An old enemy waits in the wings to make life hell for Adam and Anne…
The Omega Factor has always been a strong entry point into the worlds of Big Finish. The highly anticipated third series continues that trend with stories ranging from frightful horror movies to thoughtful takes on modern issues. With, of course, the usual supernatural and preternatural topping to enjoy.
Under Glass by Roy Gill
Roy Gill kicks the series off with a brilliant series opener. Gill previously knocked it out of the park with ‘The Changeling’ and he does much the same here. ‘Under Glass’, though up against some very stiff competition, is possibly the strongest story of the set. The story turns myths of magic genies in bottles into a rip-roaring adventure feeling like a creature-feature while parallel universes keep us guessing. Its brilliant stuff and rattles along at a good pace.
The main cast are brilliant as always. Louise Jameson and John Dorney continue to shine as Anne Reynolds and Adam Dean. Jameson particularly seems to delight in the fact that she doesn’t have to lower her voice back to how it was the seventies. Dorney is brilliant too, stealing almost every scene, especially when paired with Lucy Goldie as his girlfriend Claire McTeal. It’s also apparent is that Natasha Gerson has a lot more to do this time, not only returning as the same character she played over forty years ago, Morag, but she also pens a tale in this series. The brilliance of Morag was always that she was unwittingly the right hand of the villainous Drexel and how that’s used in this story is really inventive.
Let Us Play by Natasha Gerson
The second story of the set has been penned by Natasha Gerson, daughter of the series creator. It could have been easy for her to take things back to the past but instead she revels in the new elements. In her writing debut for the series, the script might not be as strong as ‘Under Glass’ but it is still a very original and entertaining tale. Gerson’s story sees the mixture of the supernatural and the digital world collide in a brilliant way. The main conceit of the story has been done before, but the way it’s presented here using the format of The Omega Factor, really elevates the script.
Perhaps the weak link of ‘Let Us Play’ is the demon itself. It sounds intimidating and scary for sure, but it is very hard to understand what it is saying. Without careful attention, then you can easily lose track of where you are in those final scenes.
Phantom Pregnancy by Louise Jameson
Jameson pens her second script in the world of ‘The Omega Factor’ Her previous story, ‘Let the Angel Tell Thee’ was an excellent character piece for Anne, and this story expands it to the relationship between Anne and Adam. It’s important to remember Anne knew Adam’s father, Tom, worked with him and even loved him. Her relationship with Adam is a mixture of a mentor and mother but this is something that is strained over the course of the story.
Jameson’s prose is incredibly thoughtful. The subject matter of this story is very definitely mature and she gets across that adult tone brilliantly. This is far from Jameson’s first work for Big Finish, but ‘Phantom Pregnancy’ proves that her strengths lie with stories that are character-driven and emotional. This is sterling stuff.
Drawn to the Dark by Phil Mulryne
The final story of the series brings the plot threads from the previous series to a satisfying, if slightly confusing, resolution. We know from the end of the second series that Drexel, the original villain, is back on the scene. While this is exciting, Anne having to fend off against his machinations once more after thirty years, the whole thing falls a little flat.
Perhaps this is because of the sound design, there are so many tunnels collapsing, dirt being shifted and explosions that it is hard to really keep track of the characters. And since The Omega Factor has always been strong on character, this undermines it a little. Author Phil Mulryne dismantles the previous set up for the series with an almost surgical precision. Over the course of this series we learn Adam has been spending more time with his daughter and gradually begun to realise just how dangerous work at Department 7 can be. Would it be possible that he might be killed, and his daughter would never see him again? Anne, on the other hand, is a scientist through-and-through; her heart lies with the Department and the good it can do. With the surprising end for Morag, the main trio have been split and pulled apart only time will tell if this is permanent.
Series three is another brilliant inclusion to ‘The Omega Factor’s’ mythos. It is nice that this set is more concerned with dealing with the lives and hearts of our characters more than just throwing them around from one supernatural occurrence to another. All the stories are strong entries and deserve to be listened to. Director Ken Bentley captures the tone of set brilliantly. He gets the best out of his actors and it was nice to hear and see that Natasha Gerson has had a little bit more to do this time around. It is sad to hear that Alan Cox as James Doyle won’t be around on a permanent basis in the future, he was brilliant these last few series. All in all, this is a brilliant set and well worth a listen…
Blogtor Rating: 8/10
3.1 Under Glass by Roy Gill
Adam is moving on with his life, but a new relationship tests him in unexpected ways. Anne’s dealings with a gallery lead her to a macabre exhibit and its owner’s even more macabre fate. Meanwhile, Morag tries desperately to send a warning…
Ambition has a price, and what is trapped will not stay trapped forever…
3.2 Let Us Play by Natasha Gerson
Anne is called by an old acquaintance at Glasgow University, concerned about student welfare. An online developer is employing young people to work on new apps, but their screen-time is having disturbing side-effects.
Soon, Adam is caught in a deadly and addictive game. One where the unwary player has much more to lose than a life…
3.3 Phantom Pregnancy by Louise Jameson
Doyle presents Anne with a psychic prodigy and takes a special interest in her progress. But Adhara is a vulnerable young woman, far from home, and Adam has concerns over Department 7’s duty of care.
As Adhara’s condition becomes apparent, Adam’s health declines. Only Morag knows the true connection – can she reach out and save her friend?
3.4 Drawn to the Dark by Phil Mulryne
Something is buried under Edinburgh’s streets. A dangerous legacy, centuries old. Anne tries to protect the innocents, while Morag and Adam sense a darkness, long-imprisoned, on the verge of release. But they are not the only ones to feel it.
Drexel has returned, and he plans to rise up more powerful than ever before…
Written By: Roy Gill, Natasha Gerson, Louise Jameson, Phil Mulryne
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Louise Jameson (Dr Anne Reynolds), John Dorney (Adam Dean), Natasha Gerson (Morag), Alan Cox (James Doyle), Lucy Goldie (Claire McTeal), Roberta Taylor(Olivia Kirkland), Leighton Pugh (John Gardener), Orion Ben (Adhara Rahul / Nurse), Jamie Newall (Professor Peter Shand), Miranda Keeling (Lucy Williams), Gunnar Cauthery (Edward Milton), Elizabeth Payne (Grace Roberts), Ben Porter(Professor Stephen Wright). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Matt Fitton
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs