Of Course, A Planet Named Serenity Isn’t Going Live Up To The Name When The Doctor Visits

“The Guardians of Prophecy” is a Doctor Who audio play released by Big Finish Productions is one of the Lost Stories episodes produced in 2012.  Jonathan Morris adapted the original script from Johnny Byrne and did so quite nicely.  Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are the leads in this pretty entertaining tale which is meant to be a sequel to the television serial “The Keeper of Traken”, which starred Tom Baker.

The planet Serenity is the last world of the Traken Union that survived the destructive force unleashed by the renegade Time Lord known as the Master.  The Doctor and Peri are forced onto the planet where they encounter tomb raiders and the evil beings known as the Melkur.  The Melkur are dormant on a planet such as Serenity and can awaken when another evil force gives the green light.  In this case, an ancient and sleeping being known as Malador will be the catalyst.  Stephen Thorn provides the menacing vocal performance when the malevolent Malador arises and does so quite compentently.  Thorn actually has a well-established history with providing his talents to megalomaniacal powerhouse villains in Doctor Who.  He performed in such classic television serials such as the “The Three Doctors” and “The Daemons”.  Thorn has a distinctive voice which serves this story quite nicely as well.

I am not the most enthusiastic of fans when it comes to revisiting old stories or villains which appeared only once before in the series, however this one was done was quite effectively.  At the risk of being repetitive, Colin Baker’s performance as the Sixth Doctor remains as energetic and compelling as ever in this one.  Even when revisiting somewhat what would have been the more acerbic television version of this particular incarnation, Big Finish does a much better of making him much more likeable.  Even Peri is a companion who I have come to miss when Big Finish goes a while without having her paired with the Doctor.

Graham Cole had a pretty amusing role as renowned safecracker Ebbka. Really, the guest cast all handled their various parts quite well.  I can’t think of anyone who I thought was a bit of a weak link when it came to the performers.

I had some minor trouble with Malador in that there was a certain lack of originality in his presence.  He just seemed like type of villain I have heard a little too often at times.  Of course, I sometimes find the idea of characters like this vocalizing their appreciation for Evil a little strange.  Most people who carry out dastardly deeds seem to excuse it somehow or make themselves the victims in their own head.  Even the people most recognized as evil don’t seem to actually see themselves as some epitome of Evil.  Doctor Who is pretty strange overall, so I guess I should be more forgiving, however that mentality of Malador just sort of stuck out to me, and I think a little better effort could have helped him stand out more.

In spite of that, there was still quite a lot of enjoyment I found in this episode.  It still seems to have other complexities and layers in the writing and character development that makes it easy to appreciate.

I will also mention that the scene where Malador psychically tortures another character to death was performed a little too well.  That was quite chilling, and it takes quite a bit to rattle me.

This episode had a couple of blemishes, in my opinion, but nothing that really dampened by enjoyment to any significant degree.

 

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