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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Doctor Who: The Warehouse Review



Doctor Who: The Warehouse (Big Finish Audio)
Reviewed By Jesse Kiefer

Written By: Mike Tucker

Director: Barnaby Edwards

Sound Design: Richard Fox & Lauren Yason

Music: Richard Fox & Lauren Yason

Cover Art: Tom Webster

Number of Discs: 2

Duration: 120' approx.

Available on BigFinish.com

Listen to the trailer.


"Miles of shelves and millions of boxes! Ah well, since we're here we might as well have a little look around..."


It is back to school for this cranky ole man of comics this week so I’m a little behind for my usual turn around on releasing my monthly Big Finish Review. This Doctor Who Main Range release came out earlier this week and is the second of 3 adventures which feature the 7th Doctor and classic companion Mel. Remember that since the release of their 200th Main Range release they were shooting for a new stepping on point for new listeners with some fresh one-off stories that you don’t need tons of backstory to enjoy. This month’s release did not disappoint in that department.

The solicit from Big Finish:

“The Doctor and Mel land in what appears to be an orbiting warehouse, a delivery facility with a dangerously erratic computer.

Whilst Mel is helping with repairs, the Doctor begins to realise that not everything in the warehouse is as it seems. Why do no goods ever seem to leave the shelves? Why are the staff so obsessed with the stocktake? And who is the mysterious Supervisor?

On the planet below, the Doctor discovers that the computer might be the least of their problems – and that they should be more concerned with the spacestation's mould and vermin…”

This story suffered a little bit from middle child syndrome for me (I’ve been listening to a lot of very good Big Finish stories lately in anticipation of the Sixth Doctor’s final story)  but it was still a very good story.

Some of my favorite parts:

  • The Companion (Mel): I noted last month that Mel has been much improved with her inclusion in the Big Finish catalog I particularly like that her skills as a companion (computer expertise) played a definitive role in this story.
  • The Continuity: This story flows very nicely, it feels like it belongs in that era of Classic Doctor Who (which is a credit to Mike Tucker and Barnaby Edwards for sure!) it feels very natural and believable as a Seventh Doctor Story. Not only that but we do not need back story in order to enjoy it, it stands alone very nicely.
  • The Doctor: Seven is very much up to his ole tricks in that we can never be sure how much he does or doesn’t know about this situation… did he honestly miss his mark as he pilots the TARDIS into this bizarre Warehouse, or did he purposely leave things to chance, or did he know exactly where he was going?0
  • The Setting: When you say that it’s a Doctor Who story set in a Warehouse it doesn’t immediately strike me as a creepy or interesting setting but once again the Big Finish team makes this Warehouse much bigger than it is and much more interesting.

I mentioned that it suffers from Middle Child syndrome for me and the reason is that I JUST listened to Spaceport Fear which was a Sixth doctor story with Mel so it felt very similar in plot and theme to me… trapped in a futuristic Airport in space or trapped in a bizarre Warehouse? I’ll choose the Spaceport normally so… I feel like this review may suffer from a little bias via comparison in that regard. To be fair they are both very good stories and there are elements from each that I prefer between the two and it’s tricky to pick a clear favorite from the two. So ultimately I recommend them both… just… maybe give yourself some time between the two. I would NOT recommend listening to them nearly back to back the way I inadvertently did.

The music fits quite well, it’s not super memorable but neither does it feel clunky or out of place so it suits the mood and helps the story without taking you out of it.

The use of clones and religion and the idea of “What could go wrong if you left a group of people completely removed from the outside world for an extended period of time?” is always a fun question to answer especially in sci fi and even more especially in Doctor Who. An ominous and mysterious fungus as well as the ever present and creepy “vermin” this story is chock full of threats and adventures and all comes about because the Doctor wanted to “take a look around” instead of getting right back into the TARDIS and off to their original destination. It’s full of classic tropes from the TV series so I think it’s fair that most Big Finish listeners will find this story to be a hoot and quite an excellent addition to the Seven and Mel saga.

The villains or threats, while not overly memorable in the grand scheme of things, did a nice job of setting up a threat and a plot that kept our heros busy throughout.

In Summary: I enjoyed this story, the stories in the Monthly Doctor Who Main Range have been so well put together lately that it’s easy however to have super inflated expectations. Do I really enjoy this episode and story? YES. Is it one that I’d be super eager to revisit again and again? Uncertain. Do I feel about it the way I feel about The Justice of Jalxar, Last of the Cybermen, or The Light at the End? No, but it’s still a very good story and if you are a fan of the Seventh Doctor and Mel I think you will really enjoy it. I’m happy to give this story 4 out of 5 stars.

Do you know what releases On Monday August 17th? DOCTOR WHO - THE SIXTH DOCTOR: THE LAST ADVENTURE. I was very fortunate this past weekend to meet Colin Baker and to sit in on his panel where he seemed quite happy about being given a proper regeneration and final story. He has since gone to twitter with some very high praise for the story and the high quality of the physical boxed set. I am counting down the days for this release so rest assured that I will indeed have an audio review for that as soon as I can form coherent thoughts and sentences after hearing one of my favorite doctors regenerate again for the first time.

I digress! What about this Seventh Doctor story?! Am I wrong? Are Spaceport Fear and The Warehouse totally different? Or do you agree with me? Are there other Doctor Who stories that bear striking similarities that are hurt if you foolishly choose to watch or listen to them back to back? Help a guy out and let me know what they are by listing them in the comments below or by shooting us a message to letters(at)grawlixpodcast.com. 

4 Stars



Doctor Who: The Warehouse (Big Finish Audio Play)
Reviewed by Jesse Kiefer on Aug 15, 2015
Rating: 4Doctor Who: The Warehouse, the second of 3 Big Finish audio play adventures which feature the 7th Doctor and classic companion Mel.

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