The Sword of Orion (#17)

Big Finish Main Range

The best of the first four of the McGann series, when he is first introduced as the Doctor. Deal with the history of the future (Orion Wars) and keep everything in context, while creating an interesting story with my personal favorite bad guys, the Cybermen. From the new series on BBC, we know that the Cybermen can get their butts handed to them by the Daleks and they’re really not 8 feet tall but just maybe 7 feet tall. J Lethal to humans—easy. Lethal to Daleks? Not so much.

This story takes us half-way in before we even know who the bad guys are, which is always great for building suspense. We get to see a bazaar in the Garazone system in the future and the Doctor leaves his new companion alone to fend for herself, seeing how she would handle herself in this new situation. Testing Charley, I think, to determine if she’s someone he can rely on in a strange situation to think clearly. The android captain, the rogue Cyberman, deaths, Cybermat roaming on the ship, it all adds up to a nicely suspenseful and interesting tale.

I do wonder why the doctor doesn’t use his scanners to find the android at the end but perhaps there’s no difference between the two on a scanner? I don’t think so but I just don’t know. That would be the only real flaw in things that I saw. We don’t see any signs of the rip in the universe that Charley created by surviving the R101 crash yet but it’s interesting to be able to keep an eye out for them when I go back and listen, knowing how the story does progress.

A very good adventure overall but it’s just not one I would listen to again and again. Though if Spare Parts didn’t exist, I just might’ve found this to be the best Cyberman adventure. ButSpare Partsjust rules!

Paul McGann and India Fisher

Writer/Director: Nicholas Briggs

Release: February 2001

Laura Vilensky 2019