Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Delight is in the Detail

Having just written a less than glowing piece on The Moonbase, I thought I would balance things out by posting a (just ever so slightly shorter) piece on "The Feast of Axos" the latest (at the time of writing anyway) release from Big Finish.  Don't worry, no major spoilers ahead.

I am something of a continuity nut but I also like a bigger picture.  Continuity between stories is great and, as I pointed out in my Moonbase piece, it's good to hear Ben reference back to the cybermen's radiation weakness. Doctor Who does this very well at times on television, even if the continuity only lasts the duration of one production team.  However, something that it was pretty poor at was the continuity of the bigger picture.  In the 60s there are a handful of "near-ish" future stories such as Enemy of the World.  In that, there's a big change in the way the world is divided up and who is in charge.  Yet in other stories there's no real indication that this is going on.  Similarly, the building of The Moonbase is a huge project that must have been a global undertaking... yet it seems to be one of those things that takes place silently in the background.  An even better example is The War Machines/The Faceless Ones... stories that take place on exactly the same day but don't feel as though they're even on the same planet.  You'd think that there would be a buzz about WOTAN's robots in The Faceless Ones or there would be stories about thousands of missing teenagers in the papers in The War Machines (rather than a front page piece, with photo, of a missing tramp).  So mainstream Doctor Who doesn't often satisfy my "bigger picture" craving.

Big Finish's "The Feast of Axos", on the other hand, really makes an effort to feel as though it takes place in the same world/universe as the original Axos story.  There are mentions of places and people that really tweak the atmosphere of this story (which, by the way, would be good even without these details) and make you think "yeah, this actually feels as though it's a natural progression".  It's not intrusive.  If you don't know the stories that it's referencing then you probably won't even notice that they are being referenced.  Okay, there's no reference of Salamander yet who should surely, by now, be a big world player* but you can't reference everything in one go, so thank you to Big Finish for at least making the effort and making this Who Geek really happy that other people care.

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