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Unit - Dominion

Synopsis
The universe stands on the brink of a dimensional crisis – and the Doctor and Raine are pulled into the very epicentre of it.

Meanwhile, on Earth, UNIT scientific advisor Dr Elizabeth Klein and an incarnation of the Doctor she's never encountered before are tested to the limit by a series of bizarre, alien invasions.

At the heart of it all is a terrible secret, almost as old as the Time Lords themselves. Reality is beginning to unravel and two Doctors, Klein, Raine and all of UNIT must use all their strength and guile to prevent the whole of creation being torn apart.
Starring
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Tracey Childs (Dr Elizabeth Klein), Beth Chalmers (Raine Creevy) Alex Macqueen (The Other Doctor), Julian Dutton (Colonel Lafayette), Bradley Gardner (Sergeant Pete Wilson), Miranda Keeling (Sylvie/Liz Morrison), Ben Porter (Private Phillips/John Starr), Sam Clemens (Major Wyland-Jones), Alex Mallinson (Private Maynard/Arunzell), Sophie Aldred (Ace)
Written By
Directed By
Nicholas Briggs

Ratings

RatingMembers
10
(7)
9
(17)
8
(11)
7
(9)
6
(2)
5
(2)
4
(1)
3
(1)
2
(0)
1
(0)
8.1
50 rating(s) submitted

22% (2/9) of raters say this story requires listening to previous stories.

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Reviews

(Highest - Lowest)

9
Review By Sprocketship
Rated 9/10 on 11/12/12 10:49 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
This story has the same feel of reinvention and freshness that the new DOCTOR WHO series had when it premiered in 2005. "Dominion" takes us to new places with new characters and it's full of wonderful twists and surprises along the way. You never quite know where it's going to go next and that makes this adventure deliciously wonderful! This one is an instant DOCTOR WHO classic!

Why the scheme at the center of this story has never been previously used in DOCTOR WHO boggles the mind. Nick Briggs and Jason Arnopp have outdone themselves with this script!

Sylvester McCoy is at the top of his game and Alex Macqueen steals the show as the Other Doctor.

The only downside is that the Klein story line didn't resolve itself in a way that I found satisfying. It deserved something greater to match the huge scope of this adventure.

One word: EPIC!

9/10
9
Review By komodo
Rated 9/10 on 11/11/12 9:29 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
UNIT has been taking a back seat for too many years. Between the death of Nicolas Courtney and the emergence of the Forge, Torchwood and Counter Measures, UNIT has drifted into obscurity. A drift only made worse by the bland characters such as Chadrey, Dalton and the ridiculous Brimmicomb-Wood in the previous UNIT series and then its wish washy appearance in the NuWHo episodes.

With this series, UNIT is strong and could have a very strong spin off. The key to that is the strength of its main characters. Wilson, Maynard, Wyland Jones and of course Klein make a very good well defined team that would be a pleasure to follow.

This story is another matter. From the start it is very busy with two doctors, a unit team and half a dozen alien groups all on the go. It is supposed to be busy, but the efforts to introduce all the characters make it hard to listen to the first episode.

The subsequent episodes were golden though, especially each of the cliff hangers which were all great moments with unpredictable outcomes.

The story does stand alone, but I�d think the Klein trilogy would make some key parts of it make more sense.

All that said, it�s a great listen and well worth the time it takes. From here, the Doctor and Raine could go on further adventures, or UNIT could have its own spin off, or the other doctor could come swanning into any story saying �Hello You� and we�d love him.
Reviewer Says: No previous stories required.
9
Review By Eiphel
Rated 9/10 on 10/26/12 5:04 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.
I loved this. I got a tingle of excitement the moment it showed up and it just built and built. That first episode was one of the most exciting listening experiences I've ever had. It was so big! And so different! This just felt like a new era, a new everything. They took huge risks in jumping to a never-seen part of the Doctor's timeline, making sweeping references to background events we know nothing about, and generally playing around with every aspect of the format. But it all works! It feels so utterly fresh and mystifying and exhilarating. Suddenly we don't have all the answers, suddenly this is Doctor Who unlike any we've ever known, and it's amazing. I'm so sad I can never hear Part One with virgin ears again, to feel that thrill of being on the edge of uncharted territory. (I only have one tiny complaint on this note - I think there should have been a new themetune!)

