Doctor Who Review: Sword of Orion (2001)

Why is the Doctor Who Review a day early? Well, we have a second GCC video for this week coming tomorrow! What important revelation will that video contain? Find out tomorrow at the GCC blog!

Orion17
(Image links to Big Finish website)

Basics:
Doctor: Eighth (Paul McGann)
Companion: Charley Pollard (India Fisher)
Written by: Nicholas Briggs
Released: February 2001
Release Number: 17

Need to Know:
The first Big Finish adventure to feature the Cybermen, Sword of Orion is also a remake of an earlier Audio Visuals story. Briggs and some of the other Big Finish talent got their start creating the Audio Visuals series of fan-made audio dramas. Briggs himself played the Doctor in those stories and Sword of Orion is essentially a remake of the earlier Audio Visual version. In this story, Briggs voices the Cybermen, which he would go on to do in the new TV series.

On to the review!

Review:
Sword of Orion is the second adventure for the Eighth Doctor and Charley and does a great job of introducing Charley to a future world and forcing her to hit the ground running. As a remake, it does have that 90s cyberpunk-space opera feeling to it. Technology is decaying, cyborgs run rampant, and there’s a larger world that gets established in the story. There’s also a great Alien-style feeling of blue-collar workers, in this case soldiers, facing a threat they are unprepared for.

Paul McGann and India Fisher are immediately well-settled in their roles and charge headlong into this adventure. They work well together, and separately, as the story moves along. The world they are in is a fully-developed future where humans and androids are at war and both sides awaken a dangerous threat in the hopes of using it. The only downside is that some of the “human-level” drama of the story tends to drag on at times.

The Cybermen are a terrific threat and Sword of Orion’s model of incomplete, decrepit Cybermen attacking from their derelict ship has some of the same flavor of Real Time, with a creeping, distant horror feel added in. Nicholas Briggs and Alistair Lock also do a good job of bringing menace to what could be monotone voices.

Should I Buy It?
If you enjoyed Storm Warning, Sword of Orion is a great next step for the Eight/Charley adventures.

I give it four Cybermats out of five.

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