Review by Michael Goleniewski
Cycle of Destruction by Roy Gill
“Cycle of Destruction” continues the “Dalek Universe” adventures with an audio counterpart to “House of Kingdom” from the prior set but this time focusing on the other component of this saga’s main trio. Roy Gill’s script wastes no time in jumping right back into the fray, albeit in a way that feels more like a necessary diversion rather than a substantial addition to the main thrust of the arc. The premise is a strong one overall and it’s nice to see Mark himself get the same amount of attention and backstory that Anya did previously. But the plot and writing contain tons of technical exposition that (while interesting in how it handles the aspects of the ALARK facility and the intensive lives of the people working within it) grinds the pacing and excitement at hearing these characters again to a screeching halt. Still, the writing also touches on deeper questions as to the nature of Mark Seven and the androids themselves as well as contains major flashbacks to Mark Seven’s past which is as harrowing as one would expect. It’s in those moments and in the tension between members of the TARDIS team as to how and why they got there in the first place that the story truly shines and not necessarily in the immediate details of what’s going on in the plot. Continue reading
Review by Jacob Licklider
The Dalek Protocol started off the Dalek Universe miniseries with a fairly standard but enjoyable tale with no real connection to what would become the series at least based on the first set. And a day later, Dalek Universe begins itself properly with the first three stories in the miniseries being released to acclaim. To make what’s most likely going to be a long review short, Dalek Universe 1 is a brilliant start to the miniseries and if you haven’t already, go do yourself a favour and buy it. This is one of those sets that I cannot critically evaluate without losing my restraint on spoilers so from this point forward. You have been warned. Each installment of Dalek Universe 1 is truly part of a miniseries, blending together which helps as two of the episodes are from John Dorney, and the third deals with the character fallout from the previous two episodes before moving along to what will eventually become the conclusion of the set while transitioning into the second set. An interesting note, this set barely features the Daleks, like The Dalek Protocol before it, they are an off-screen presence bar a few scenes, the writers instead electing for setting this around the time of The Daleks’ Master Plan and dragging the Tenth Doctor out of time into his own personal timeline.
Review by Jacob Licklider
Hype is an interesting phenomenon. When Big Finish Productions announced Dalek Universe, of course there was going to be hype: it’s three whole box sets starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, the return of Anya Kingdom, and a two-hour Fourth Doctor prologue with Leela and K9 to boot. This is the type of release that is designed to build hype, yet now that it is April and the first release is out, The Dalek Protocol starring Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, and John Leeson, and some of the trouble with extreme hype is that is can actually put off listeners. For The Dalek Protocol it is imperative that before you purchase or listen, you understand that it was never actually intended to be part of a bigger series. Recorded in 2018, the behind the scenes on the release are enlightening as Nicholas Briggs was simply commissioned to do what he loves and tribute Death to the Daleks while bringing back Anya Kingdom. This means that the ending of the story feels final, the Doctor and Anya don’t get to reunite which is important as the Doctor hasn’t even met her yet, and that there really aren’t apparent threads which will be carrying over to Dalek Universe proper. As a part of the series, it seems the most disconnected which is fine as it was never written to be a part of a greater whole, so listeners should be wary of those expectations before going in as you will not enjoy it nearly as much when that is in play.