Night of the Stormcrow

Big Finish, Special Releases IX

This is honestly the first Nick Briggs story that fits the phrase “Hot mess.” You know when you only hear half of a telephone conversation going on? And you’re a bit mystified as to what’s actually going on, though you fit pieces together based on context, and sometimes you just can’t figure it out at all. THAT is what this story sounded like. Things made sense, mostly, plot-wise but how the Doctor was acting (and not just while being “possessed”) as well as all of the secondary characters. They were cardboard cutouts of “crazy professor” and “greedy assistant,” for example. I have come to expect a lot more of Big Finish.

The story takes place at a research telescope somewhere in the UK, I think. There is the merest hint of a shadow crossing the view from Earth to a distant star once every certain number of hours and the scientist are trying to figure out what it is by “calling” it to them. It makes no sense to me that they would, as rational/reasonable scientists, assume that it’s an entity they could call, let alone make the attempt. The TARDIS gets pulled off course by the stormcrow and its reaction, landing at an observatory where there are lots of shadow scavengers stealing time in large chunks and trying to suck people dry. Why? Are the scavengers stealing power or time? It hardly matters as they are just there to keep the character who can reveal all out of the way until almost the end of the story.

It really feels like this story was chopped up in editing so brutally to fit the shorter time of the 4th Doctor stories that it cut out the transition points and the places where the characters make us want to care about them. I wanted them all to die by the end as they were all just patently annoying! But all BF stories can’t be classics or there would be no way to tell that there are awesome stories!

Tom Baker and Louise Jameson

Writer/Director: Nicholas Briggs

Release: December 2012

Laura Vilensky 2019