Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 11/5/18 10:55 pm
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"Original Sin" is an odd story existing as a novel adaptation adapted from the book of the same name written by Andy Lane. It's important for the Seventh Doctor as it introduces new companions Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester who feature in the absolutely stellar "Cold Fusion", the story "Damaged Goods" which I also recently looked at, and the "Seventh Doctor Adventures" Volume 1 that I've looked at in a New Finish entry. Most notably, these companions come from the pages of the Virgin New Adventure novels that came out in between the Classic and New eras of the show. It's a time not usually explored as often as I'd like and thus it's a period ripe for exploration and new adventure. This audio starts off a new era of adventures with the words of a dying friend bringing the Doctor and Bernice Summerfield to 30th century Earth. The planet is in the middle of an intense Imperial rule and suffering a string of violent murders that seem to be with reason or motive. Two law enforcers ('Adjudicators' in this story) named Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej are investigating the mystery and it's only a matter of time before both parties collide enforce. A dark mystery is at play with multiple threads on various planets all tied together in a mysterious knot that should've been dead centuries ago.....Starting off with a different version of the theme that I honestly wasn't a huge fan of, "Original Sin" is a flawed but relatively serviceable story. There are a few good things to it and it definitely rises above mediocre as a story. But as I listened to this one, I couldn't help but feel that there were either pieces missing or mishandled in the adaptation process that could've made it a lot stronger. The soundscape is generally fine with a decent score, lots of variety in voices, and plenty of technologically advanced settings to sink your teeth into. But the narrative is a little fragmented in that there are many major jumps in between scenes that don't quite line up and the overlying thread is not as engaging as it obviously thinks it. It also comes with a ton of overly complicated dialogue that all blends together and there were frequent moments where I was just flat out bored or uninvolved. Even the clever touches it tries to come up with such as frequent news broadcasts are a nice touch but they don't feel like they tie into anything going on and feel pointless. The ultimate villain and source of all the trouble is also, unfortunately, a problem. Don't get me wrong, it's a decent idea and rather clever in the way this specific character pops up without giving spoilers but it's never 100% confirmed that it's actually him in the story due to rights issues and the lines dance around the fact like a monkey on steroids. Either way, it not only comes off as pointless and needlessly obscure but ends up being just another malevolent entity that just happens to tie back in a minor way to Who lore. Thankfully most of the performances are good enough to redeem everything else around it. Sylvester McCoy and Lisa Bowerman are both fantastic as usual as the Doctor and Bennie and while they are done a little bit of a disservice by the story around them, they still do the best they can with what they've got. The two new companions themselves are a tad dull individually with Yasmin Bannerman's Roz being a typical hardened but a somewhat likable leader and Travis Oliver's Chris a strong but supportive and kind-hearted follower. Together, however, the pair do have a solid chemistry and they work well as a team especially when combined with the intelligence of this incarnation of the Doctor. They do come across as individuals I'd like to hear more from and it's a shame that they don't get the best introductory story ever as it feels like they've got major potential. As one of the most lengthy two-parters, I've ever heard that had a lot to deliver, "Original Sin" stumbles quite significantly. It's not a bad story per se as the performances and meetups between characters are mostly worth the listen but its disjointed structure and narratively dull script with a forced and needless villain definitely weigh it down. If you want to find out how Roz and Chris met the Doctor, this is a decent way to find out on a discounted price but it's not worth the full price of admission and certainly not the two-hour run time.