but the ending is just kind of there. Not that every ending has to be super-majestic or anything. Perhaps it’s just the fault of trying to tie this in to the big story arc that started with Charley being rescued and is somewhat resolved, at least in this universe, in Neverland. Then how to explain thatEmbrace the Darknessdoesn’t even touch on that arc? Odd. I definitely like the whole grouping of the 8th Doctor’s stories and releasing them in a series, in a row. Builds tension nicely! I’m not so fond of how they space everything out now so I don’t even remember what Charley, C’Rizz, and the Doctor did in their last adventure, honestly.

And the latest covers? Maybe they’re saving $$ on them but man, they sure lack the fun and imagination of the covers before! I didn’t love all of the other covers but the newest ones, from Renaissance of the Daleks onward are just blah. Check out Nocturne and Circular Time for the last of the good ones. The bar down the left side thing is what takes away from the whole cover concept for me. I rather enjoy some of the extras and I do like that they standardized just how the CD box opens (from the middle! The right side opening ones always busted for me.). But I’m just not liking the new look to the cover. Putting only the titles for that Doctor inside the CD cover is a good idea as well. For the Who geeks like me, it reminds me of some of the previous stories with that Doctor. Listing them all would just be a bit much now anyway. So I like the changes going on inside the CD case but the outside is kinda blech.

Paul McGann and India Fisher

writers: Paul Cornell and Caroline Symcox

director: G-Russell

Release: March 2002

Laura Vilensky 2019