DW: The Moons of Vulpana Review

DW Moons of Vulpana

Last month’s Monsters of Gokroth was an average affair, but did at least give us a new combination of Doctor and companion thanks to the reintroduction of Mags… sadly, Moons of Vulpana is, well, not very good. A not very interesting setting full of incredibly dull characters that you don’t even remotely care for, this is not worth going out of your way to track down… Let’s have a closer look anyway!

Synopsis:

The Doctor has returned Mags, formerly of the Psychic Circus, to her native world: Vulpana.

Not the savage Vulpana that Mags was taken from, but Vulpana in an earlier era. The Golden Millennium – when the Four Great Wolf Packs, each devoted to one of the planet’s four moons, oversaw the height of Vulpanan civilisation. A time when the noblest families of the Vulpanan aristocracy found themselves in need of new blood…

A golden age that’s about to come to a violent end!

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) – The Doctor has found a way to calm Mags down and therefore control her transformations, but he knows there has to be a better way to help her, and it may lie on her home planet…

Mags (Jessica Martin) – Mags is convinced she’ll never be able to control her urges and wishes to be left behind on a life-less world, but The Doctor has other plans…

Jaks (Irfan Shamji) – Jaks is the runt of the House of the Second Moon, and wishes to ignore the traditions of his own people, seeing them as barbaric and uncivilized, and look towards a future full of technology…

Doctor Barton (Beth Goddard) – Doctor Barton wishes to be a full-blooded Vulpanan, able to transform into a beast, but sadly she hasn’t got the ability, and its all she can do to help the injured upper-class.

Lady Ulla (Nimmy March) – Lady Ulla is the head of the House of the Second Moon and wishes to see one her sons married to the newly arrived pure-bred Mags…

Issak and Tob (Peter Bankole and Sean Knopp) – The two alphas of the House of the Second Moon, both looking for the right woman, and looking forward to the traditional hunts and chances to transform into their true selves.

Plus More!

The Good:

DW Moons of Vulpana cover

Another great cover, that’s at least another bonus!

A planet of werewolves split into four Houses, each worshipping and gaining power for a different one of the planet’s four moons is a good idea for a setting, sadly, given its wasted. I will say that Mags does at least show a lot of personality, having fun showing her old circus tricks to the House of the Second Moon’s snobby family, and then having fun starting a revolution… until it goes a bit bad, anyway. Certainly made me like the character more than the last story did, anyway…

The Bad:

In general though, this isn’t very exciting to listen too, especially for two hours. All of the House of the Second Moon characters are really dull, or in the case of “fighting against the barbaric system because he fears future alien invasion” Jaks, interesting but sadly very poorly acted, bordering on cartoon villainy at one moment, trying to sound reserved and posh the next. Doctor Barton is a muddle as well, being all pro-werewolf, then strongly against, and generally not very interesting in between…

I think the worst offender here is some of the dialogue. I’m not familiar with Emma Reeves, beyond “Time in a Bottle” in the Fourth River Song set, which looking back I harshly criticised for being generic and badly written, so… Hmmm… Either way I’m sorry to say even The Doctor says and acts in ways that just don’t sound true to the character, not to mention she uses the “companion thinks she’s been left behind, but it turns out not to the be case” three times, I believe, in one story…

Jaks at some point created an artificial moon to dephase the other four and create anarchy so his society could embrace technology and therefore stand up to the inevitable alien invasion, so he’s not wrong given the Doctor Who universe is so full of hostile alien races (and given what Mags herself says) but he is just so bad that it feels like a waste of good character motivation. It’s a real shame, so much wasted potential in places…

So yeah, I’m afraid I’m going to have to give a thumbs down to this one, unless you like dull upperclass snobs pretending to growl and howl like werewolves while other characters talk nonsense or badly worded phrases. I hate ragging on Big Finish like this, it’s so niche it needs all the positive attention it can get, but I also can’t just lie about something I didn’t enjoy…

The Continuity:

Apart from following on from “The Monsters of Gokroth”, it doesn’t connect to any other story.

Overall Thoughts:

The Moons of Vulpana is just not very good. Poorly written dialogue and badly realised characters, it’s just not very fun to listen to for two hours. After an average score, I have to go down one… let’s hope I don’t have to do the same for the final story in this trilogy!

2 Star Listen

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