The Black Archive #39: The Silurians by Robert Smith? (Obverse Books, 2020) A wide-ranging, clearly written analysis that recasts The Silurians’ apparent failings as strengths and offers, by considering aspects of the serial from a rational, scientific standpoint and giving them a societal context, something of a reappraisal of the Third Doctor more broadly.
Doctor Who: The Macros by Ingrid Pitt & Tony Rudlin (Big Finish, 2010) A well-acted production of a script that offers few surprises. The Doctor becomes embroiled in but unable to change history (the Philadelphia Experiment), the basis of his inability to interfere is glossed over, and a thoroughly one-dimensional tyrant revels in her machinations.
The Sarah Jane Adventures, Series 1 (CBBH, 2007) A cleverly conceived Doctor Who spinoff, aimed at a younger audience but with sufficiently well-executed SF (both serious and Slitheen-level over-the-top) to keep adults interested. While Elisabeth Sladen is top-billed, her teen co-stars prove equally capable. The half-hour two-parters format works nicely.
Dr. Second by Adam Hargreaves (Puffin, 2017) Hargreaves’ mash-up of Doctor Who and Mr. Men remains more of a conceptual than an actual triumph, but on this occasion the characterisation—of Jamie, Victoria and the Doctor—is quite good, as are the illustrations and (to an extent) the storyline.
The Black Archive #38: The Sound of Drums / Last of the Time Lords by James Mortimer (Obverse Books, 2019) Refreshingly, Mortimer doesn’t attempt to relate Series Three’s two-part finale to any particular body of theory, preferring to assess its dark themes as presented within the context of Russell T Davies’ helmsmanship. A short, accessible read, albeit occasionally gawky in…
Dr. Twelfth by Adam Hargreaves (Penguin, 2017) One of Hargreaves’ better efforts. The Doctor succeeds in foiling Missy’s convoluted and nefarious plan—without understanding it or allowing her to explicate! His insouciance is a nice touch but, even so, the story fails to live up to the cover’s allure.
The Diary of River Song: A Requiem for the Doctor by Jacqueline Rayner (Big Finish, 2018) A somewhat predictable story overlaid onto its historical setting (rather than using it to any intrinsic purpose). Alex Kingston and Peter Davison work well together but cannot mitigate the feeling of treading water. The Doctor’s new companion is presented without any explication.
The Black Archive #37: Kerblam! by Naomi Jacobs & Thomas L. Rodebaugh (Obverse Books, 2019) Jacobs and Rodebaugh bring academic rigour and methodology to Kerblam!, reading the story at a far greater depth than its author can have intended. Their analysis—focussing on AI development and socio-political systems—supports the contention that Kerblam! suffers from plot-driven superficiality.
Doctor Who: The Bride of Peladon by Barnaby Edwards (Big Finish, 2008) Edwards has successfully paired Peter Davison’s Doctor (in all its earnestness) with Pertwee-era Peladon and many of the elements associated with that original brace of stories. The production features intrigue and misdirection (without overdoing it), decent voice acting and a surprise villain.
The Black Archive #36: Listen by Dewi Small (Obverse Books, 2019) A brief but lucid analysis invoking Freudian psychology and assessing Clara’s role in moulding the Doctor’s character (particularly by way of bootstrap paradox). Small belabours some points but steers clear of narrow-mindedness, instead contextualising the story’s workings within Doctor Who’s long history.