The first and eighth Doctor stories in this collection were truly excellent. I had a hard time getting into the seventh Doctor story—Sophie Aldred’s i...moreThe first and eighth Doctor stories in this collection were truly excellent. I had a hard time getting into the seventh Doctor story—Sophie Aldred’s impression of Sylvester McCoy threw me a bit—and the sixth Doctor story didn’t feel right for his character, to me. Overall, however, each tale worked really well. I was surprised by the ability to present such well thought out and moving stories with such brevity.(less)
For those jumping into this one as a 7th Doctor story, it isn't McCoy's best. The story has three elements Nicholas Briggs uses all too often in the D...moreFor those jumping into this one as a 7th Doctor story, it isn't McCoy's best. The story has three elements Nicholas Briggs uses all too often in the Dalek Empire series: an unnecessary framing narrative, a significant shift in time with too little time for the listener to feel comfortable with the shift, and non-linear elements that don't make sense when they are initially presented. In addition, the Doctor is almost a secondary character throughout the story.
That being said, as a Dalek Empire short, this story is fantastic. Taking place sometime early in the first season of Dalek Empire, Susan Mendes and Kalendorf are prisoners behind enemy lines, fighting to minimize the damage done by the Daleks, while both working for the Daleks and planning an ultimate rebellion. For the Doctor, this takes place late in his 7th incarnation, and presents a tale that, for him, is a direct sequel to the events of television episode, Planet of the Daleks. For the Daleks, this appears to be both a sequel to those events, and a prequel to the events of the comic story, Emperor of the Daleks.
It was refreshing to have secondary characters take the lead in a Doctor Who story, without becoming the simpletons in need of the Doctor's help that show up far too often. Additionally, as a fan of the Dalek Empire story, it's always nice to see ties back to the Dalek stories outside of that series. The relationship between Susan and Kalendorf stays true to who they were during this time in the Dalek Empire series, but the story does a fine job of hinting at Kalendorf's willingness to fight the Daleks at all cost. And, while the Dalek Empire clichés are a bit annoying, they've never succeeded in quite the way they do here. The non-linear element simply bookends the story, and the framing narrative actually serves to assists in the movement of time, rather than simply annoy.
It could have been a better Doctor Who story, but as a crossover story, Briggs does quite a good job.(less)
Imagine the Library from Silence in the Library, but on a wetter version of a planet suspiciously similar to Kembel from Daleks' Master Plan. The arch...moreImagine the Library from Silence in the Library, but on a wetter version of a planet suspiciously similar to Kembel from Daleks' Master Plan. The archaeologists in this story are more of treasure hunters (one of which sounds unfortunately similar to Ace), the librarians are still around (despite the library being quite empty), and the Daleks are the baddies... mostly. Anyway, toss in the 7th Doctor and Ace, and you have The Genocide Machine.
Plus side, there is an underlying plot that goes beyond the fairly standard storyline. I felt that plot was given too little time, but McCoy does a fine job of ensuring we understand its importance. Also, Sophie Aldred is at the top of her game. Having heard her as both the young Ace, the older soldier Ace, and now a Dalek copy of herself... I have to say I'm quite impressed by her acting chops. The story wraps up quickly, and does a fine job of being both nostalgic and introducing the Dalek Empire plot. Not the best McCoy, Ace, or Dalek story by far, but well worth a listen.(less)
It isn't surprising that a story with the 7th Doctor sometime just prior to the TV Movie would be the darkest of the Excelis Trilogy. I mean, this is...moreIt isn't surprising that a story with the 7th Doctor sometime just prior to the TV Movie would be the darkest of the Excelis Trilogy. I mean, this is the Doctor that destroyed an entire planet to kill off the race of his greatest enemy (although the Last Great Time War suggests he didn't completely fulfill that mission). This time round another familiar face arrives through Lord Vaughan Sutton (as played by Anthony Stewart Head) a man with a history tied to Excelis almost as long as the Doctor's own. But, if Sutton's plan succeeds, Excelis will be trapped in eternal war.
Unfortunately, the story moves too fast and rests too much on the laurels of the previous two plots. That along with a secondary plot that gets lost in the chaos of the climax, the story isn't as good as it could have been. Still, McCoy is on his best game. The Doctor who is “far more than a mere Time Lord” can be felt, the TARDIS is newly remodeled into its TV Movie incarnation, and there are more Rs rolled in this audio than in some full episodes of the series. It could have been better, and doesn't quite live up to the previous two stories, but this conclusion is well worth the ride.(less)