In Review: Big Finish: The Diary of River Song Series 08

It’s River and robots!
River

Synopsis: It’s River and robots! Professor River Song is an expert in many things, but her tech skills are tested in these encounters with robotic friends and foes.

Over the course of four episodes, River will battle Mechonoids on an ice world, meet K9 in a ‘forever home’, and help a treasured android friend discover her destiny in the stars…

Review: I didn’t think it was possible. However, The Diary of River Song Series 08 gave listeners new spins on very established tropes.

Story

“Slight Glimpses of Tomorrow” by James Goss is the first part of a marvelous double-header. The tale concludes with “A Brave New World” by Tracy Ann Baines.

Goss and Baines offer their own takes on the Scope of History trope. More than that, they give listeners the freshest variation on the old chestnut in a while.

Throughout the story, River taught Rachel the responsibilities of time travel. Consequently, Rachel was the central figure in a poignant coming of age narrative. Along the way, there were lovely nods to several Doctors for necessary comic relief.

“A Forever Home” by Alfie Shaw was by far my favorite tale in this set. First, there’s K9. I utterly adored K9. Furthermore, I utterly adored where K9 was in his time stream when River encountered him. Thank you, Big Finish, for the extremely welcome shout out.

Second, there were other great shout outs that I absolutely can’t mention without spoiling the plot. Suffice to say that the story relied heavily on River’s assumptions. Additionally, it relied on listeners assumptions and the Doctor Who tropes that sustained them.

“Queen of the Mechonoids” by Jonathan Morris makes great use of Doctor Who creatures that didn’t get much air play. The story started on a lighter note. However, it quickly turned serious.

I really appreciated hearing Anya Kingdom in her natural habitat. Moreover, Mark Seven was a wonderful foil for a number of characters.

Acting

Alex Kingston continued to chew all the scenery with all the condiments. For his part, John Leeson took full advantage of particularly layered material.

The guest actors were uniformly brilliant. However, I have to single out Salome Haertel as Rachel. She had to do a lot of heavy lifting in an unapologetic narrative.

Overall

The Diary of River Song Series 08 was the usual high caliber fare. I really appreciated the ongoing effort to arrange River’s adventures by theme. I can’t wait to hear what Big Finish comes up with for series nine.

 

You can purchase The Diary of River Song Series 08 here

 

Check out more of our Big Finish reviews here. 

9.5
Big Finish: The Diary of River Song Series 08
  • Story
    8.5
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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