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Reviews By dtom
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Avg Rating:
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: dtomReview Date: 5/7/19 12:06 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The New Doctor Who’s first show runner Russell T Davis declared this story to be the first shots in the Great Time War that has dominated so much of the returning TV series first Decade. The Apocalypse Element was penned by Stephen Cole returning after the less than stella Land of the Dead.
It does have an epic quality but finds itself at time weighed down by the scale. The sixth Doctor and a newish companion, the return of Romana (Lalla Ward), the return of the Daleks, the return of Vansell, and the return to Gallifrey. All these have to be rushed through to get on with plot which is wide in scope but scant in character.
Nicholas Brigg directs at a breathless pace and the cast go at it with Gusto, The result is a thoroughly enjoyable romp which is great fun. Of course, you can pick apart the plot and there are a few silly moments which stand out, especially on a second listen. However, the tale is such good fun you that your unlikely to care.
Baker is excellent as ever, and hearing Lalla Ward is a great wad of nostalgia. Maggie Stables is less well used, understandably side-lined in a Gallifrey versus the Daleks battle heavy storyline.
This is advertised as the second story in the Dalek Empire trilogy, but it is a stand alone story who’s only link the Genocide Machine is the appearance of the Daleks.
The plot involves the Doctor and Evelyn getting caught up in a Dalek plot to invade Gallifrey. However, the usual slow paced Gallifreyan politic based stories the features the Doctors home world, is set aside for a full scale shooting war story of resistance and heroism. Central to the Daleks invasions plans is the need for Gallifreyan technology to control an element with potential to destroy the universe.
This gives plenty of scope for the supporting cast to cry havoc and the duly do so. The soundscape and music are also high points.
The Apocalypse Element is an epic feeling tale which hits many high points and although lacking depth will put a smile on your face.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
5
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: dtomReview Date: 2/23/17 2:45 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This is yet another very ordinary Davidson story. It not bad as such, just not that good. Which is a bit of a shame because the 5th Doctor hasn’t really had a lot of love from the Big Finish adventures so far. Written by Doctor Who stalwart Andrew Cartmel (best known for his work on 7th Doctor TV episodes) it is a pseudo ghost story set in a remote and exclusive finishing school in Switzerland.
The story is at its best when it plays the poltergeist elements as a haunting rather than an alien invasion story. The last episode is clunky and falls short of the set up from the previous three. The general ambience is well done and the cast do a decent enough job with what they have.

The only really jarring characterisation is Sarah Sutton’s Nyssa. It’s not that she does a poor job, just that the script and direction has her play the part as a bit of a whiner. Yes, she has been the victim of a bit of a techno-error from the Doctor, but boy does she go on about it. For me Nyssa was always the most pro-Doctor of the crowded Tardis during the 5th Doctor time on board, so this portrayal is very much out of character.

We also get an array of plumy accents. Sally Faulkner does her best Miss Jean Brodie impersonation and of course India Fisher does her best Edwardian adventuress impersonation as an audition for Charlotte Pollard and TV’s Masterchef.

It all bumps along rather predictably and it’s telling that two of the cliff-hangers are the Doctor’s comments about a genuine haunting and a séance.

There is very little joy upon a second listening, where all the huge plot gaps become even clearer. At some point, surely the 5th Doctor will get a decent script. Alas, despite the pedigree of the writer this is not it. Very ordinary fare.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: dtomReview Date: 2/23/17 1:22 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating the importance of nostalgia in this series. For me this has been the production that gave me the biggest nostalgia pangs. However, it did not evoke 6th doctor memories. This one belongs firmly in the early seventies. It has elements of both the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker eras.

Writer and Director Nicholas Pegg creates a story which could easily of fitted into the Pertwee v The Master adventures. There are some obvious analogies going on. Colin Baker’s Doctor is played like Pertwee’s 3rd. I don’t mean an impersonation, but rather, he gives his Doctor a kinder and more understanding veneer. He is also separated from his Tardis and forced to work scientific miracles with some copper wire and glue.

Maggie Stable’s Evelyn Smith is could easily been Sarah Jane Smith. She listen’s carefully to the Doctor and then does the exact opposite at every turn. Throw in a Machiavellian villain (Flint) using and Alien intelligence for their own needs, and obviously reflecting The Master in The Daemons. It is all very derivative, but it’s lots of fun.

The cast all give good accounts of themselves, although Baker due to the large cast has less to do than previous stories. He and Stables are a great combination and their relationship as characters develops nicely here. I loved the scene where she forces the Doctor to apologise to an archaeologist. Of course, much of the focus will be on the Brigadier. He is such an iconic figure in 70s Doctor Who and Courtney recapture his mix of skepticism and credulity perfectly.
The soundscape capture’s the eerie moors well. The incidental music is perhaps the best so far.
If you listen to it a few times, you will of course find plot holes, but the plot here is not the centrepiece. It is fairly slight, it is the character interaction and the Gothic horror evocation that hold the listener’s attention.
Colin Baker’s doctor has done much better that his predecessor (Davidson) in the Big Finish script lottery. His last adventure was good and he follows up with another smashing tale. If you don’t have this yet, go get it, it is one of the ludicrously cheap £2.99 downloads from Big Finish’s first 50 Doctor Who stories. If that doesn’t make you smile, then surely the return of the Brigadier will.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
4
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: dtomReview Date: 2/22/17 8:38 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This is Davidsons 3rd solo outing and this time teams him with Peri and it misses the mark again. This is not a classic, no doubt about it, but it is hardly the disaster that The Land of the Dead was or indeed some reviews depict. It is just, meh!

Justin Richards is the first returning writer and he tries to portrait the Ice Warriors as a group of honourable hero warriors, mistreated by the nasty human race. This sort of thing has been done before and to much better effect. For me the Ice Warriors work best as creepy militaristic aggressors and it’s a shame this wasn’t the form used here.

The Doctor and Peri are an unusual combination having only two TV outings together, her first swiftly followed by his last. They work well as a team and they have a few good moments, but in general there is too little for them to really bite into.

The supporting cast are so-so but not stunning. One notable is Georgia Moffatt, who has impeccable Doctor Who credentials. She is Peter Davidson’s daughter, David Tennant’s wife and played the Doctor’s Daughter in the new series. Here she plays one of human space explorers with a really silly back story.

The soundscape is also average. The Ice-Warriors have nice range of hissing voices which while different still sound too close to each other that they are required use their names in almost every line.

Ultimately, this just doesn’t work. Too plodding and too predictable. It’s not one you’ll rush to rehear, but it will pass the time in a rush hour queue.

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