Back catalogue time again as I start on the Key 2 Time series from Big Finish. First up from January 2009 is The Judgement of Isskar by Simon Guerrier, directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery.
Some background information for me as much as anything. The original Key to Time was a story arc that linked six serials featuring the Fourth Doctor on television in the late 1970s. The Key itself is an artefact that stabilises the Universe but can also destroy it. The hunt for the pieces of this powerful cube involved the Doctor going up against representatives of order and chaos known, respectively, as the White and Black Guardians.
Big Finish returns to that story in this Key 2 Time series, and that numeral 2 is deliberate. The Fifth Doctor is on Mars with a new companion, a young woman called Amy who also seems to be a form of tracking device for pieces of the Key. Their hunt across time and space brings them into contact, and conflict, with the creatures who will go on to become the Ice Warriors of Mars.
Now I love the Ice Warriors and their creepy, whispering voices. This was the first Big Finish story I have listened to that features them so I was quite excited by the prospect. And that's the problem, I should stop getting my hopes up too high for some of these adventures because this just seemed like a confused mess to me. I couldn't understand why the Doctor was so quick to abandon looking for Peri at the start of the story and happily head off with Amy on the hunt for the missing pieces which his earlier self had deliberately scattered across time and space. On top of this the goodies and baddies kept changing, I didn't warm to the character of Amy at all, and all the female actors sounded the same to me. The only plus points were Nicholas Briggs' marvellous Ice Warrior voices, and the cheerful enthusiasm of Peter Davison during the CD extras interviews.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about jumping on points for Big Finish, well this is not one of them. Hopefully the rest of the series will get me back on track and explain what is going on, but at the moment the Key 2 time leaves me puzzled and as cold as an Ice Warrior's breath.
2 out of 5 Cosmic cubes I'm afraid.