Doctor Who Review: Omega (2003)

Image links to Big Finish "Omega" site

Doctor: Fifth (Peter Davison)
Companion: None
Writer: Nev Fountain
Released: August 2003
BF Number: 47

Need to Know:
Omega is one of three explorations of classic Doctor Who villains in the build-up to Big Finish’s 50th release (and their 40th anniversary story), Zagreus. Omega is the first of these stories, dealing with the Fifth Doctor’s second battle with the progenitor of the Time Lords’ power.

Omega’s sort of a major villain too. He was first introduced in The Three Doctors as an enemy so powerful that it took all three of the then-current Doctors to battle him back into his second home in the antimatter universe.

Omega, or a version of him call Ohm, also appeared in the Infinity Doctors 35th anniversary novel, featuring a non-descript Doctor on an adventure dealing with the renegade Time Lord on his home turf, maybe for the first time.

The story itself is interestingly paced, and acts as a sort of dissection of the characters. Omega’s origins, backstory, and battles with the Doctor are all recounted, hinted-at, or simply mentioned. There’s a history and power built up in the character as the story progresses and seeing an Omega weakened post-Arc of Infinity helps create a sympathetic aspect to this previously one-note villain. It’s a terrifically interesting and well carried out concept.

Peter Davison is terrific as the Doctor, as always. Free to participate in the story without a companion, Davison brings a slightly different, vaguely unchained aspect to the Fifth Doctor in this story and his interplay with Omega, a legendary Time Lord whom the Doctor idolized, is terrifically communicated through his performance.

Similarly, Ian Collier’s return to the Omega role is a joy to hear. He has this delightfully sinister voice, but he’s able to make Omega sound sympathetic in the early-life scenes on Gallifrey, as well as in the scenes where Omega and Rassilon work together to create modern Time Lord society, each in their own way. To old school Who fans, that last sentence is sort of insane to think about.

Omega is a story that perfectly melds the concepts of myth and legend with a small character story designed to redefine a character. The final scene also helps to propel the story into something perhaps greater than the initial sum of its part. It’s about heroes, how those heroes are perceived, and how we sometimes sweep the dark side of those deified people’s darker sides under the rug for our own sake.

I’m also a fan of the novel Alien Bodies, so the surprise appearance of a Type 103 TARDIS later in the story placed Omega firmly in my good graces.

Should You Buy It?
It’s an interesting story, in that I’m not sure how it’ll work with newcomers to the franchise. If you’ve seen the Three Doctors, Arc of Infinity, or even read The Infinity Doctors and want more Omega, this is a great story for you. If not, you might be lost.

In the parlance of our video show: Your mileage may vary.

I give it four talking TARDISes out of five.



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