1 out of 2 found this review helpful.
For a tale that is touted as “10/10 […] a superb character-driven drama..” I felt zero attachment to any of the characters, even the familiar recurring TARDIS crew. Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan all seemingly suffered from one-line-itis and cliché-uenza because their lines delivered nothing to the plot and only served to establish spacial awareness and actions that were happening “on screen” . For nearly the whole story, I couldn’t exactly place what distracted and removed me from the plot, but as it always seems to be, the Kingdom of Lies is yet another example in a long string of tales that forces the importance of tell don’t show - something I find immediately kills an audio adventure. Lines describe actions and scenes rather than painting a picture with inflections and tonal shifts in dialog. Big Finish has an added bonus when it comes to portraying a scene - the use of appropriate sound effects - something that is dangerously lack-luster from this 4 episode adventure.
Likewise, our characters of the week bring absolutely nothing to the table. They themselves are all horrible clichés of how we view inherited power; a materialistic Duchess coupled with an incompetent Duke. But even though their characters seem cherry-picked from a monarchal comedy of the 70’s, the writing does nothing to add a modern sense of flair or spice to how these characters are portrayed. In fact, the only modernization this story embraces is the incessant need to drop as many M. Night Shyamalan twists as it can muster. Granted, there’s a whole body of work about over-used plot twists (many with a much better analysis than mine), but the crux of it is how detrimental plot twists are to the creation of true tension and strife in a story. Tension leads to conflict, conflict leads to character development, and ultimately character development shapes the story. And that’s where we’re left with this tale; a banal, highly inoffensive exercise in the mediation of childish royalty and a third party’s lust for power with a few familiar faces thrown in to give it a pass. I have to give this 4/10 merely because it’s so horrendously average.