In April 2017, ‘The Omega Factor’ will return to Big Finish with its second series, a set of four new adventures for Dr. Reynolds and Adam Dean. So, there has never been a better time but now to look back at their previous audio adventures.
‘The Omega Factor’ is one of those television shows that many adults will have heard of, they may even remember watching it in 1979. But it only lasted 10 episodes before it fell under the eye of Mary Whitehouse. No more episodes were made after that. And that is a shame because if these audio adventures are anything to go by, there were plenty of stories waiting to be told.
While the original series is available on DVD, it is a sadly overlooked piece of 1970s television. But thanks to Big Finish, ‘The Omega Factor’ is back to terrify a new type of audience.
To please fans of the original series, Louise Jameson and Natasha Gerson are back as Dr. Anne Reynolds and Morag respectively. They are joined by John Dorney as Adam Dean, the son of Tom Crane who assisted Reynolds in the original series. But one doesn’t need to have any knowledge of the show the first time around as this set feels specifically designed to attract newcomers.
Louise Jameson seems to fall back into the role of Anne Reynolds as if she has never been away despite not playing the character for over thirty years. Jameson is particularly brilliant here because she doesn’t have to turn her voice back to how it was thirty years ago, instead, the stories take place in the present day and John Dorney is brilliant as Adam Dean, the son of Reynold’s old acquaintance, Tom Crane. What is interesting is that Adam doesn’t idolise his father. Instead, he never really knew him and it is interesting to hear both Reynold’s and his own perspective concerning his elusive father.
The first story from Series 1, ‘From Beyond’ written by Matt Fitton, does a particularly brilliant job of introducing the modern world to the mythology of ‘The Omega Factor’, with many television shows available to watch which focus on similar subject matters, this series manages to stand on its own two feet. In fact, this episode, despite being an offshoot of the main series, feels much like a pilot episode and it does everything a pilot episode should do. There is an interesting storyline which doesn’t require the audience to know either what has gone before or what is going on, it also gives us a few plot threads which continue throughout the set, resolved during later stories.
The Old Gods
Louise Jameson and John Dorney continue their top-notch performances in Phil Mulryne’s, ‘The Old Gods’, the second story of the set. This really feels like a good, old-fashioned story, with our team investigating goings-on at a reclusive facility. In many ways, this is closest the set gets to doing something along the lines of a television episode.
The set continues to up the ante into the third instalment, ‘Legion’ from the pen of Cavan Scott, which brings back Morag. Of course, this was the inevitable exorcism tale that any product concerning the paranormal must tackle at some point. But rather than being a straightforward removal of a demon from an unwilling host tale, it lets us see what would happen if the exorcist themselves were corrupt.
The Hollow Earth
The final tale is Ken Bently’s, ‘The Hollow Earth’ which works almost as a standalone tale, seemingly oblivious to what happened in the previous three episodes. This manages to work, mainly because the series needed a breather and this is an interesting finale. Now, with a second series on the way, we have something new to look forward too. Had this series not been the hit it was, ‘The Hollow Earth’, would have worked brilliantly not only as a finale for this boxset but to ‘The Omega Factor’ franchise too.
THE OMEGA FACTOR BY JACK GERSON
Released slightly before the first set of stories, was an audiobook version of the original novel by Jack Gerson, read by Louise Jameson. The audiobook doesn’t really contribute anything to the main series except to give you a better understanding of the characters. With Louise Jameson, the book is in safe hands, she has the perfect voice to tell this kind of ghostly tale. She handles the material with care. Through the way, she tells the tale, there is some vivid imagery and is a good way to spend a few hours.
Glorious Ghost Stories
Both initial releases are thoroughly enjoyable. They may not present anything particularly new to fans of the horror genre but they don’t really need too. When handled as superbly as these sets are, old can feel new. The main set is helped along with some really brilliant performances from the guest cast, including Terry Molloy, Natasha Gerson and Tracy Wiles.
In fact, if these stories prove anything, it is that these ghostbusters don’t need proton packs, or to drive an Impala to be relevant. Dr. Anne Reynolds is back, joined by Adam Dean and it is glorious!
BLOGTOR RATING: 10/10
Big Finish – The Omega Factor is now available to buy from the Big Finish website.
Over thirty years have passed since Tom Crane left Department 7, a top secret organisation that investigates the paranormal.
Anne Reynolds now runs the operation, and for three decades their enigmatic nemesis Omega has been silent.
But that peace is about to be shattered. When Crane’s son Adam is drawn into Department 7, the past quickly catches up with Anne and her team…
1: From Beyond by Matt Fitton
Dr Anne Reynolds finds her life’s work under threat as Department 7 faces review. Is there really any place for paranormal investigation in government? Help arrives from an unlikely source, as a young man comes to Edinburgh looking for answers. Adam Dean holds a connection to Anne’s past, which will open the doors of perception and take them down a new and disturbing path…
2: The Old Gods by Phil Mulryne
Looking into Tom Crane’s legacy, Anne and Adam investigate a remote community, isolated from the distractions of the twenty-first century. As Anne fights to justify Department 7’s existence, Adam begins to learn how dangerous his new life can be. For when the world is stripped of the trappings of today, only the old gods are left to rule it…
3: Legion by Cavan Scott
Exorcism is alive and well and making a healthy profit in modern Scotland. As one practitioner’s unsavoury methods are called to account, a terrible force threatens to be unleashed.
While Anne follows the trail left by Tom Crane, Adam hears a voice from his father’s past calling for help – but what will it cost him if he chooses to answer?
4: The Hollow Earth by Ken Bentley
A church is meant to be a place of sanctuary. Of peace. Of protection. But when Anne and Adam look into disappearances among the homeless of one Southside parish, they find themselves trapped and terrified within the walls of St Nicholas as all hell breaks loose around them…
Written By: Matt Fitton, Phil Mulryne, Cavan Scott, Ken Bentley
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Matt Fitton
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Louise Jameson (Anne Reynolds/Demon), John Dorney (Adam Dean/James/Volunteer 2), Alan Cox (James Doyle/Beast/Ian Raskin/New Orderly), Sandra Voe (Mary McConnell), Natasha Gerson (Morag), Tracy Wiles (Reverend Lucy Douglas/Angie), Terry Molloy (Edmund Fennick/Malcolm McConnell/Chief Superintendent Malcolm Wade), Camilla Power (Dr Jane Wyatt/Presenter), Kate Bracken (Elinor Gordon/Volunteer 1), Georgie Glen (Wanda Maccrum/Demon), Hilary Maclean (Dr Jacqueline Everson/Samntha Matheson/Demon/Clerk), Derek Hutchinson (Fraser Kirkland/Peter/Orderly 2), Laura Dos Santos (Lorraine Armstong/Jill)