Doctor Who: Human Resources Review
With my recent dive into big finish I have been listening to a vast array of Doctors. But my favourite out of the entire catalogue is Paul McGann. Growing up I loved the TV movie but I was devastated that I couldn’t afford any of his audio stories and that he didn’t have any full length TV adventures. But when I started watching classic who I felt like I wanted to finally get involved with something that I missed out on as a child and started with his audio adventures, in which I found that my childhood fantasies of seeing this Doctor at his prime were not impossible as Paul McGann is magnificent in the role of the Doctor. Throughout the first three of his stories he managed to cement himself in my top 3 favourite Doctors almost instantly. But despite loving this Doctor I found great enjoyment out his companion; Charley Pollard who in my opinion is underrated as a companion. She is great at calling out the Doctor when he crosses the line or misunderstands something, but unlike some companions like Peri or Martha, Charley still manages to balance this relationship with the Doctor alongside an excitement for adventure and a desire to learn from her travels. But when it came around to reviewing another Big Finish story I saw that the Big Finish audio Human Resources was on offer and having heard great things I decided to give it a go. However I wasn’t looking forward to hearing the eighth Doctor with another companion as I like him so much with Charley but I was shocked at how much I actually enjoyed Sherdian Smith as Lucie Miller.
Sheridan Smith has always been an excellent actor but when I heard that her companion was based on Donna Noble I had flashbacks to Clara who I always felt was trying to be like Donna. But I was proved completely wrong as she does a great job in this role and despite only hearing her in one story I felt I saw her portray more of a character arc in 90 minutes than nearly any other companion. The character arc was expertly done but when it came to the actual story the reverse happened in which I loved the companion I thought I would dislike and was bored throughout the story I thought I would love. Towards the end I only got enjoyment out of the Doctor and Lucie despite them being separated for the majority.
The first ten minutes seem to be inviting the listener into a sombre atmosphere as it takes place in an office block, when I heard this I thought that it would be a cybermen story that used the work pace as the perfect opportunity to gather people for conversion and it did a great job at replicating a typical British and depressing office building with the slimy men and over confident bosses present throughout making me feel like I was actually there. But when Lucie and her friend, who is such a bland, character that I fail to remember her name, are fired and thrown out into the wastelands they discover that the building is actually a robot as it stands on its legs and walks across the wastelands which is at the mercy of an incredibly generic set up in which the race that once lived here has been at war for so long that have struck a deal with the cybermen in order to enhance their soldiers. The bare bones of the story are boring but the story arc makes an appearance part way through the story. The Time Lords were at the beginning of the story as Lucie mysteriously awoke in this office building and they say that she is destined for greater things to the Doctor in which he has to go and rescue her. But much like something such as Fugitive of the Judoon they essentially cut the story in half and turn it into arc maintenance. But this is a lot better than Fugitive mainly because it doesn’t annoy me and what is so clever is that the elements work in the grand scheme of the story arc but also work on its own terms as a standalone story which can’t be said about a lot of arc heavy episodes.
Overall this story is disappointing because any of the elements or ideas that it sets up it just throws away in exchange for completely changing the stories tone. The best parts are the Time Lords involvement as I feel I have already heard a full story with them despite there being a lot more I haven’t heard, and Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith are giving excellent performances that make me want to listen to more of their adventures right away. I’d give this story a 4/10.
Written by: James Fraser
By the time this particular review goes live I will have reviewed two Big Finish stories back to back. So as a change up my next few reviews are going to be on some Doctor Who novels including: The Talons of Weng Chiang, Prisoner of the Daleks, Human Nature, Touched By An Angel and Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen.