Review – ‘Doctor Who: Masters of Earth’ The Sixth Doctor Can’t Save us From the Daleks

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193_masters_of_earth_cover_largeThe year is 2163. Ten years since the Daleks invaded the Earth. One year until the Doctor, in his first incarnation, will help bring the occupation to an end. But for now, their reign of terror goes on.

The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Peri to Scotland – enslaved, like everywhere else on the planet. But there are rumours of Dalek-free islands off its coast. Places where resistors and refuseniks are coming together, gathering arms and armour, preparing to strike back against the enemy.

When the Doctor falls in with an unlikely group of freedom fighters making that dangerous journey to Orkney, he finds himself trapped – but not only by the Daleks, their robotised henchmen and their human collaborators.

By history.

Because history shows that for another year, resistance is useless…

The rebellion must fail – and as a Time Lord, the Doctor can do nothing to help.

Big Finish does it again, continuing the adventures of Colin Baker‘s sixth incarnation of our favorite rogue Time Lord. I have been loving the audio adventures, and am always excited to get the new Colin Baker stories as they are always redefining this Doctor in wonderful ways. The way this Doctor’s relationship with Peri (Nicola Bryant) has matured and softened is one of the best things Big Finish have done, and the way they work with and off of each other is refreshing. The Doctor is bold and heroic, and rarely brash or mean spirited. You can hear it in his voice that he is struggling with not getting involved, and Baker’s performance makes you believe it. I was never a fan of the sixth Doctor or Peri, and Big Finish has shown that to be due to the writers back then, as these audios continue to prove that Baker and Bryant are brilliant together. This is the sixth Doctor series as it should have been.

The rest of the cast shines as well, with director Nicholas Briggs bringing out the best in everyone once again. The chemistry as they try to work together to survive is wonderfully natural, making every actor’s performance eminently believable. And Briggs as the Daleks as well as Robomen? Always brilliant. Speaking of Daleks, to me Dalek stories are a dime a dozen, and oftentimes can be boring, but this story finds an interesting angle, keeping it fresh and intriguing, while adding a sense of continuity as well. Mark Wright and Cavan Scott deliver a fresh script full of interesting ideas and nods to past stories that don’t seem tacked on. They must have had a blast playing in the days leading up to classic first Doctor adventure, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, adding to that story while not having to butt up against it too much.

The soundtrack worked perfectly with the story in so many ways, seeming almost like a nod to those classic first Doctor Dalek stories, and adding to the tension without distracting you from the story like some other audios can. Likewise, the foley team should be applauded. Their background noise really helps to immerse you into the story without realizing it’s even there. Close your eyes and you’ll feel the wet mud at your feet, the wind from a landing Dalek ship on your face, and the fear of the Varga plants as they come for your blood. I know exactly what I’m going to get with a Nicholas Briggs directed audio, and Masters of Earth is one of his best.

Written By: Mark Wright and Cavan Scott
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
The Doctor: Colin Baker
Peri: Nicola Bryant
Moira Brody: Tracy Wiles
Alan Weir: Brian McCardie
Ross Nicolson: Sean Biggerstaff
Kyle Inskip: Hugh Ross
Curbishly: Damian Lynch
The Daleks/Roboman: Nicholas Briggs

 

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