The Legacy of Time.

Audio The Legacy of Time is Big Finish's giant 20th anniversary Whogasm, an epic six-part story set across time and space bringing together characters from the classic series, revival and the audio company's own creations.  As with previous similar efforts it shows the company at its most ambitiously self referential, entirely accepting of the ludicrousness of the endeavour and for the most part providing just the sort of continuity references the television series is and should be reticent to deliver.  Reader, I squeed in a way I haven't squeed since 2013.  Eighth appears in two of the installments and is adjacent to another.  Full synopses of the other installments at Big Finish's sales page.  Time and again you'll ask yourself, "They recorded that?"  Yes, yes they did and it's brilliant, so brilliant that I'm going to break format a little bit and crack open a few more paragraphs.

Lies in Ruins

Each of the episodes opens with the title music for its particular era and after the first meeting of River Song and Bernice Summerfield when the Time War theme plays in we can tell already that the Eighth who appears here will be from close to the end of his life.  Sure enough, this is Eighth at his most fractured, the conflict having triggered an existential crisis that causes him to even forget his two friends.  He's essentially become the "future" version we heard in the Mary Shelley portion of A Company of Friends.  As River explains to Benny, this incarnation of the Doctor has lived a very, very long time (although given the number of missing stories and interpolations which have been added to the lives of the other incarnations over the years, that's probably true of all them).

The focus of the story stays with the archaeologists for the most part and their reaction to his new companion Ria (James Goss poignantly borrowing an idea Paul Abbott had for the slot in the 2005 tv series ultimately filled by Boomtown) (#spoilers) and their reaction to just how much their friend has changed.  Make no mistake, this is the outlier Eighth Doctor, the one who crops up now and then, in places like The Ancestor Cell, Scherzo and Dark Eyes when he's experienced a crisis so large and of a kind which his predecessors rarely have and he's simply broken.  Much like his successors, he feels everything.  If the Fifth Doctor had reacted like this about the death of Adric, Tegan and Turlough would have been stuck on the Eye of Orion watching him meditate forever.

So whilst on the one hand this pitches itself as the long awaited meeting of River and Bernice (even though it isn't really for spoiler reasons) it's also an explanation for how the Eighth Doctor became almost the version who turns up in his regeneration story having realised that it's about time he became involved.  In placement terms, I'm not sure if this means were supposed to assume this happens before or after the Big Finish boxed sets (and James Goss says that it's deliberately left unspecified), but I'm going to be bold and say its afterwards, that we're supposed to assume this is as close as odds to Night of the Doctor as we're likely to get.  That said, with the status quo as it is at the end, there's definitely some wiggle room for some more adventures.

The Avenues of Possibility

It's not really a spoiler to say that The Legacy of Time does not give us the long awaited reunion of Charley and Eighth, each discovering that the other is either alive or not in fact in a grump with him.  Instead we have this squeesome addition to the Edwardian adventuress's time with Sixy, a period which wouldn't otherwise merit a mention here, except for a stunning moment, and this is a spoiler, when she has to tell Eighth's predecessor all about their adventures together.  A continuity festival (of death) heavy on their first two seasons together, writer Jonathan (The Tomorrow Windows) Morris offering a pretty deep dive which had me punching the air.

It's hard to credit that some of these stories were recorded in just a couple of weeks nearly twenty years ago and that Charley originally began travelling with Sixth back in 2008, such is the longevity of the Big Finish enclave of the franchise.  India Fisher is utterly brilliant here as Charley recalls some of the good and bad times, finally able to tell this other incarnation all the things she's been wanting to, the story fitting perfectly in that "era".  But good lord, with Lucie Miller back in boxed sets, any chance of some new Eighth and Charley stories too?  Or at least something to resolve that cliffhanger?  Please?

Collision Course

As with all similar multi-Doctor stories, the Eighth Doctor turns up at the end to lend a hand.  Despite the man depicted on the cover and in his own episode, this doesn't feel like the Time War version, assuming you can tell as much from the few lines of dialogue he has here.  If anything, at least one joke suggests he's from a much earlier period but I really don't know.  So I'll still put it with the Time War stories anyway. if only because it looks neater.  To be honest he's rather overshadowed by other cameos, but I think to reveal how here would be unfair.  I'll just end by wishing Big Finish a happy birthday and to thank them for all the fan service they've supplied to us across the years.

The Sugababes pull into a garage.

Music Some quick news while I wait for the Muller Hearings. The original Sugababes lineup are reforming to celebrate their 20th anniversary:
"In a statement to Metro, DJ Spoony confirmed Sugababes had recorded the track for Garage Classical, which is out on September 6. He said: "At the time when UK Garage was in its prime the original Sugababes were one of the biggest pop bands in the country. I know Keisha and Mutya personally and I know how much they’ve always loved garage because they were always at events like Twice as Nice back in the day."
So that's nice.

Decorative Purposes (Short Trips: The Ghosts of Christmas).

Books Happy Christmas! Such are the vagaries of catching up on all of these Big Finish short stories, that those printed in these annual yuletide anthologies will crop at unseasonable moments. Although given that plenty of the festive episode of the television series have been recorded in the Summer, it's not that unseasonable.  Eddie Robson's tale shares some of the features of a drama designed to slot between two episodes of Eastenders (as was the case in 2007), a magical forest, a giant spaceship in danger and an alien planet covered in snow.  It's also incredibly charming, with chocolate money literally growing on trees and Lucie commanding a regiment of ingenious fairies against the antagonists.  She's joined by a ship's orderly Sabine, who narrates the story of them working together to solves the various mysteries they encounter.  Eddie wrote some of the best of the Eighth & Lucie audios so as you might expect, he captures their relationship perfectly in just a few sentences, passing the six laugh test easily across its few pages.  Placement: Between the first and second seasons, which seems to be the place to put any of these stories were the Doctor and Lucie are just out there having adventures before their friendship fractures.

Fantastic Four casting suggestions.

Film The last few days at the San Diego Comic-Con have been as they say quite a lot (if sertraline hadn't blocked up my tear ducts I would have sobbed through the Picard trailer) but perhaps of most excitement is the announcement that the Fantastic Four will be joining the MCU. My hope is for a straight start, Stark Tower having been sold to Reed Richards and redesignated Freedom Plaza and the gang receiving their powers in a cosmic storm during a space rocket flight or some such.

But it is going to be an absolute bugger to cast.  Apart from the MCU having already absorbed a lot of actors already, the previous versions of the films have already got some of the casting right already, albeit in shonky productions.  With that in mind, here are my guesses as to who will play the Fab Four.

Reed Richards -- Anson Mount

Sue Storm -- Blake Lively

Johnny Storm -- Joe Keery

Ben Grimm -- Zach Galifianakis

Since this blog isn't in the link dump at the bottom of a news article, I shall not be justifying these selections at length. Other than that a few of them may be busy and/or not famous enough.  Also that it's unlike that the MCU would cast actors who look like their comics origins now, perhaps even gender flipping one of the characters.  It's clobberin' time, anyway.