This is the fifty fifth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Paul McGann as Eight, India Fisher as Charley Pollard and Conrad Westermaas as new companion C'rizz. It is the fourth in a season of four linked Eighth Doctor stories that follow directly from the events of Zagreus. There are 4 episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.
In this one the Doctor and his companions find themselves in the middle of a rebellion. So far, so Dr. Who. But it soon becomes clear that not all is as it seems, and this is a very strange rebel army indeed. Just what is going on?
The solution to the mystery is interesting, and revealed in a manner that keeps you guessing as layers are peeled away and clues revealed. It's expertly done. It also explores further the dynamics between the Doctor and his two companions, largely through altering people's perceptions so that deeper truths are revealed. And for those of you who don't like clever character development or intelligent story telling there are also moments of real high drama and excitement, with some great cliffhangers.
It's an entertaining tale that doesn't outstay its welcome, and with a little sting in the tale that sets up the next Eighth Doctor season. 5 stars all round for this enjoyable romp with a bit of depth.
excellent story with a nice twist and fantastic acting to boot
i imagined pauls doctor to sound like he did in the movie (check out the park screen) but he didnt and its much better than i thought in fact i enjoy his potrayle after reading two 8th books in wich they are based on pauls doctor i wasent sure what to expect but he makes it so much better
charly and c,rizz
both companions really gel with the doctor and get a lot of stuff to do i loved charls regret over a incident and the army trying to work out c,rizz keep in mind this my first time hearing these two and my first time listing to this tardis crew and i love them
typicle comandos but goth stands out yanto is a hero in my book but the others are very hard to take seriously
i loved the story and the purpose of the iland and caves wow it reminds me of the planet of death (tom baker story) with the jungle amtmosphere the cliffhangners is excellenet as well part one being my fave and for disturbing image part 3
The first thing that grabbed my attention of this particular story, i am sorry to admit, is Micheal Keating as the guest star. My admiration for Blake's 7 (second only to Dr Who) is huge and getting a representative of that series in Who is enough to sell a story to me. (Storm Warning had Gareth Thomas, Spare Parts had Sally Knyvette, The Fearmonger had Jacqueline Pearce, you get the idea.) So, despite having a guest appearance in Who before (he was in Tom Bakers The Sun Makers) Micheal Keating here appears as Major Koth, a rebel leader with a cause, living in a deep cavern with his loyal band of ex-soldiers. Very early on we are told Koth lost his family to a terrorist disease many years previous. So this is a man with a driving force...or is he? The Doctor (McGann is once again excellent), Charley (India Fisher, again brilliant) and newboy C'Rizz (Conrad Westmaas) stumble into this new zone (not new planet, note - there is something very strange going on in this new universe -) and immediately start to unravel certain things that we all know will lead to a great climax. What is the secret of the cave system? What is the strange protein mixture everyone is eating, which grows on cold walls, which seems to devour people in the lower levels? Where is Koth's huge psionic influence over people coming from? The Twilight Kingdom's conclusion comes with no surprise, i had it sussed from part two. However, the force of its conclusion and its underlying terror is great. Its a tad cliche but pulled off in a fashion that rises it above retreading an idea. The voices are all excellent, Keating in particular. Koth is not your two dimensional bad guy and all the better for it. C'Rizz is sidelined somewhat - this is more of a Doctor story. Which brings me to an interesting thought - Charley, under the psionic influence, betrays the Doctor's true identity at one point. Is this a warning of her confusion as to the Doctor's integrity in this new universe? He is still part-Zagreus after all. She may seem to trust him but is this a long-term staple? The characterisation is brilliant and gripping and i hope it will continue. Some words by the Kro-ka also enhance the running darkness of this new universe and its inhabitants. Oh, and to top it off, the drama (and the season) ends with a single word, said with such drive and menace that you are begging for more. Brilliant.
"The blood of innocents has been spilt - a terrible sequence of events has been set in motion. The forces of darkness are on the move.
"Deep underground, an army of light prepares itself for the oncoming war.
"The Doctor's used to winning. Stumbling in, reading the face of the enemy, and then beating the odds... but what if this time he's got it wrong? Charley and C'rizz think he has.
"Stripped of all that is familiar, just who is the Doctor? Major Koth thinks he knows.
"Lost among the dark caverns of an unknown world, has the Doctor finally met his match?"
For the Eighth Doctor's fourth adventure in the Divergent Universe, Big Finish productions once again plays down the unique potential of a universe without time and gives us another "Doctor Who by numbers" type of outing. Thankfully, it's better at least than "The Creed of the Kromon".
Will Shindler's script start with a classic "Doctor Who" story conceit - the Doctor and one of his companions are caught by a group of soldiers whilst standing over the murdered body of one of their colleagues, and are arrested and taken into custody. Once within the underground base of what turns out to be a resistance army, the Doctor's companions begin to sympathise with the rebels' cause, whilst the Doctor begins to doubt the motives of the rebel leader. A rift enseues between the Doctor and his companions, as Charley and C'rizz believe the Doctor to be searching for a malign influence that isn't there - searching for a monster to fight, as if that's all he knows how to do.
Unfortunately, the potential that this concept creates for an interesting character study is wasted as there is little to convince the listener that the Doctor is behaving erratically or out of desperation. Rather, it is the companions who seem to be at fault (yet again Conrad Westmaas' new companion C'rizz gets little chance to shine here, as he falls under the influence of the rebels and is very quickly sidelined). Paul McGann and India Fisher do their best with the material, but there's little particularly groundbreaking or involving about the way the story and characters develop, apart from a few gross-out moments towards the end (marred by the use of overly descriptive dialogue). "The Twilight Kingdom" is okay, but from Big Finish Productions, who often spoil us with their innovative and dramatic stories, we have come to expect more.