The “new” (actually, from 2004) series of Eighth Doctor audios following the status-quo shaking events of Zagreus continues here with The Creed of the Kromon. Charley Pollard is on-hand again, of course, but this time the pair is joined by a new companion named C’rizz. I’ve seen C’rizz’s name before but I’ve never heard it spoken (or so I thought–apparently, he’s mentioned in Night of the Doctor) so I always assumed it was pronounced just as “Kriz”, but apparently it’s better described as “Keh-riz”. Live and learn.
The Creed of the Kromon is written by Philip Martin, who also penned the TV episodes Vengeance on Varos and the “Mindwarp” (also known as episodes 5-8 of Trial of a Time Lord). These are the episodes of the classic series to include Sil and his utterly disgusting alien species, the profit-hungry Mentors (think Star Trek‘s Ferengi, but without the wit and charm). This makes a lot of sense because The Creed of the Kromon is filled with the same sort of body-horror that Martins TV entries did. There is heaps of sound effects of squelching and belching and things being eaten and other noises designed to bring to mind slimy sticky stuff everywhere. And Charley gets semi-turned into a giant insectoid queen at one point (she gets better). Really, it’s quite an impressive piece of evocative audio–one finds oneself imagining all sorts of detailed mental pictures.
Well, about some things, anyway. There are others which left me a bit uncertain. There’s a creature, for example, called the Oroog which I never got a handle on. It was probably stated somewhere and I probably missed it, but it left me a little confused as the story progressed. It’s voice sounded strangely disembodied so I was wondering for a while if it was supposed to be a non-physical being, but the story makes it clear it’s some sort of largish and intelligent animal / monster.
I’m not a big fan of The Creed of the Kromon. It’s decently produced and the regular cast of Paul McGann, India Fisher, and newcomer Conrad Westmaas are all fine. The story is potentially interesting–the greedy Kromon want the Doctor to unlock the secrets of space travel to them, and to turn Charley into a new hybrid-queen for their species. But the production is over-long–over two hours. It’s divided into four episodes but is actually a bit longer than five regular-length episodes would have been. There is nothing in the plot to justify this, so the story tends to drag, or maybe “wallow” would be a better word, in its own self-indulgences. Basically, it’s kind of gross and seems to really like being kind of gross, often to the detriment of its pacing.
I’m not sure yet what I think of C’rizz. He obviously brings a new dynamic to the series with his more overtly alien perspective, but he’s kind of grating and whether his ongoing presence is a good thing for the storytelling or now remains to be seen. We’re also two serials into the Doctor and Charley’s adventures in the Divergent Universe and the picture of what is going on there is not really any clearer–but I suppose the series has still got time for that, so we won’t judge it too harshly on that account.