circular_time: (Default)
[personal profile] circular_time
Trying to figure out how to word this tactfully, because I love audio Doctor Who so much. It's just one thing they could do better.

Allo, folks who are keeping us sane with escapism during depressing times. This is TrakenTourist.
Many of my BF reviews lately have included a minor nitpick: not enough time with the Doctor and/or regular companions working together as a team or exploring their friendship and frictions. Instead, they're separated before the end of Part One, often during the opening scene, and they don't reunite until the climax or even afterwards.

I understand the reason for this pattern. The limitations of audio (not to mention recording booths) make it difficult to have a scene with more than 3-4 people. You can't do nonverbal scenes of exploration and discovery; the only way to get into the world is to have the regulars interact with guest characters. If the Doctor and companion(s) are in a scene together, that leaves only 1 or 2 slots for guest characters. So, the easiest way to cover more story is have them split up for the A plot and B plot.
Also, of course, classic Who didn't spend time plumbing the depths of the regular characters in the way that new Who does. Which, many classic Who fans might assert, is a good thing: more time for plot and adventure, less time for wallowing in soap opera. 
And yet: a lot of the draw of Big Finish is a chance for us to reconnect with TARDIS teams we love(d). Unlike new Who, Classic Who didn't usually explore their friendships, backstories, conflicts, misunderstandings, and the evolution of their relationships. Big Finish gives us a chance to rectify that.
At times, Big Finish has done this beautifully: who can forget Evelyn and Six, for example, especially that memorable scene with Evelyn crying on one side of a door and the Doctor standing helplessly outside? Eight and Charley, Seven and Ace have had their moments as well. True, it's harder to find time for such moments with larger TARDIS teams. But the best older!Nyssa/Turlough/Tegan/Five and First Doctor stories prove it is possible to devote time both to plot and adventure (classic Who) and relationships between the regulars (new Who) while maintaining a classic Who ambiance.
Lately, there's been much less of that, at least in the Main Ranges I've listened to. Even the Constance stories have suffered from the "separate in part 1, reunite in part 4" problem, which is a pity, because I want to hear how she works with Six! I think that's part of the attraction of Short Trips and Companion Chronicles: they're voiced by a companion and usually spotlight the Doctor, so those stories tend to put the Doctor and companion front and center. 
Big Finish writers put a great deal of work into overcoming the limitations of audio, as far as finding unobtrusive ways to have actors tell the listeners what's happening. I put it to you that your writers should also consider ways to keep the Doctor and companions interacting with one another more often, despite the need for them to interact with guest characters. 
The good news is that unlike new Who, you have 4 juicy episodes to do it in. That might help solve another problem: how to write four half-hour episodes without resorting to lots of running up and down corridors for filler. Or, if you must, liven those scenes up with memorable Doctor/companion or companion/companion interactions, just as City of Death did despite the fact that an awful lot of it was Four and Romana running from point A to point B. 
This is a minor nitpick I offer in the spirit of a fan who loves Big Finish and will be haunting you as long as you all are still cranking out classic Who. (And I'm still reeling from Dalek Soul, which was a brilliant way to shine a spotight on the Doctor/companion dynamic by turning it inside out.) 

Date: 2017-06-05 11:34 am (UTC)
romanajo123: (Default)
From: [personal profile] romanajo123
Interesting commentary. I hadn't given it a lot of thought. But it is noticeable. Maybe it's to allow the companions more of a chance to Do Something on their own? I know in something like Aquitaine it's because Nyssa is AWOL (infected with that plant's poison). But then you have something like The Contingency Club where the first TARDIS scene is Adric and Tegan arguing about a tape player...

I haven't heard all of her stories yet, but I am kind of enjoying Constance (especially Quicksilver).

One other thing I've noticed recently: little to no story arcs in the Main Range. Since about 2014/2015 (I think? Around the end of Hex's and older!Nyssa's arcs), there really haven't been any notable story arcs beyond the trilogies with a particular team (e.g. Six and older!Peri, 5/6/7 with previous companions, this current set of two hour-long, similar titled stories, etc)
Edited Date: 2017-06-05 12:01 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-06-05 06:57 pm (UTC)
romanajo123: (Default)
From: [personal profile] romanajo123
Hmmmm...does Ace's TV tenure count as an arc?

And you could be right about the new listeners. Older!Nyssa's story lasted for about five years without many standalone stories.

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