And it's all so big, in full colour widescreen surround sound IMAX 3D! It starts with those glorious covers, and it carries through into the cinematic soundscapes, the four-hour, cliffhanger packed, serial buildup. It's genuinely spectacular, in the fullest sense of the word.

I hope this is the first of many ventures into really long-form storytelling from Big Finish, because it enabled so much. Not just in the raw scale of the story, and the ability to build the excitement and fit in a wider range of crescendo-moments, but in the variation it allowed. This is a UNIT story. Not a story featuring UNIT, but a story in which 'UNIT' comes in big letters before the title. It's almost like a spinoff, and large sections of the story are able to really play like such. It's also a whole new Doctor's story! Alexander MacQueen's Other Doctor explodes onto the scene and is able to play the lead role for several stretches. It's like we're visiting a whole other era, which only adds to that 'uncharted territory' feel. The Other Doctor and Klein were such a great pair, I dearly wished their adventures were a whole new ongoing range. And it's a multi-Doctor story! A real, proper, honest-to-god multi-Doctor romp. The Other Doctor and the Seventh get to butt heads, bounce ideas, team up and trade jibes, and it's glorious fun. And it's a Seventh Doctor story with Raine! A whole new dynamic for Sylvester that we've never heard before - and one that works splendidly.

This story endeared me to Raine far more than the Lost Stories ever did. The Lost Stories were trying to evoke an era gone by that never actually happened, and their goal seemed to rather muddy their vision and lead to something of questionable success. Dominion is a total blank slate, building something entirely new from the ground up, and it incorporates Raine without any prior mandate, thus allowing her to be served in the manner best fitting. Beth Chalmers demonstrates she's actually very likeable and rounded as a companion. Dominion really gives Raine a second lease on life.

A good deal of that success, though, is also owed to Sylvester. His rapport with Beth comes across fair more strongly than it did in the previous releases. Here they have a lovely unique chemistry that's not quite like any of the Seventh Doctor's other crews. The deliberate ambiguity of Dominion's place in continuity makes it hard to fully contextualise the Doctor's demeanour here, but he seems older, yet softer. Mild but not so jokey as when he travelled with Mel. And when he's away from company, we can see there's still lingering darkness within him, but tired now. Something he tries to rise above. I got the sense that the Doctor liked to pick Raine up from time to time to help keep him from himself, but he could never bring himself to travel with her for long, never quite manage to do the full companion thing with her, because of old wounds. It's been a long while since people would routinely dismiss Sylvester's performance, but I'd say his showing in Dominion demonstrates he really is capable of huge range and nuance.

What about the Other Doctor? Well, hello, you! Alexander MacQueen steals the show. He's destined to be remembered as the star of the series, I think. He is having such immense fun, and it really shows. It's impossible not to fall in love with him, to adore every moment he's around. The Other Doctor is such a glorious enigma! He just shows up, utterly blasé, as if there's no doubt he should be there. And yet who the hell is he? Another Doctor? What-? How-? In many ways it's like being right back at the birth of the show, when nothing was defined, when we knew nothing about this mysterious and slightly sinister old man. We hadn't heard fifty years of backstory back then, we were just faced with this bizarre, inexplicable anachronism. When the Other Doctor bounds onto the scene as if he's been there all along, all those old questions are new again - and MacQueen really pays them off. His Doctor is so fun, so light-hearted, seemingly even superficial. But then... Just at the edges of the performance, there's this hint of the uncanny. The occaisional line, the odd action and offhand remark, and with the tiniest inflection or quirk of delivery, MacQueen has us asking again, what is really going on here? He never ceases to maintain the intrigue even as he unfailingly delivers that bouncy brash Other Doctor charm. And, as I've remarked, he has the most beautiful chemistry with Tracey Childs.

On the subject of Ms. Klein, what a balancing act they've achieved. Dominion marked the return of Klein, and that was a big selling point. Klein's a very popular character, and a figurehead of Big Finish mythology. But that Klein was a villainous time-travelling Nazi. And this Klein is UNIT's scientific advisor and a good guy. How do you bring back an iconic character, and reward all the nostalgia and expectations she comes with, and yet make her into someone entirely new, and satisfactorily quench all the intrigue and expectations THAT comes with? With the consummate skill of Nick Briggs and Jason Arnopp is how. They've succesfully written a character recognisable entirely as Elizabeth Klein, and yet sympathetic, likeable and really a bit heroic. I was cheering for Klein all the way. Tracey Childs puts in possibly her best performance yet, convincing us from the very first sentence that this is Klein, yet bringing out her character traits in a very different way, eliciting wholly different emotions - and evoking something very personal and tragic in her experiences with the 'Umbrella Man'. And, of course, she's one half of that phenomenal Klein/Other Doctor pair.

