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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

REVIEW - Doctor Who: The Waters of Amsterdam



Doctor Who: The Waters of Amsterdam (Big Finish Audio)
Reviewed By Jesse Kiefer

Written By: Jonathan Morris

Director: Jamie Anderson

Sound Design: Martin Montague

Music: Jamie Robertson

Cover Art: Anthony Lamb

Number of Discs: 2

Duration: 120' approx.

Available on BigFinish.com

Listen to the trailer.


“Some people believe water can retain molecular memories... And you've hear of a stream of consciousness.”

New year new reviews! How better to start the year than with “Fifth Doctor meets Rembrandt?!” That’s not its official name clearly but as far as I’m concerned that’s the important matter. The Fifth Doctor in an art gallery leading a tour of the work of Rembrandt van Rijn? YEP! I’m sold press play!

According to the Big Finish Solicit:

“Reunited with the Doctor and Nyssa, Tegan joins them on a trip to Amsterdam's Rijkmuseum to see a new exhibition of the work of Rembrandt van Rijn, featuring his drawings of “Vessels of the Stars”. The Doctor is astonished to discover that they are designs for spaceships that would actually work, and decides to pop back to the Dutch Golden Age for a quiet word with Rembrandt – but the world-weary artist is no mood to help.

Meanwhile, strange forces are swirling in the canals, creatures from ancient myth, the watery, goblin-like Nix. What is their connection to the mysterious Countess Mach-Teldak – and to the events of Tegan’s life during her year away from the Doctor?”

When it was time to renew my Big Finish Subscription I was uncertain if I’d subscribe to the Main Range again or to subscribe to the 4th Doctor Range for a change of pace but looking ahead I’m glad I waited as there are some really cool stories coming in the 2016 Main range offerings. I could have waited and started my subscription after the 5th Doctor opening trilogy… but the art geek in me won out. Some of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who are when he meets with famous artists (whether they make and on screen appearance like in Vincent and the Doctor or they are merely mentioned like in City of Death) so add Rembrandt to this story and I knew I was sold on it.

This story opens with Tegan rejoining the TARDIS crew after her little absence from it this story does an interesting little bridge filling in the gap and backstory of what she was up to during that little break. It’s a little odd but we get a glimpse into some of Tegan’s love life… and turns out she’s as impossible to please in love as she is in everything else. I imagine this would NOT be one of Randy Silvey’s favorite stories as Tegan takes center stage in this one and is so VERY Tegan the whole time.

While yes I find that tough to handle I LOVE how Janet Fielding just owns this character and always has by now these actors really know their characters inside and out.

A Few of my Favorite Things From This Month’s Release: 
  • Tegan, you may gotten the hint I laid down above… Normally not an enormous Tegan fan but man oh man she’s so totally Tegan in this story that it actually makes me laugh out loud, which I can’t always say about Tegan.
  • The love interest. Ryan was interesting, of course Tegan couldn’t just fall for any ole bloke… she had to fall for SPOILERS… an android… cuz of course she does.
  • The 5th Doctor as Art Museum Tour Guide, that was wonderful! I need more of that in my life.
  • Rembrandt was delightfully egotistical, fun characterisation of him.
  • Like City of Death artwork has a huge impact on the future like Vincent and the Doctor the Doctor sees something he shouldn’t in the work of a famous artist. It’s the best of both episodes in this audio story.

This was quite fun, more fun than I honestly expected considering Tegan was the primary focus, there were some parts that drug for me but other than a few pacing issues from time to time I really enjoyed this story. The Musical theme was fun, the use of TARDIS sound effects brought the era sharply into focus the characters were well done, it was timey wimey. I’d give this one a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not the perfect story but it’s a lot of fun.

I always thought it would be fun if  Rene Magritte or Salvador Dali traveled with the Doctor and the things they saw actually informed the subjects of their paintings... what Artist would you like to see in the TARDIS? Have a favorite Doctor Who story featuring art?  Let me know what you think in the comments below or by shooting us a message to letters(at)grawlixpodcast.com.

4 Stars



Doctor Who: The Waters of Amsterdam (Big Finish Audio Play)
Reviewed by Jesse Kiefer on Jan 13, 2016
Rating: 4Review of 'Doctor Who: The Waters of Amsterdam' from Big Finish Productions.

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