It's been a long time between new episodes for Doctor Who fans, and longer to go, with Series 10 not slated to air until August 2017. Lucky for them, Doctor Who has a large Expanded Universe, with spin-off series, novels, and comics available to enjoy. Of these expanded universe offerings, the range of audio dramas produced by Big Finish is by far the most extensive. Nearly every Doctor is represented, and the line has branched out into various spin-offs of its own, featuring characters from both classic Who and the revival.
While uninitiated fans are often skeptical that the audio adventures can capture the feel of the show, the very best ones can draw you in just as easily as any #TV episode. Let's take a look at some of the best #DoctorWho audio stories to tide you over until new episodes arrive.
1. Lost Stories: 'The Nightmare Fair'
Popular among Big Finish fans, The Lost Stories range features audio dramas adapted from novels, or unused scripts for the classic series.
"The Nightmare Fair" features Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor hoping to treat companion Peri to a day at the fair, but the day out soon turns sour when The Doctor is forced to face off against an old enemy, The Celestial Toy Maker.
A sequel to the lost First Doctor story, "The Celestial Toy Maker," any fans of that story are sure to enjoy this second battle of wits between The Doctor and the titular villain. Those who like new series episodes such as "Amy's Choice" or "Nightmare In Silver" will find themselves easily drawn into "The Nightmare Fair."
2. 'An Earthly Child'
Companion: Susan Campbell, Alex Campbell, Lucie Miller
While Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor has the least televised appearances of any numbered Doctor, he features extensively in audio, building a rich history that would not have been possible otherwise.
An Earthly Child ties The Eighth Doctor more deeply into the series history with a tale dealing with the aftermath of the classic story The Dalek Invasion Of Earth. Answering a call for help from his granddaughter, Susan, The Doctor and Lucie arrive to find Earth struggling, its technological development sliding back two centuries since the #Dalek Invasion. Worst of all, his great grandson, Alex, has become caught up in a sinister anti-alien group.
This story is a great jumping-off point for new listeners, beginning an arc that continues through the stories "Lucie Miller" and "To The Death," with a tragic ending that sets The Eighth Doctor on a new, dark path.
3. 'Classic Doctors, New Monsters'
Companion: Various one-shot characters.
Recently, Big Finish has begun to experiment with mixing New Doctor Who and classic, and the Classic Doctors, New Monsters series is one of the results. The use of the new series monsters makes these stories a good choice for newer listeners.
Some of the stories are stronger than others. The Fifth Doctor tale "Fallen Angels" is decent and worth the listen, though the threat posed by the Weeping Angels is much harder to portray without being able to see them. "Trial Of The Judoon," in which The Sixth Doctor befriends Captain Kybo, a suddenly enlightened Judoon who has developed a taste for poetry, is the humorous highlight of the set.
A second volume, including a battle between the Fourth Doctor and the Vashta Nerada, is due for release sometime in 2017.
4. 'Dalek Empire'
Doctor: Stories featuring the Seventh and Eighth Doctors launched the range, but otherwise Dalek Empire is mostly Doctor-less.
Dalek Empire is an epic multi-part story following a group of regular humans through an ongoing war against the Daleks. While the story is interesting, the absence of The Doctor might make it slightly harder to get into for some fans. If you can connect with series leads Suze, Alby, and Kalendorf, however, you're in for a wild ride.
5. 'Jago & Litefoot & Strax'
Jago & Litefoot & Strax is another successful attempt by Big Finish to combine old and #NuWho. After an attack leaves him dazed, Sontaran butler Strax moves in with amateur detectives Henry Jago and Professor Litefoot, mistaking them for his true housemates, Madame Vastra and her wife, Jenny. Before long, the new trio find themselves on the path of a brain-stealing creature.
The premise is just as crazy as it sounds, but easily enjoyable. This tale includes all the fun fans expect from the Jago & Litefoot combo, with the added humor that Strax's presence inevitably brings.
6. 'UNIT: Silenced'
Doctor: None, though multiple past Doctors have been referenced.
Following in the footsteps of an older audio series featuring classic-era UNIT characters, UNIT: The New Series follows fan favorites Kate Stewart and Osgood through their own adventures. The most recent story from this range, UNIT Silenced, pits the team against the menacing Silence, an iconic enemy from the #MattSmith era.
Unlike the earlier mentioned "Weeping Angels" story, the terror wrought by the Silence does not suffer for being unable to see them. If anything, it heightens the tension within the story, as the villains could be present at any time and our heroes would not remember.
7. 'The Tenth Doctor Adventures'
Companion: Donna Noble
Reuniting one of the most popular duos of the new series, The Tenth Doctor Adventures brings fans a collection of unseen adventures from The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble. "Death and The Queen," in which Donna briefly becomes alien royalty, is a highlight of the set.
Due to this set's success, it can be assumed that Big Finish may try to court other, new-series Doctors for audio offerings in the future.
8. 'The Diary Of River Song'
Doctor: Various Doctors appear throughout the stories, but River is the lead.
Big Finish's first attempt at diving into the world of NuWho, The Diary Of River Song presents listeners with the often asked for unseen adventures of The Doctor's wife, River Song. The series provides all the action, humor and fun that fans have come to expect from Alex Kingston's portrayal of River. The simple titles of the stories, particularly "I Went To A Marvelous Party," add to the humor, as fans will know that it cannot possibly be that straight forward.
A second volume, including a tale in which River must somehow wrangle the Sixth and Seventh Doctors at once, has recently been released.
9. 'Doom Coalition'
Companions: Liv Chenka, Helen Sinclair, River Song
Doom Coalition follows on from the popular Dark Eyes stories, and while both are great, Doom Coalition is a better choice for #TV fans due to its stronger link to the new series. Beginning with the Doctor tracking down a mentally unstable renegade Time Lord called The Eleven, Doom Coalition soon spirals into another desperate attempt to prevent the end of the universe. Meanwhile, River Song tries to assist her future husband as best she can without damaging his timeline.
The final volume of Doom Coalition will be released in March 2017.
10. 'The Light At The End'
Doctor: All Classics, Eighth.
An epic adventure produced for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, The Light At The End manages to incorporate the first eight incarnations of The Doctor. Forced together when the barriers of time begin to break apart, the Eight Doctors must battle for their continued existence. All suspect that their longtime nemesis The Master is responsible for the chaos, but it may be too late to stop him.
As a 50th anniversary production, The Light At The End is a story all #whovians should hear, whether they enjoy the classic series or not.
For more Doctor Who awesomeness, check out the trailer for the spin-off show, Class: