THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
"THE BRIDE OF
JUDGEMENT OF ISSKAR."
BIG FINISH CD#102
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER
The Doctor and Peri
take a holiday on the
Social, but soon
discover they aren't
the only time-
travelling aliens in
of the Viyrans
Throughout 2007, Big Finish have made a point of really pushing these stand-alone episodes. Now I am capable of appreciating a short story every bit as much as the next man but, for some reason that eludes me presently, I had really set my face against the idea of stand-alone episodes forming a regular part of Big Finish’s monthly release schedule. My fears were allayed somewhat by Paul Cornell and Mike Maddox’s exceptional Circular Time collection, but my reaction to subsequent stand-alone episodes has been much more mixed.
Both Urgent Calls and Urban Myths I did enjoy, particularly the former. However I found that my enjoyment of both was hampered by my own ignorance - save for the fact both episodes featured two completely different viruses, I could not see any link between them. Indeed, I had begun to think that the whole Virus Stand angle was one to be taken with a pinch of salt much like Virgin’s Cat’s Cradle series of novels, for example, or various other notoriously loose story arcs that I could mention. Suffice it to say, my mind is clearer now.
Nicholas Briggs’ encroachment onto Big Finish’s one-hundred and second monthly release highlights the ties that bind at least the two episodes mentioned above (nope, I still cannot see how The Vanity Box fits in with Virus Strand. Suggestions on a postcard, please). Mission of the Viyrans introduces us to the eponymous Viyrans, who I understand are set to become a recurring foe for all the Big Finish Doctors over the next year or so.
Two things struck me about them in this story, the first being their distinctive appearance. I realise that it seems ludicrous to compliment an audio drama on having monsters that are visually striking, but whoever is responsible for the illustration in the CD booklet really helped me to get to grips with these new and remarkable aliens. As you can see from the illustration (above), the Viyrans have long
masks that appear to stretch all the way down to their waistlines. The ‘V’ shape of these masks gives the illusion that they have really long faces and grotesque, permanently open mouths. Very striking indeed. The second thing that grabbed my attention was their apparently serene nature; from their actions in this episode, the word ‘foe’ does not seem to do them justice. A-moral, yes. Ruthless, yes. Dangerous, hell yeah! Bad? Time will tell I guess. Briggs has gone on record and said that he did not want to create a new monster
that would just butcher people and rant and rave about the Doctor, and in the Viyrans it seems that he has successfully created a cold and silent threat to the whole cosmos.
On a final note, Nicola Bryant should be recognised for providing us with another top-notch performance. This episode is, for all intents and purposes, a one-woman show in which Bryant is given the opportunity to play a multitude of roles and shine in each and every one
On balance, I have to concede that the stand-alone episodes which have been littered throughout this year’s releases have been something of a breath of fresh air. Not only have they been enjoyable little stories in themselves, but they have also quickened the pace of each month’s main story by reducing their running time by an episode. More than that, if you bought ID, for example, and did not reckon much to the main three-parter, you would have the delightful Urgent Calls to fall back on. I admit it - I was wrong. Long live the one-parter!
And long live the Viyrans.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2007
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988
to be identified as the author of this work.
Despite being released alongside The Mind’s Eye, this episode clearly takes place after The Bride of Peladon, which bridges the gap between the two, telling of Erimem’s fate.
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