Matthew Kresal was born and raised in North Alabama though he never developed a Southern accent. His essays have been featured in numerous books and his first novel Our Man on the Hill was published by Sea Lion Press in 2021.
'Doctor Who': "Audacity" Review
If there’s a Doctor that’s benefited from the myriad of spin-off media that’s grown up around Doctor Who, it’s Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor. Comics, novels, and especially the Big Finish audio dramas have given the one time self-described “George Lazenby of Doctor Who” a chance to be far more than a once and done incarnation. Something that has seen McGann grow and find new facets to his performances over the last two decades. Which makes it fitting that the eighth Doctor has returned to his Big Finish roots a bit for his latest set of adventures, Audacity.
Survivors: A 70s Apocalypse
A virus emerges in Asia and, thanks to modern air travel, makes its way across the globe in a matter of weeks. Hospitals are overwhelmed, and governments struggle to react. Then people start dying, and those left unaffected or recovering begin dealing with the aftermath.
'Doctor Who': "The Secrets of Det-Sen" Review
In the 1967 Doctor Who serial "The Abominable Snowmen" (soon to be the latest wiped serial to be animated), the plot of that story and Patrick Troughton's Doctor encountering the robotic Yeti around a Tibetan monastery was set in motion by a previous visit. Except, as was already becoming the case for the series less than five years into its run, we never actually saw it happen. It's perhaps surprising that in the plethora of spin-off novels and audio dramas that have arisen in the last three decades, that visit has never received much attention. Or, at least, until August 2021 when Big Finish presented it in their audio drama The Secrets of Det-Sen.
'Red Son' Takes Flight
If one were to create a list of the best Superman stories ever written, chances are one would find 2003's Red Son upon it. Written by Mark Millar and published as part of DC Comics' Elseworlds line, it told the tale of a Man of Steel who landed not in Kansas but the Soviet Union of the Cold War era. It's no surprise then that, after the success of the animated adaptation of Gotham By Gaslight, that Red Son would receive such a treatment. Now out on streaming and physical media, how does this Red Son hold up as both an adaptation and as the latest entry in the long-running DC Universe Animated Original Movies series?
'Doctor Who': "It Takes You Away" Review
Warning: Potential spoilers for the episode ahead. Since its on-screen regeneration in 2005, Doctor Who in the 21st-century has had many things that separate it from its 20th-century incarnation. One of the biggest, introduced by Russell T Davies nearly 15 years ago, was wrapping the series' science fiction plots inside more substantial emotional stories. Even with him vacating the showrunner chair in 2010, it's something that the series hasn't quite shaken off, much to its credit at times. One such recent example came with the penultimate episode of Series 11.
'Doctor Who': "The Witchfinders" Review
Warning: Potential spoilers for the episode ahead. The word "quintessential" is a fun one. Behind is the idea of something that is most representative of something. If, as a Doctor Who fan, I looked at Series 11 and was to pick the episode from it that represented the series, there's a strong possibility that I would pluck for its eighth episode, "The Witchfinders."
'Doctor Who': "Kerblam!" Review
Heading into the back half of Series 11, Doctor Who's new cast and crew seemed to be finding their feet rather nicely. The cast gelling together more with every passing episode, while the writers seemed to be getting more confident in writing for a new, more crowded, Team TARDIS. The seventh episode, Pete McTighe's "Kerblam!" offers up a prime example of the new format, telling a story very much in keeping with the series.
'Doctor Who': "Demons of the Punjab" Review
Warning: Potential spoilers for the episode ahead. Six episodes into its run, Series 11 of Doctor Who saw it taking its second dip into history. The first, "Rosa", had aired three weeks previously, becoming the first home run episode of this latest era of the more than half-century-old program. How would this trip to the past fare, particularly in light of the less than well-received sci-fi adventure that aired the previous week?
'The Lives of Captain Jack: Volume 2' Review
For fans of 21st-century Doctor Who, few characters have left an impact the way Captain Jack Harkness has. Played by the incomparable John Barrowman and introduced in 2005's "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances," he's gone on to be a sizable presence through numerous appearances, a spin-off series in the form of Torchwood, and even a mention in the 50th-anniversary special. He's also found a home on audio, with Barrowman reprising the role for Big Finish Productions since their Torchwood range kicked off in 2015. Even so, there are parts of this immortal wanderer's life left unaccounted for still, opening up new storytelling avenues. The Lives of Captain Jack offers up just such opportunities, and the second set, released in June 2019, also gives Jack a chance to do something he'd never get to do on-screen: interact with one of the Doctors from classic Who.
'Doctor Who': "The Tsuranga Conundrum" Review
Warning: Potential spoilers for the episode below. In the age of social media, kneejerk reactions have become the norm. TV, particularly those programs with a sizable following, is no exception, and the eleventh series of the BBC's Doctor Who is a case in point. If fans of the long-running show thought the era under showrunner Steven Moffat had been divisive, the first batch of episodes under new showrunner Chris Chibnall and new Doctor Jodie Whittaker proved to be even more so. Partly as a result of that, I found myself stepping away from the show's 21st-century incarnation for a bit, hoping to gain some perspective for when I did finally sit down to watch the remainder of it (you can read my reviews of "The Woman Who Fell To Earth,""The Ghost Monument," "Rosa," and "Arachnids in the UK" elsewhere on Vocal). In watching the fifth episode, "The Tsuranga Conundrum," I found myself particularly grateful for that distance.
'Doctor Who Unbound: A Storm Of Angels' Review
Back in 2003, when the idea of Doctor Who coming back on television seemed unlikely, Big Finish engaged in a rather interesting experiment. They created a series of audio dramas "unbound" from the constraints of the show's regular continuity, asking "what if?" a fair number of scenarios had taken place. The first of which, penned by Marc Platt and titled Auld Mortality, explored what might have happened if the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan had never left Gallifrey. Then, in early 2005 just as New Who was getting ready to air, Big Finish returned to that Doctor and Susan with a sequel, one that took the tropes of the First Doctor era, and turned them on their head.