Reviewed By: traves8853
Review Date: 10/16/16 4:16 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
‘Embrace the Darkness’ was recorded on 22 January, 25 January and 26 January 2001. It was both written and directed by Nick Briggs. This was originally intended to feature the Morestrans (Planet of Evil) instead of the Throxillians, but Big Finish failed to obtain the rights from the BBC.
The Tardis lands on a scientific base to investigate a missing sun in the Cimmerian system. The Doctor and Charley are soon confronted by ROSM, a large security robot. Detecting harmful bacteria within Charley, the robot puts up a security shield around the Tardis and tries to annihilate Charley as she escapes to the planet’s surface, where she meets Orllensa and Mike. Orllensa, Mike, and later a third member of the crew, Haliard, have all had their eyes removed by the Cimmerians; Charley appears to be next.
The ethereal atmosphere is suitably creepy with sounds and effects that help detail the surroundings. Lots of haunting yet futuristic technical and industrial sounds in the manmade environments, for example. On the planet itself, there were lots of chime and Theremin sounds. The whispering, hissing voices of the Cimmerians, voiced by Ian Brooker, were particularly good, and a far cry from the usual over-modulated alien voices Big Finish tend to go for.
We missed a great Doctor in Paul McGann, but his performance here is quite laid back. India Fischer, however, rarely has an off day. Thick caricature foreign accents and thin characterisation are the stock-in-trade of early big finish. But by the end, we know very little about the crew of the scientific base on Cimmeria IV. Personally, I found it hard to invest interest with such a shortage of backstory, apart from Orllensa telling Charlie a bit about herself in the third episode but it’s too little too late. Also in the Companion Chronicles adventure, Solitaire, the Celestial Toymaker refers to the Solarians in a riddle.
‘Embrace the Darkness’ is an average story that lacks the narrative content to fill four episodes (just like old times, eh?). The Doctor gets everything wrong in this one and doesn’t save the day but misinterprets the danger which I found interesting and refreshing. The production values were good, but losing an episode, or two, would help to inject a bit of pace.