An interesting depature for the big finish range in that instead of this being one long doctor who story in four parts, the four parts here are all self contained stories. Although they do form a whole in the end that justifies the title.
All are roughly thirty minutes long, and benefit from decent pacing as a result. Something that has been a problem with a few big finishes that have been too long for their own good.
The first part involves the fifth doctor and nyssa visiting an alien race on a very alien world where a renegade time lord has gone native. They are there to try and find out what he's up to. The world is stunningly well realised via sound and the actors performances. There are some harsh laws among the aliens, and whilst nyssa wants to change things the doctor can't interfere as much as she'd like. Yes, it's rather like star trek, and the prime directive.
The end of this one is quite clever as things become apparent in regards to what the renegade is up to, but it does feel a little rushed and lacking in ultimate effect.
In the second part, the doctor and nyssa are in medieval london, and get on the wrong side of sir isaac newton. Will science or magic or faith be what's required to make him let them go?
This one contains an amazingly good performance from david warner as sir isaac. he just grabs you from the start and never lets go. It's a shame that the rest of the supporting cast come over as if they think they're in a carry on film, but it does allow for a couple of funny moments. And it resolves itself well.
In the third story the doctor and nyssa are staying in a small village, whilst the doctor plays for their cricket team, who are in danger of being relegated. Nyssa is trying to write a novel. And then she gets involved with a handsome stranger.
Theres no big threats in this one, just character drama. It's not till about halfway through the episode that nyssa's relationship becomes believable, and whilst there's very little consequence to the story, it's a nice character drama for the tardis crew.
In the final part, set a long time after nyssa left the doctor, both are living idyllic domestic lives. But would the doctor do that? Strange dreams prompt nyssa to investigate.
The inlay promises shameless fan service in this part, and it delivers exactly that, as the ultimate explanation ties in very cleverly to certain events that happened in a particular tv story. Although it's well done, I'm of mixed feelings about such stories as they don't really need to be told. A surprise appearance that you expect doesn't happen, and it would have been more effective than the rather unnecessary one that does. But there's a beautiful ending which reminds us how great a character the doctor is and why we love the show.
So all in all a very good little collection of tales. I hope they use the single part format sparingly in future as this could become too much of a good thing, but this one is well worth a listen