Big Finish: Doctor Who - Time Lord Victorious ECHOES OF EXTINCTION Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Big Finish: Doctor Who - Time Lord Victorious ECHOES OF EXTINCTION Review

Two Doctors. One Foe. The final Big Finish contribution to Time Lord Victorious. Matthew Kresal discovers if Echoes of Extinction was worth the wait.
With the release of Mutually Assured Destruction and Genetics of the Daleks, it appeared that Big Finish's contribution to Time Lord Victorious, the multi-platform Doctor Who epic, was all but over. Except for one belated piece, at any rate. Planned as a physical vinyl release and a download, it found its release postponed by nearly half a year, much to the frustration of fans and collectors eager to hear it. Now, with great patience, Echoes of Extinction, the final Big Finish contribution to Time Lord Victorious, is available, and with it comes an intriguing story featuring two Doctors.

Though this release isn't perhaps the multi-Doctor story listeners might be expecting. Told as two episodes running roughly 28 minutes apiece to fit the limitations of the vinyl format, each Doctor gets an outing to themselves. Which, while that might be disappointing to some, instead offers up an intriguing storytelling opportunity. Because in a move reminiscent of the monthly range release Flip-Flop, the events of each episode influences events in its accompaniment. And, as those following Time Lord Victorious will be aware, the two installments are also taking place for the Doctor's respective incarnations at different points in the saga. All based around one particular foe and an alien world. Writer/producer Alfie Shaw proved he could do an unorthodox take on the multi-Doctor format in last summer's Short Trips release Regeneration: Impossible, something he does again here, creating a compelling listen.

It goes without saying that the Doctor's have a field day here. Paul McGann brought a liveliness more in keeping with his early performances for Big Finish to the earlier trilogy, and that's something that carries over here. That is a certain lightness of touch that he can turn to seriousness on a dime when the script calls for it, which suits his segment of the story well. David Tennant, meanwhile, making his sole contribution to Time Lord Victorious, delivers a performance in keeping with both Waters of Mars and the better moments of End of Time. Like with McGann, Tennant brings a certain levity and energy along, but for the Tenth Doctor, it's cover for the darkness lurking underneath, which fits where the story takes place for him. In a way, Echoes of Extinction presents each of them a chance to show off their incarnations on audio, rewarding both the long-time listener and newcomer alike.

It's also a production that showcases two other things Big Finish does well: casting and post-production work. Listeners might be surprised to pick out the voices of Torchwood's Burn Gorman and one-time Eleventh Doctor companion Arthur Darvill playing quite different roles here, yet it's something that gives each other the chance to show range outside of their previous characters. Indeed, the cast is full of Big Finish veterans, including Kathryn Drysdale, Mina Anwar, and Stephen Critchlow, sometimes in the aural equivalent of "blink and you'll miss them" roles. On the production side of things, Peter Doggart's sound design offers up two very different soundscapes for each Doctor's adventure to take place within. Meanwhile, Ioan Morris returns as the composer, fulfilling the same role he had in the earlier Eighth Doctor trilogy, bringing a sense of continuity and atmosphere from that run. Brought together under director Scott Handcock, they provide ample backing for both the Doctors and the story as a whole.

So, was Echoes of Extinction worth the wait?

With its intriguing take on the multi-Doctor format, strong performances, and showcasing of Big Finish's storytelling abilities, for this reviewer the answer is a definite yes! Whether you're lucky enough to hear it on vinyl or simply on download, Echoes of Extinction is a worthy Big Finish capstone to the Time Lord Victorious saga.

Doctor Who - Time Lord Victorious: Echoes of Extinction is available to purchase from the Big Finish website.

Matthew lives in North Alabama where he's a nerd, doesn't have a southern accent and isn't a Republican. He's a host of both the Big Finish centric Stories From The Vortex podcast and the 20mb Doctor Who Podcast. You can read more of his writing at his blog and at The Terrible Zodin fanzine, amongst other places.

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