Doctor Who: 5 Reasons to Love Audio Adventures More Than the Television Stories
For Christmas my wife decided to fuel my recently acquired and somewhat crippling addiction to the Big Finish Audio Doctor Who stories and set me up with the first two seasons of the Eighth Doctor Adventures. 16 wonderful, non-stop radio plays starring Paul McGann as The Doctor and Sheridan Smith as his companion Lucie Miller.
As we begin the long journey to autumn when Peter Capaldi will fully assume his place as Doctor and begin a new series of stories with Clara Oswald in the Tardis I plan to spend them communing with as many of the audio plays as I can fit onto my aging iPhone and laptop. In a weird way, I've come to almost love them more than the actual series.
I mean, they'll never take the place of the show proper, of course, but there are a few distinct pluses they have over watching Doctor Who on television. Such as...
5. My Imagination Has No Budget: The things that Doctor Who manages to pull off on television on its budget are simply spellbinding. "The Name of the Doctor" rivals the Star Wars prequels in FX magic, at least in short bursts. Even older New Who episodes like "The End of the World" are visually stunning in a way that usually only Hollywood can pull off.
Even with that going for it, though, a ripe imagination is always going to outdo even the most amazing of cinematic wizards. When Lucie finds herself working for giant war robots being run as a everyday office building in "Human Resources" (Think Pacific Rim on the outside, Dilbert on the inside), that's an amazing mental image. It's a complete juxtaposition of the straightlaced corporate culture with giant freakin' battle mechs, and in my head it's just amazing.
Could the show pull it off? Probably, yes, at the expense of the funding of other episodes, but when you're employing a listener's fancy as set designer you can do things like that every week.
4. The Character Interactions Are Easier and More Dynamic: Again, I'm not knocking the wonders that the various TV Doctors work with their companions and villains. There's nothing like Nine and Captain Jack flirting, or Eleven and River Song doing the same for that matter. Still, it's a television show shot on a television schedule, and that means that everyone is working at a feverish pace in order to get from one place to another in time to adhere to everyone's hellacious schedules.
With the audio plays you can literally feel the easy and relaxed nature of the recordings, especially in the extra interviews after each one. With just their voices to rely on, the cast puts every ounce of their talents into playing off each other, and it's an investment that pays back tenfold in solid character development.
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