The TARDIS – with some assistance from a mysterious cat who resets the coordinates – brings the Doctor and his new companion Tamsin to Nevermore, a world of poison mists and robotic ravens with an affinity for the works of Edgar Allan Poe. But the Doctor once knew it as Corinth Minor, and so did the Time Lords, shortly before they took drastic measures to alter the planet’s fate. Now Nevermore is home to a war criminal convicted of genocide, a small group of people tasked with overseeing her imprisonment, and now two time travelers whose arrival coincides with the sudden appearance of a deadly creature. Every event on Nevermore seems to take its cues from the works of Poe, but if the Doctor and Tamsin can’t find and stop whatever is bent on eliminating the planet’s small population, the result will be worse than Poe’s darkest imaginings.
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Niky Wardley (Tamsin Drew), Fenella Woolgar (Morella Wendigo), Michael J. Shannon (Senior Prosecutor Uglosi), Emilia Fox (Berenice), Eric Loren (Pilot), John Banks (Ravens)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: A weird story even by Doctor Who standards, Nevermore almost needs to have Edgar Allan Poe credited as a co-writer, as much of its running time is spent on quoting Poe’s work and constructing an elaborate scenario that hinges on coincidental similarities to that work. It’s not a bad idea on paper, but it has to tread carefully – it’s been done before, and I’m not sure anyone’s eager for a Timelash do-over.
The good news is that the dramatic side of the story is more engaging than Timelash, even if the “stuck with an imprisoned war criminal” story has also been done before (Bad Wolf); one of the most intriguing turns – that the Doctor briefly met Poe himself, shortly before Poe died, and received a cryptic message that could be interpreted as foreknowledge of the events on Corinth Minor – is related entirely in flashback, and becomes a bit of a non-sequitur mystery by the end. Also glossed over is the Time Lords’ involvement in the planet’s fate; it wouldn’t be the first time that a quiet attempt at redirecting the course of history has gone disastrously wrong (remember Ravolox?).
Nevermore is a fun one to listen to, and its cast makes the journey worthwhile, even if the listener is left scratching his or her head at the end a bit.