Day: August 12, 2023

Indictment: Bitter Grapes (EP4154)

Nat Polen

Today’s Mystery: A  woman’s lover alleges that she was killed by her husband.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: March 24, 1957

Originated from: New York

Starring: Nat Polen as Assistant Distict Attorney Edward McCormick, Jack Arthur, Marjorie Gateson, Elizabeth Lawrence, Bernard Grant, George Petrie, Mason Adams, Guy Rapp

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Join us again tomorrow for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.

Audio Drama Review: Space 1999: Dragon’s Domain

Dragon’s Domain is the Third Box set in British Audio Drama producer Big Finish’s re-imagining of the Gerry Anderson classic series, Space 1999. It stars Mark Bonnar as Commander John Koening, Maria Teresa Creasey as Doctor Helena Russell, Timothy Bentinck as Space Commissioner Simmons, and Glen McCready as Alan Carter.

The series follows the adventures of the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha after the Moon was blown from its orbit and sent into deep space in the events of the two hour adventure Breakaway. Like the previous two box sets, there are three episodes in this set.

First up is “Skull in the Sky.”

After the opening theme, we find ourselves on a very different Alpha than we’re used to. It’s Planet Alpha and Commissioner Simmons is Governor, ruling a semi-Police State after exiling Commander Koenig after the apparent death of Alan Carter. He delivers an oration on the anniversary of his sacrifice that allowed the discovery of water that allowed life to come to the moon.

Things get complicated when an Eagle is spotted…Alan Carter’s Eagle.

This has a nice mystery plot while also allowing the regulars a chance to play slightly different versions of their typical characters. More than that, the series builds to a satisfying, mind-blowing conclusion that leaves listeners and a few of the leads with a lot of questions.

The second story is, “The Godhead Interrogative:”

Dhashka Kano is trying to decode the relic left by the alientZantar at the end of the previous box set. While some think she’s become obsessed, the situation becomes a top priority when a hundred engines attach themselves to the moon and begin pulling off on a course with a strange world.

This is a very solid story with a great sense of mystery with a bit of the vibe of the movie, Arrival.  There are some great, realistic and grounded twists and surprises along the way. It’s emotionally and intellectually engaging. If I had any complaint, it was that Alan Carter got a bit annoying in this episode with his focus on Dhashka’s work habits.

The conclude episode is the titular story, “Dragon’s Domain”

Dragon’s Domain sees Alpha building a ship that could allow them to abandon the moon and return to the wormhole that brought them into deep space. Alan Carter teams up with a French scientist and falls in love as they work the ship and plan a test flight. The test flight leaves…and then everything goes wrong.

This is a solidly packed Sci-Fi story that manages to make a relationship between a main character and a one-off really have an impact while also creating an atmosphere of mystery and terror in deep space. It manages to be suspenseful, and scary without being gory or gratuitous.  It has a realistic time scale which means this story actually takes place over the course of several years.

This time scale does present a few slight problems. Mainly, it seems like for some issues, time has moved forward, while for others, like the relationship between Captain Koenig and Doctor Russell, things seem to have remained at a standstill. Then again, being stuck in deep space. may limit options to force a resolution. One of them can’t exactly request a transfer. Hopefully, the effects of the passage of time are visited in a future box set.
All in all, Dragon’s Domain offer more than a nostalgia high for fans of the original TV series. It’s adult sci-fi at its finest, mixing high concepts, realistic characters, and practical touches that make give this far-fetched premise seem far more realistic, sometimes frighteningly so.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
Dragon’s Domain is available exclusively at Big Finish.