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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 October 2004
Can the Daleks carry an audio series without the Doctor? Indeed they can! This opening instalment in Big Finish's 4-part mini-series (these discs are not individual stories, but chapters of a larger story) does what it says on the tin, with the story concentrating on the Daleks invading the human colony word of Vega 6. While the basic plot points may be fairly predictable (Dalek invasion, mining the planet, Robot-ising prisoners) the success of this play is in its compelling characters, principally prisoner Susan Mendes (who has to come to terms with her own conscience when forced to co-operate with the Daleks for the well-being of the other prisoners) and inept Space Security Operative Alby Brook, who is desperately trying to rescue her. The only real flaw in the whole series is Alby's quest for Susan - while dramatically it's a great hook it never convinces due to their platonic relationship before the Dalek invasion begins - someone going into a war zone and almost certain death because he had a crush on a girl just doesn't convince. Throughout the Daleks are menacing, being always one-step ahead of the other characters, as they slowly manipulate them into carrying out their own plans. A great opening instalment to a superior series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2015
"Attention! Attention! Or you will be exterminated!"

This is Dalek Empire! A spin-off series from Big Finish created from the worlds of `Doctor Who'. It features the Doctor's most feared adversaries - the dreaded Daleks. Back in 2001, the Daleks had their own spin-off series. And the Doctor doesn't even feature in it!

Dalek creator Terry Nation had tried to get his creations their own TV series for many years, but sadly was unsuccessful. Many years later, Nicholas Briggs created his own audio series as he wrote, produced and directed his own series with the Daleks through Big Finish.

The series starts Sarah Mowat as Susan `Suz' Mendez; Mark MacDonnell as Albert `Alby' Brook and Gareth Thomas as Kalendorf. The Daleks are voiced by both Nicholas Briggs and Alistair Lock.

I subscribed this series through Big Finish when I was getting into the large foray of `Doctor Who' audios back in 2011. It was a special offer purchasing these four audios and I'm very pleased I did.

This series is divided into four single CD parts/chapters including `Invasion of the Daleks'; `The Human Factor'; `"Death to the Daleks!" and `Project Infinity'. Why the CDs aren't in a complete box set from Big Finish, I've no idea.

`Invasion of the Daleks' is the first chapter/audio drama in the `Dalek Empire' series and is a 70-minute episode. It's a pretty exciting, engaging audio adventure that starts off with a direct invasion of a planet called Vegas VI, leads to the subjugation of humans as slaves for the Daleks.

I wondered whether I would like this `Dalek Empire' series and how I would cope as the Doctor wasn't it. But Nick Briggs delivers some fascinating new facets about the Daleks which I found very intriguing, especially as they became the inspiration new series Daleks in `Doctor Who'.

This series has a connection to previous `Doctor Who' adventures in audio. These include 'The Apocalypse Element' and 'The Genocide Machine'. Why these stories are connected, well you'll have to read the notes and hear the stories yourselves before listening to this Dalek Empire series.

The story focuses on the pivotal character of Susan Mendez. Suz is a geologist on Vegas VII at the start, collecting mineral samples. When the Daleks invade Vegas VI, she and her friend Alby run for their lives before she's captured and is taken as a prisoner and works for the Daleks.

I like Sarah Mowat's portrayal of Suz. Suz is terrified of the Daleks, having not heard of them before. As the story progresses, Suz challenges the Daleks when they keep barking out orders to slave workers. It gets the Daleks curious and she becomes increasingly important to them.

I found those scenes fascinating when Suz was interrogated by the Dalek Supreme and is challenged on her morals and beliefs. Some of those scenes are pretty intense and make you wonder about the Dalek psychology. It became an inspiration for when Rose talked to a lone Dalek survivor in 'Dalek'.

Mark McDonnell plays Alby Brook, a friend of Suz's at the beginning of the story. They both separate as Alby runs away and leave her out of cowardice. Alby is ashamed of his actions, believing himself to be in love with Suz and is determined to go back and rescue her from the Daleks.

Gareth Thomas (well-known in `Blake's 7') plays Kalendorf, a fellow slave worker with Suz for the Daleks. Kalendorf happens to be an agent of the Knights of Velyshaa, who were featured in 'The Sirens of Time'. Kalendorf is pessimistic on escaping the Daleks, whilst Suz is optimistic and hopeful.

There's also John Wadmore as Gordon Pellan, who is a newsreader for the Vega Systems News Media. He rescues and meets Alby after the Dalek invasion of Vegas VI. Pellan is intrigued by Alby's determination to save Suz and eventually joins him on his rescue mission to save her.

The Dalek Emperor appears in the episode. There are also Robomen from 'The Dalek Invasion Of Earth' who make life difficult for the human slaves working for the Daleks.

I really like the comic book art featured in the sleeve notes of `Invasion of the Daleks' by Tim Keable. It makes me feel like I'm reading one of the classic comic strips of the TV Century 21 stories with the Daleks. Also I like `The Dalek Wars' notes at the back of the sleeve notes by Professor E. P. Natalior.

There aren't any CD extras featured at the end of this disc. So there are no `coming soon' trailers or anything like that to be found here.

`Invasion of the Daleks' is pretty good start to the `Dalek Empire' series, and I was looking forward to enjoying the rest of the series. It's quite different not having the Doctor featured in the series, but the Daleks make up for it with their impressive battles and evil maniacal scheming ways.

The 'Dalek Empire' series continues in 'The Human Factor'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
First released in 2001, this is the first in a Big Finish spin off series from the Doctor Who main range and, as the title indicates, centres around the Daleks. It's a single disc release, one episode about an hour long.

The story follows on from the events of the Monthly Dr Who release `Apocalypse Element'. After regrouping in the Seraphina galaxy, the Daleks want to invade our Galaxy again. They form a bridgehead into the galaxy on the planet of Vega 6, where we meet the three main characters for this series, Susan Mendez, Karlendorf and Albie Brooks. Susan is a geologist captured by the Daleks who shows unusual spirit that they think they can use, Karlendorf is a lot more than he seems at first, and Albie Brooks is a well drawn tragic hero who again is a lot more than he first seems, any resemblance to Harry Palmer is, I am sure, totally coincidental.

The story centres on the Dalek invasion of Vega 6 and the enslavement of the population. There is a lot of well drawn action and the introduction of some really good characters. The feel of the piece is rather gloomy, and there is a feeling that there are not going to be any happy endings to this tale. The story ends on a slightly dark note and leaves the door open for an interesting series. 4 stars for this engrossing and well put together opening adventure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 26 December 2009
I've been a fan of the Daleks ever since they trundled onto our screens way back in 1963. I can't say the BBC have always treated them well and for some years (decades?) they became a bit of a laughing stock in some quarters. This series of audio books changed all that in my opinion.

At the time of writing this, the Dalek Empire series 1 discs, of which this is the first, are nearly ten years or so old. I've found during this time that I can return to them again and again, finding little nuances there not noticed before and easily being drawn into the story. the Daleks are portrayed as scheming, cunning and, well, scary for want of a better word, reminding me of the 1965 "Masterplan" TV epic. The characters are well developed too, in my opinion and you grow to know them well as the series goes on. By DE III, you even get David Tennant as Galanar, shortly before he became the 10th Doctor..

I wholeheartedly recommend these (now) four series of Dalek adventures. Hopefully, buying this first disc will encourage you to buy the others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2009
I had bought previous Big Finish Doctor Who products before but kept away from the spin off. The cover looked cheap and tacky and did not inspire me to purchase, but what a surprise I got when I did. The story is excellent and fast moving. The characters are likeable and you feel for the situations they are in. I recommend this to everyone.
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