Well, I'm not doing horror yet as I've been listening to a bunch of audios. I am sad to hear of the passing of Maggie Stables, who plays the superb audio companion Evelyn Smythe. Her performances were great and she shall be missed. Today, I head back to the Fourth Doctor Adventures.
The Energy of the Daleks (2012) By: Nicholas Briggs
The Doctor and Leela land in 2025 and find themselves in the middle of a protest. The chief protester claims his old friend has betrayed their ideals by selling out their free energy plan to the companies. The Doctor and Leela are separated when some rather robotic security officers break up the rally. The Doctor detects some familiar energy, and Leela has her first encounter with some of the Doctor's oldest foes.
The Fourth Doctor rarely faced off against the Daleks on his TV appearances, and Leela never saw them. Therefore, this adventure has some high expectations on it. Sadly, the author didn't really think about it that way. Nicholas Briggs has stated that he wanted to put the Fourth Doctor in a more traditional Dalek story, i.e. without Davros. If I'd know that before listening, I'd have come in with much lower expectations.
The Fourth Doctor brings his A game! This was Tom Baker's first recorded story with Big Finish, and he didn't phone it in. The Doctor is so far above the threat that he seems nigh untouchable. Fortunately, he makes it all worth it by quipping his way though the whole story.
Leela also shines with some great dialogue. Her savage nature gets some love by being shown as a personal strength. She also shows a strong belief in friendship that helps our observer get through his conflict.
Jack Coulson is an energy protester who worked with the new CEO of the Globesphere Corporation. He also puts a strong performance: companion worthy even. He has to live in the world left by the Doctor, and that allows his actions to shine even more. He's credulous of the Doctor, but does what he must to save his world and, more importantly, his friend.
The Daleks' plan is slightly better than hollowing the earth and driving it around. The Robo-Men reappear, and they are really more threatening than the Daleks. So, the Doctor faces off against stupid Daleks and does it effortlessly. Any monster could have been put here, and, given the themes of humanity vs. automitization and spirit winning over control, it probably would have been a superior Cyberman story. This is not a good Dalek story.
Things move a little fast which is typical of the 'Adventures' two parters (Eighth or Fourth). The world of 2025 is effective even if we only see a street, a building, and a moonbase. The Daleks seemed especially screechy for some reason though.
In the End
A strong, character grounded end. The ending is surprisingly satisfying due to the characters bringing it and owning it.
This story is a below average story that's elevated by the charismatic performances from the entire cast. This episode defines characters raising a mediocre plot. The story does have some strong plot for Leela, and it's always nice to hear the Doctor praise her. Listen to this one for the characters.
Buy it here from Big Finish.