If I'm pushed, I'll remark upon one sadness regarding Klein in Dominion. I wish it was more significant. Klein's history is important to the story, yes, but it's something of a secondary plot and it never really has quite the bearing on events that it could have. I felt that Klein's subplot in Dominion was very true to the character, but that it had more dramatic potential than was played out. In particular a little more material between her and the Seventh Doctor in the final episode would have been welcome.

In general, I think this is a symptom of the only considerable issue I found in Dominion. The thing is so huge and exciting and broad in scale, as my effusive opening hopefully conveyed, that I think it merits a finale which it doesn't quite receive. Given it's epic, serial nature, Dominion sets up a great many plot threads, building all of them, crossing them over and skipping between them, and in part four it feels like they're all going to crash together in some tremendous and portentous convergent pay-off. Instead, part four is quite understated and compartmentalised in how it ties things off. Each plot thread is pretty much addressed individually and on quite a small scale, and whilst this isn't by any means the wrong way to end a story, it felt like it didn't capitalise on the pace and the grandeur that the previous 200 minutes of drama had set up. It's my only lasting niggle with the story. I think with an ending which threw the various elements together more I'd really be left completely wowed.

I'll quickly note a couple of other fleeting distractions from the generally glorious serial. First of all, born of the serial nature of the story itself, several of the more episodic aspects of the story are ultimately only of tangential relevance. I'd compare it to watching a pulp Sci-Fi show with a plot arc. The various monsters of the week that show up throughout the series probably aren't all going to have the utmost relevance to the direction of the arc at the end of the season. In this case that's the (wildly imaginative) menagerie of otherworldly incursors. Mind Leeches, Sky Heads, Nexus and more (including one incursion that is bizarrely similar to something in recent televised Who), they mostly provide a fun episodic aspect to each episode rather than having any long term importance. It's the latter of these that provides my only other wrankle with the story: Why do Big Finish keep insisting on including a 'comedy voice' somewhere into an otherwise tonally unrelated drama? It just punctures the otherwise highly cohesive and succesful atmosphere. Thankfully, they're only around for a few fleeting scenes (which goes back to my previous point), and don't really do much to diminish the otherwise spectacular story.

I couldn't even continue to nitpick with Dominion if I wanted to, and I don't. Absent a few tiny hiccups and one slight defiance of expectation, there's nothing worth criticising in this sterling production. This is highly likely to be my favourite Big Finish release of the year, and it's one of the best and most original things they've ever done! Huzzah! 9/10.
8
Review By RyanOM1991
Rated 8/10 on 3/7/14 3:10 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
A fresh start and a new direction. A successful change in style.

UNIT: Dominion is a four-part story that brings Doctor Who bang up to date with a wonderful sound design that combines an epic scope with superb characterisation.

Those looking for lots of McCoy action will be disappointed by the first two episodes as the focus is more on the mysterious Other Doctor played by Alex MacQueen and the increasingly suspicious Klein. UNIT is presented as a credible military outfit again, baffles by the chaos that ensues but maintaining a stiff upper lip and sense of control. Subtle hints imply that perhaps things aren't quite as they should be. The second episode with the Skyhead encounter is particularly gripping.

Episode 3 doesn't quite match up the high standard - we've already heard two episodes of UNiT confused by an alien incursion and looking to the Doctor to help combat it, to the format has already become slightly stale - surprising considering its only the third episode, but the narrative structure is exactly the same and nothing new is really developed. Until the episode's climax, anyway.

The revelation about MacQueen's Doctor is glaringly obvious when it is revealed but at no point crosses your mind during the story. Events really pick up for the final episode where McCoy and MacQueen go toe to toe in a gripping and well-realised climax.

There are three aspects that really should be applauded - the freshness of Who's new direction, MacQueen's gripping performance and the wonderful sound design. These alone make this box set a very good listen.