Paul McGann is back as the Eighth Doctor and with companion Bliss (Rakhee Thakrar) has plenty of Daleks to fight as he does his best to avoid as much of the Time War as he can. The writers have their own ideas… welcome to The Time War Series 2!
Time War Series 2 – the stories
First is The Lords of Terror by Jonathan Morris. Bliss returns home to find her world changed by the Time War. It’s a good opener and focusses on how slight the differences are between the Time Lords and the Daleks.
Methods and actions are similar, and the story does a good job of painting a universe in which the Doctor is becoming ever more despondent of the virtue of his own people. It avoids a happy ending, and gives Rakhee Thakrar a good platform to develop her performance as Bliss.
Next the first of a pair of Guy Adams tales, Planet of the Ogrons. This story is destined to be forever known as the one with Doctor Ogron (Jon Culshaw) an Ogron with more than a little of the Doctor about him. If that wasn’t intriguing enough, the story introduces Julia McKenzie as The Twelve, the latest incarnation of the Doctor’s foe The Eleven (as played by Mark Bonnar in the Doom Coalition and Ravenous series). It’s a great idea even if it does pull the rug from under the still being released Ravenous series in as much as we know The Eleven survives. The Twelve says she has her past selves under control and has been sent as an ally, but can the Doctor believe her?
All that and it’s a great story, Jon Culshaw’s Doctor Ogron is a wonderful creation and the whole sizzles with energy and Julia McKenzie is sublime as The Twelve. Director Ken Bentley should also take a bow.
Guy’s second story is In the Garden of Death and our three protagonists (the Doctor, Bliss and The Twelve) are in an escape-proof prison without their memories. While both ideas have been used before, the loss of memory does allow the characters’ raw personalities to shine through.
The Twelve’s instincts lead her to head the escape from prison, but it needs the Doctor to complete the task. It’s a clever story, well conceived and a delight.
Timothy X Atack gets to close down this particular set with Jonah a claustrophobic tale set deep in the ocean of yet another Time War ravaged world. With the Doctor in charge of a submarine and Cardinal Ollistra in charge some of the flavour of this story is already set (and Captains and Jonah can only go in one direction) but it’s also about The Twelve and her most unreliable memories.
Bliss takes a more secondary role in this story than the rest of the set, and there’s yet another race to a super-weapon between Time Lords and Daleks. The Doctor himself is almost secondary as well for a lot of the story as various other Time Lords are driving the action with their own agendas. Gripping stuff.
It’s a great listen from start to finish and more interesting than four discs of super weapons and time vortex battles. A whole year to wait for the next set of stories is a cruel and unusual punishment when they are this entertaining.