This review contains spoilers. Whether it contains an actual review or not is left to the reader...
So, now that I've completed listening to Dreamscape, I should be
writing a review of the story. I should be praising the solid but
unspectacular plot, the excellent acting and direction, the terrific
music and effects. I should be chatting on excited about finally
getting to hear a real Vincent Savage Doctor Who Audio Drama.
Well, I guess I just did.
But what really hit me about this story was what it *meant*, what
it made me think about. I called the plot “unspectacular”, and in a way
it was. Dreamscape is more a character piece than a plot-driven
adventure. There are some *great* characters in this story, and they
are used to great effect in driving home some interesting observations
about, well, about humanity and its destiny....
Imagine driving north, coming to a four-way intersection. The
southern road, the one you just drove up, represents where we are as
a people...violent, prejudiced, etc. Some people, whether by choice or
inertia, are content to stay here, never moving onward: in Dreamscape,
Mr. Colby and his older son Jacob, the Headmaster, and the New Age Shop
proprietor seem to reflect this point of view. To the left lies the
future represented by the alien Akar: peace and love are promised...but
this promise is fulfilled by the removal of mankind's humanity. Joshua
and Professor Taylor take this route, with good intentions; it is
almost too late that they discover the emptiness of the promises made
to them. The Doctor, his companion Mark, and Professor Travis, on the
other hand, want to plow straight ahead. They are skeptics in the good
sense of the word: too often, “skeptics” are those who refuse to
believe anything outside their worldview and experience, but a true
skeptic is one who takes in everything, accepts that which is found
true, and rejects that which is faulty. I really liked the character of
Professor Travers, the way he struggled with what the Doctor presented
him with, the way he ultimately believed a very unlikely tale because,
well, it was the likeliest explanation for what was going on around
him. I wish he had been present at the story's denouement as a
counterpoint to Professor Taylor. But anyway, those who wish to go
straight ahead accept what is around them and change what they
can...the changes they make are good, often heroic, but only
incremental; evolutionary, not revolutionary.
But what of the “right hand turn”. Here we have but one minor
character, who appears for a couple of minutes, then disappears, not to
be heard from again. He is a, well, I'll call him a “born again
Christian”, though “Christ” is never mentioned in this play. This
character, Stephen, has followed a promise opposite to that offered by
Akar. He rejects “peace and love” in any guise but that he has found
promised through God's word.
So a “left turn” is based on a false promise—well, a half-lie,
anyway—and leads to destruction. For the moment, the Doctor has saved
the day by plowing forward...but is his the best solution offered? What
of this “right turn”? Stephen disappears from the story as quickly as
he appeared...is his answer as empty as that of Akar? Or is there
something greater to be found? The question is left unanswered.
There are other issues that this story has led me to ponder as
well. Consider the recent actions of the United States in the
Afghanistan and Iraq. Politics aside, the current thrust of America's
policy is the spread of democracy and human rights...”peace and love”.
America is, in a sense, trying to bring the “Age of Aquarius” to these
two nations. But is America “channelling” the Doctor, or Akar? In
general, to what extent does a people have the right to spread “peace
and love”....and with what tools....and with what promise for the
OK, religion and politics, the two things you're not suppose to
discuss in polite company or audio drama reviews. Well, I'll leave it
to Lighthope to put this review under “Dreamscape” or “incoherent
ramblings of some lunatic”. But I guess I'll attempt to wrap this all
up more-or-less on topic...though Dreamscape has clearly been
re-recorded and/or heavily remastered to meet the standards of the
present day, it is based on a story that was recorded by David Segal
and his band of merry men twenty-plus years ago when they were
teenagers (or thereabouts). So a special kudos to them, for creating a
story that could lead to such ponderings as described above. Dreamscape
is a solid story, well acted, well produced, and enjoyable, a classic
Dr. Who story and a great choice for our first look at the Vincent
Dreamscape is the third story from Vincent Savage's sixth series as The Doctor. It
has a total of three episodes, each with an average total duration. At
present, it is the earliest available story from Doctor Who Audio Drama history.
To begin with, I quite liked the overall plot of the storyline. Even
though an asteriod crashing into Earth is slightly unoriginal, the
serial still manages to convey some thrilling aspects. The fact that
alien necklaces can create a link from humans to mystical forces is a
Since the serial was made very early in Doctor Who Audio Drama history, it must have been extremely difficult to get Dreamscape up to such high standards. Obviously, the serial had to be re-recorded
due to various quality issues, but the actual storyline is what makes a
story successful or not. In this case, the storyline proved to be very
successful! There aren't really that many negative things to discuss.
Both Vincent Savage's Doctor and Mark Newman's character had very good
characterizations. Even though his character hadn't been travelling
with The Doctor for very long, Bryan Dull made an impressive
performance in playing Mark. Vince had already played the part in
twenty-seven stories previously, so he's had much more time to become
one with his character. All other actors who played parts in this
serial were very impressive as well!
How the story unfolds
across the three episodes was very interesting for me. The many
different and varied plot points within the storyline make this so.
Other listeners of Dreamscape can just this particular point for themselves. Although, it's a thumbs up from me!
As a final comment, I think that it was an excellent choice and idea to make Dreamscape the first ever release from the main Vincent Savage era. Hardly any other story, save probably from Portal, would have been as good a choice.