MY BIG FINISH JOURNEY PART 8: INFAMY OF THE ZAROSS
It has been seven years since I’ve seen or listened to a new doctor who story with David Tennant and Billie Piper. I remember when they returned for the 50th anniversary I was so excited as they have always been my favourite Tardis team along with Mickey and Captain Jack. Series two will always remain my favourite series of modern who so listening to a new episode set in that era was just fantastic! I haven’t watched any new who for a while now as I’ve been re-watching my classic episodes but listening to the opening title sequence was so nostalgic. Really this whole story was nostalgic, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Unlike the other big finish audios, I’ve listened to which was formatted in four parts, Infamy of the Zaross was one 45-minute episode just like it was in most of new who. This was good as I think if they had formatted it like classic who then it wouldn’t have felt right. This story was actually unexpected as well. You think it is just a typical alien invasion but as it goes on the truth unravels and makes for a very unique episode which hasn’t really been done before.
First off, I have to talk about the characters. David Tennant has always been my favourite doctor. Since the 50th anniversary I have been longing for the day he returns. His entrance in this was so typical of his doctor and the writer, John Dorney wrote him perfectly. David Tennants performance was just as good as any of the performances he made on TV and he really made it feel like he actually wanted to be there and make these new adventures. Unfortunately, there was no allons-y but he did have his other weird dialogue which made him the doctor he was. Then there was Rose. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t like Rose but, in my opinion, I think she is a great companion. In 2005, when the show came back, she was one of the main reasons the show succeeded. She is one of the most down to earth companions ever to be in Doctor Who. Just like David, Billie Piper gave a performance which made it seem like she had never been away from the role. Her and David’s chemistry was just as good as it was 14 years ago which is a very long time. Jackie followed the trend and was also great in it. John Dorney did such a good job at writing these characters especially seen as these characters are very particular so it would be obvious if they were written in any other way.
The plot itself was a very different and unexpected one. At the start I assumed it would be a very typical alien invasion by a bunch of space warthogs in Norwich. At the time I did wonder why it was set in Norwich as it is a bit of a weird setting for an alien invasion but that became clear as the episode went on. I loved the setting and how Jackie calls up Rose to tell her there’s an invasion. After the Doctor and Rose get there they start exploring and find out what was going on. The Zaross were a decent enough villain which had a typical alien mixed with animal design. This time it being a warthog. Clearly the writer took inspiration from the Judoon with this one. As the plot unravels the Doctor finds out that there is no such thing as the Zaross and in fact they are the Forzell dressed up as warthogs with makeup on. The people of Norwich are given guns to fight the Zaross with. Instead of it being an alien invasion it was in fact a TV show where the Forzell are playing the part of the Zaross and fight the human race. This is all set up by the race of the Herazi who weren’t really introduced that well in this story, which is why I think this could have done with being a two-parter.
In the end Rose, Jackie and the Doctor all get split up and end up doing finding their way through the plot. Rose finds a way to stop the Zaross/Forzell being commanded to kill people and the Doctor tell the Zaross/Forzell that the Herazi have betrayed them and in fact whilst they have been doing three series of there TV show killing different people on different planets, actually there have been around eight series with a different race of actors before that the Zaross/Forzell killed at the start. I thought this was a very clever way to end the story and while I felt as if it was slightly rushed it still wasn’t a cop-out ending just could have done with more time to flesh out the two races of aliens. But the thing I liked most about the plot was the Forzells motives. The Doctor described them as a peaceful race who wouldn’t harm anyone. In reality the Forzell were fed up of being perceived as only this and wanted to be famous and gain loads of wealth. This is so similar in real life with so many people not feeling special and wanting to be famous for something. It was good to see that by the end of the story the Forzell had turned good and fought to destroy the Herazi.
The sound and editing was also good in this episode. The Zaross had a good voice to them and sound effects of the spaceships and shooting were as good as it could have been. The music was probably the best I have heard in big finish thus far however it still does not compare to Murray Golds music. I would love to see him come back and write some music for big finish at some point as I think that would complete the nostalgic journey for me. A few last things I enjoyed in Infamy Of The Zaross was the nice torchwood reference which was present throughout series two as well as at the very end of the episode the Doctor and Rose had some nice dialogue that broke the fourth wall. Rose asked the Doctor if he would be tempted by fame in a TV show and the Doctor replied by saying that he didn’t think it would work, and who would want to watch a TV show about him……
My conclusion is that Infamy Of The Zaross was a fun episode with a clever twist. If you started watching back in the David Tennant era or you are just a fan of that era, then it will be a nostalgic journey back in time. It genuinely felt so weird at the start listening to this story with the same theme tune and the brilliant acting form the cast. It has made me want to go back a re-watch all of series two. I recommend this to anyone who wants to see more of David Tennant in Doctor who.
I rate this an 8/10.
Written by: JACOB MOORE
Hi, I write articles about my doctor who big finish journey. The next two stories I will review will be the other two tenth doctor volume two audios. Please leave a comment on what you want me to review after that!