Here it is! The first of the licensed Doctor Who “New Series” releases from Big Finish. Now since this first one was announced a SLEW of New Series things have been licensed and okayed but New Series UNIT was the first and when it was announced I was so excited. I knew this would open the door for more “new who” and it’s the perfect kind of thing for Big Finish to start with. Take incredible characters like Kate Stewart and Osgood and develop them? Yep that has Big Finish written all over it, character development is Big Finish’s bag and they are so good at it. This first release was no slouch either UNIT- Extinction is a box set release containing a whopping 5 discs of content (four discs of story one disc of bonus content).
Ready or not here we go!
The solicit from Big Finish:
“In this four-story box set, Kate Stewart, Osgood and the UNIT team confront an alien invasion by the Nestene Consciousness and its army of plastic Autons…
1. Vanguard by Matt Fitton
While UNIT attend a ‘skyfall’ incident under the eyes of watchful journalists, reclusive billionaire Simon Devlin is planning a product launch that will change the world…
2. Earthfall by Andrew Smith
Lieutenant Sam Bishop and Osgood are deployed to the Gobi desert in search of a Nestene energy unit. But there are Autons in the sand dunes…
3. Bridgehead by Andrew Smith
Captain Josh Carter has gone undercover inside Devlin Futuretech. But his safety is jeopardised by the activities of investigative journalist Jacqui McGee.
4. Armageddon by Matt Fitton
As UNIT leads the fightback on every front, every continent, against an implacable army, Kate Stewart must look to the past for some clue to defeat the plastic menace.”
First off two names you should definitely recognize are Matt Fitton and Andrew Smith.
Matt Fitton writes TONS of stuff for Big Finish and a lot of them wind up being my favorites. They chose Matt for this project because he is well versed in the New Doctor Who Series (this may be why I tend to love his scripts because he brings modern sensibilities to Classic Doctors and I love that).
They chose Andrew Smith (veteran Doctor Who scribe of Classic TV episode Full Circle, and scribe of a number of Big Finish greats like Mistfall) because he took a break from writing for 25 years to work in the British Police Force so he understands the procedural side of a group like UNIT. Also, he’s such a Doctor Who pro why wouldn’t you want him on a project like this?
They could not have chosen two more capable writers to take on a project as important as this.
This epic story pits UNIT and really the whole of earth against Autons emboldened by the Nestene consciousness itself. We’ve seen the Autons try this whole world domination thing before so what’s so special about this time? Well how about the timely inclusion and obsession with 3D printers for starters. This story centers around really affordable and quality 3D printers being prevalent around the globe allowing Autons to literally print themselves in many locations around the world all at once! I would not have believed that the Autons could prove to be the same kind of threat to the world as the Daleks or the Cybermen have been but this story had them operating on a massive scale and in such a diabolically clever way! In my mind’s eye I could see full armies of marching Autons and that is quite a thought!
They had to expand the UNIT roster a bit some of the Characters we obviously know from the TV episodes and a few that we don’t. It started to feel a bit like Doctor Who meets Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD but it definitely worked.
If I have a complaint… it’s that maybe 4 discs of story was a bit long. I think this was an epic tale and it warranted more than 2 discs but by disc 3-4 I started wondering when it would kind of wrap itself up. Don’t get me wrong this was a great story but it’s not one I suggest doing in a marathon sitting of… I wouldn’t binge listen this one.
Usually for a box set review I like to break down each disc because I’ve gotten used to box sets where the stories tie together but they have an element of stand alone but this one was all one tale. So in lieu of a disc by disc breakdown here’s my list of things I like:
- Casting was perfect every character felt real and not at all wooden.
- The music and Theme were incredible (my only complaint there is that the news report theme in part 3 got a little redundant after a while but other than that the music really added)
- The Technology was really fun I had the feeling that Osgood was very much cutting edge as far as developing things they’d use in the field
- The references to the Doctor and the Brigadier were done tastefully and not overdone
- The threat of the Autons felt real, and felt real clever.
This was a very well executed box set if not a touch long winded I’d give this box set a very respectable 4 out of 5 stars.
Were you excited when you heard the news that Big Finish was going to start offering Modern Doctor Who releases? Or do you wish they’d just focus on the classics and let the BBC deal with the new stuff? If you are looking forward to these new releases which ones are you most excited about? Let me know what you think in the comments below or by shooting us a message to letters(at)grawlixpodcast.com.