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1.2 - The Renaissance Man >

1.1 - Destination: Nerva

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9
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6
22%
35
5
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Average Rating
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 11/5/18 10:53 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

With the Fourth Doctor Series 1 Blu-Ray set recently released, this story definitely grabbed my interest with it's setting and idea. For those of you who don't know, the first season of Fourth Doctor TV stories takes place in and around the space station Nerva in orbit around the Earth. 'Destination' sees the Doctor returning to Nerva with a different companion to handle a new threat early in the station's timeline. As the synopsis implies, Nerva at this point is brand new and the Doctor and Leela are led there by a distress transmitted to them from Victorian London 1895 immediately after 'Talons of Weng Chiang'. Discovering the survivors of a massive battle in the heart of Kent with humans on side and an unknown alien species on the other, through explosive coincidences the pair end up landing on a transport headed carrying a construction crew meant for the station itself. But upon landing, a mysterious infection begins to spread through Nerva dock itself with a very charming guest from another ship seemingly the source. Something dark is happening on Nerva brought there by the cosmos and the Doctor and Leela are right in the middle.....It may sound like an interesting idea but unfortunately considering what it was hyped up to be, 'Destination' ends up being a bit of a disappointment and mostly unmemorable. As I was listening to it, it never felt like anything really interesting or substantial was happening and suddenly when it picked up it was already two-thirds over. Nicholas Briggs as a writer has done amazing space stuff before but here it really feels phoned in and the fact that the majority of it doesn't take place on the station at all make it feel like a bit of a forced continuity grab. That feeling pervades and colors your entire listening of it even despite some decent if unremarkable performances. 'Destination' represents Tom Baker and Louise Jameson's first audio story as the Doctor and Leela and it definitely shows. They both are mostly good and work when they have to but they haven't really had a chance to get a handle on their audio personas yet and thus sound very aged and tired in places. None of the supporting cast get to really make an impression minus Sam Graham doing a fairly decent slimey villain who has a fetish for shaking hands that I found hilarious and the plot and narrative doesn't give them much to do that's not standard and cookie cutter. Not even the soundscape works that well as it's not only thin but forced without rhyme or reason. I frequently found myself lost with where the characters were at and I had to look up several descriptions online just to figure out what was going on. Thankfully it's only a two parter which means it's quick enough that it doesn't waste your time for too long. I can't quite imagine what the feelings of listeners were like when they first heard this one because it's really not a good start for the Fourth Doctor in audio form. In fact, "Destination Nerva" is for me the worst Fourth Doctor audio story I've heard. I wouldn't say it quite reaches the lows of something like "Dreamtime" or.....*shudders* "Nekromanteia" but that's certainly not for lack of trying. 

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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Replay Rating:
6
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5
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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 10/29/15 6:36 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Destination: Nerva should be a labor of love for Nicholas Briggs as he finally was able to get Tom Baker back to record for Big Finish. It's just a shame that the story isn't very good, with Nicholas Briggs deciding to take the Fourth Doctor back to Nerva for no real reason except that it is still there. The story also really just rips off The Ark in Space with a creature taking over the crew of the newly opened Nerva Beacon and trying to create a takeover of Earth. While it is nothing original it really shines through with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson working together especially when Leela is in anti-gravity.

Tom Baker does do a good performance, but feels like he needs time to get back into the role on audio after so long. The supporting cast is also really bland with no one really standing out, including Raquel Cassidy's Dr. Alison Foster. The only really interesting idea is that the first person taken over is from the late 1800s, but they don't do anything with it. All in all an alright story from Nicholas Briggs and I hope the first season of Fourth Doctor Adventures improves as the season goes on.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
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4
Acting Rating:
7
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2
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9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 9/20/15 9:26 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

'Destination Nerva' follows on from the events of 'The Talons of Weng-Chiang' with the Doctor and Leela still clothed in Victorian attire, and was both written and directed by Nick Briggs. This audio drama was recorded on 12 September 2011 and was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra on 16 May 2015 as an hour long compilation of the two episodes, with opening and closing credits read by presenter Toby Hadoke.

Big Finish Synopsis: "After saying their goodbyes to Professor Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, the Doctor and Leela respond to an alien distress call beamed direct from Victorian England. It is the beginning of a journey that will take them to the newly built Space Dock Nerva... where a long overdue homecoming is expected."

Jamie Robertson's nuanced soundtrack is a love letter to the Hinchcliffe era giving it a nostalgic feel. The atmosphere helps generate suspense and intrigue in equal measure. The Drelleran voices are deep and booming but not over modulate like so many other Big Finish audio dramas giving a much more natural sound. Everything about this feels more organic, although there is an over-abundance of squelchy-farty sounds at times.

Here we have a tougher Leela than we are used to in the TV series which is an improvement. Tom isn't quite the same. I find his Doctor more ponderous. The supporting cast are all very good however transient some of their appearances maybe. It's a bit hard to feel sympathy for characters like Laura Craske played by Tilly Guant, despite a good performance her character seemed terminally dim, violating safety procedures because she felt like it indeed.

The Doctor and Leela have little discernible impact on this story and while I don't need the Doctor to be the hero every time the paper thin plot draws attention to it in an unflattering way making it a very odd choice to premier the range with. Also having unanswered questions can work really well but not knowing the true motivations of the Drellerans makes it all especially meaningless. The structure of the story is a bit odd with the first episodes not achieving much but the second episodes picks up nicely. It also has a lot of good ideas, the best by far being the alien parasite that has taken over the bodies of the crew of the starship Aeolus. I am sure this will have its fans, but I am not one of them. That’s not to say I didn't enjoy it because I did but you can't save a story from being mundane when the writing is as sloppy as this.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
3
Plot Rating:
2
Acting Rating:
5
Replay Rating:
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NR
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 3/9/15 12:46 pm
2 out of 4 found this review helpful.

This is an extremely disappointing first adventure for the Fourh Doctor with Big Finish. It's a well-produced and nice-sounding generic story filled with a forgettable concept that's been done to death, a forgettable alien forgettable guest characters, and a ham fisted political message about the evils of British imperialism. Leela has a few great moments, but there's too much talking and the Doctor doesn't really solve the problem at all. Setting this story right after the Talons of Weng-Chiang and explicitly referencing it doesn't help because it evokes one of the show's greatest classics before plunging into this dull audio story.