Reviewed By: dtom
Review Date: 2/5/17 12:52 pm
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This is a nearly story. It has plenty to recommend it but after two very strong episodes it fades away in the later half failing to deliver the knockout punch which would have made it a true classic.
This is also the first Big Finish audio to feature the Daleks. No Doctor Who project could last for long without including the hate filled pepper pot’s. They are as much a part of show as the Tardis. For the singular honour of the first Dalek story they turned to Mike Tucker. Mike’s association with Doctor Who may not be as long as the Daleks, but it is none the less impressive. Principally a visual effects wizard he has worked on both the classic and new series, indeed he was the first to make the crossover as a model works supervisor. In 2013 he won a BAFTA for his model effects in The Day of the Doctor, 50th anniversary special.
He has also penned many Doctor Who related fiction and non-fiction and joined the growing list of past adventure novelists to join the Big Finish stable, a role he continues to the present day. He was responsible for several 7th Doctor and Ace novels, and it seems an obvious choice to team them up for this audio.
The plot sees the Doctor and Ace travel to a hidden library who’s collection of knowledge rivals even the Gallifreyan matrix. Obviously such knowledge is bound to be a tempting prize for the evil and unscrupulous, and no one matches that description better than the Daleks.
Tucker’s plot follows a few classic TV Who beats, for example only properly introducing the Daleks at the climax of episode one. A tradition used often in classic Dr Who TV serials. By the end of the second episode we find out just how cunning, resourceful and patient the Daleks can be to achieve their objective, leaving them on the verge of triumph, their greatest rival slain and all the knowledge of the universe in their possession.
The final two episodes however, use a few cheap get out of jail free cards to foil their plans. These include a hitherto unknown race that live in the rain, an insane Dalek, and finally a Dalek exposed to the universe's knowledge who decides violence isn’t the answer. The Doctor is reduced to acting as a commentator and the whole things ends unsatisfactorily.
The supporting cast are generally fine without hitting the high notes. Nick Briggs provides the main Dalek voices as he would do for the new series and gets most pitch perfect. Bruce Montague is good as Elgin the librarian. One of the interesting touches was Cataloguer Prink. He is a silent character used largely as comic relief. This worked well initially but became over used as the story went on.
One of the less successful characters was Bev Tarrant. She is a poor man’s Bernice Summerfield, and is largely used as an expositional device. It’s not that she is played badly, just that for a stellar thief she is inept and dull.
Sophie Aldred puts in the best turn playing both Ace and her Dalek clone. But ultimately she is reduced to blowing stuff up as the plot runs out of steam.
The main issues centre around the Kar-Charratians. The local sentient life forms who live in the water supply. They have been trapped in the machine that contains the libraries knowledge. They can occupy dead bodies, interact with physical objects and manage to destroy the invading Daleks all but single-handedly. Which left you wondering why they didn’t just breakout of the wetwork tanks themselves.
The Genocide Machine isn’t a bad story but if the adventure had maintained the standard of the first two episodes we might have had a true must listen story. As one of £2.99 releases it’s certainly worth a download but it could have been so much more.