Doctor Who: Storm Warning

On a recent trip to Chicago, when I unfortunately found myself stuck in rush-hour traffic that would add more than an additional hour to my journey, I did what anyone in my situation would do.

I pressed “play” on a Doctor Who audiobook.

I had heard good things about the Eighth Doctor adventures from Big Finish. And so I started with “Storm Warning,” the first of those.

I liked very much the character of the Doctor as depicted by Paul McGann. Even though he had far less opportunity to practice the role of the Doctor on screen compared to other actors who played the part, he was persuasive as the Doctor, with hints of his other regenerations but nonetheless distinctive.

Although the story itself was enjoyable, it seemed as though the writer had too many interesting ideas, any of which could have made for a good story, which were brought together into one in a manner that was overwhelming rather than effective. Perhaps the aim was to introduce multiple story arcs which it would be possible to return to. But in this single story, it seemed too densely packed. A ship stranged in the time vortex. Chronosaurs that live in the time vortex, one of which escapes along with the TARDIS. An airship which history says will crash, on which the Doctor finds himself. A mysterious passenger, who turns out to be an alien, with the airship en route to try to reunite the alien with its race. A race known as the Triskeli, which dealt with their warlike tendencies by separating out their three main characteristics into separate entities: engineers, uncreators, and one lawgiver who keeps them in balance – but who is nearing death.

See what I mean?

But although it seemed that there were too many interesting plot elements, they were truly interesting, and so I suppose it could be viewed as an unfair complaint. Better too many than not enough!

The idea of having tripartite aspects of individuals represented by segments of society is reminiscent of Plato’s Republic. That idea provides interesting food for thought. Those interested in religious elements in Doctor Who may find it interesting to compare this approach to dualistic ones which either envisage human beings as good vs. evil pitted against one another, or as two complementary components (such as yin and yang) which need to be in balance. Of course, the notion of one lawgiver is echoed in the figure of Moses in the Bible, and there is also a more explicit Biblical allusion to Jonah. The fact that, on Earth, a spiritualist medium was the first to be able to communicate with the alien, can serve as a jumping off point for discussing of the treatment of science, superstition, and the spiritual on Doctor Who.

Have you listened to Storm Warning? If so, what did you think of it?


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  • Stray

    I don’t believe Storm Warning was initially meant for Paul McGann. Prior to Big Finish, Nick Briggs was part of a fan group who produced their own stories for their own Doctor. I know that Sword of Orion was one of those, and I think Storm Warning was too. And being only the second story McGann ever had (after the movie), he may have still been settling into the role. As time went on, his stories got better as both he and the writers became comfortable with each other.