UNIT: Assembled
Audio / May 26, 2017

Released May 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW Through three boxsets, the UNIT audio range has already established itself as one of Big Finish’s most enthralling and engaging, perfectly blending the mannerisms and sensibilities of both classic and modern Doctor Who while proving more than capable of standing tall without the help of the wayward Time Lord. For the much-anticipated fourth set of stories, UNIT: Assembled seamlessly brings together members of both eras of UNIT, highlighting the similarities that span generations as Earth’s original ruling denizens once more awaken to wreak havoc. Matt Fitton’s ‘Call to Arms’ opens the set on a more reflective and personal note to allow the audience to become at least somewhat familiar with the post-UNIT lives of John Levene’s John Benton and Richard Franklin’s Mike Yates, the two who quite explicitly serve as a doorway to the much beloved Third Doctor era of Doctor Who here. As characters and Doctors move on, it’s rare to revisit past companions and acquaintances, especially in their more mature years, but even taking the small step to reveal that Benton moved on from selling cars to owning a pub is a welcome piece of information that further defines such a well-liked…

UNIT: Silenced
Audio / December 1, 2016

Released November 2016 The Silents and their fascinating history as genetically-engineered confessional priests with rogue elements within their ranks are unquestionably some of the strongest highlights of the modern televised era of Doctor Who. With a frighteningly iconic appearance and the chilling abilities to subliminally implant ideas while they themselves are instantly forgotten the moment they are out of sight, the Silence made an instant impact and presented the Doctor with one of his most unique and difficult challenges yet when introduced in ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ and ‘The Day of the Moon.’ UNIT: Silenced wisely does not shy away from the fallout of those episodes, instead picking up the tale of the remaining Silents who have been forced into hiding after accidentally commanding their own deaths whenever seen. UNIT: Silenced is structured a bit differently than most of box sets in Big Finish’s many ranges, neither telling four disparate tales nor four tightly-intertwined tales leading directly into each other. Instead, there is a definite sense of time passing throughout this release, lending credibility to just how incredibly difficult fighting a foe that can’t be remembered is while also highlighting the burgeoning strength of the Silents as their increasingly complex and…

UNIT: Shutdown
Audio / July 25, 2016

Released June 2016 In a year without a new series of the televised Doctor Who, Big Finish is keeping the modern world alive with the continuing adventures of UNIT headed by Kate Stewart with the help of scientific adviser Osgood. Following the astronomical positive success of UNIT: Extinction and the return of the Autons, expectations were incredibly high for UNIT: Shutdown and the introduction of the new foe the Tengobushi. Bolstered by incredibly strong performances and action-packed sequences, Shutdown continues the darker tones of the original box set while increasing the sort of shadowy tension that a covert international group would necessarily entail. Shutdown begins with Matt Fitton’s ‘Power Cell,’ a tense piece of character development that sets up the threat and intrigue. Kate becomes entwined with Lyme Industries and its leader Felicity Lyme who has come into possession of a rather powerful piece of alien technology. It’s clear from the start that Lyme Industries is more than it seems as a leader in energy research, and its connections with high-ranking government officials is certainly unsettling, but the subtle exploration into the goings-on behind the scenes is very effective and forms a suitably strong backbone for the introductory story among…

The Zygon Inversion
Episode / March 7, 2016

Aired 7 November 2015 Writer Peter Harness certainly set himself up a difficult task with all of the differing plot points he set up that needing resolving at the end of ‘The Zygon Invasion,’ but he masterfully proves to be up to the task and offers one of the strongest instalments of Doctor Who in recent memory. That’s saying a lot considering how strong the entire Capaldi era has been so far. Gone is any lingering stereotype of what a family programme should and should not do, for on full display is a lesson on politics, war, and tolerance. Undoubtedly many viewers will disagree with this approach, but it’s a bold path for the programme to take, and one that it can’t shy away from forever considering how often the Doctor comes up against evil in some form. Following a clever resolution to a rather tight cliffhanger, the episode quickly picks up momentum never looks back. Last episode, for the first time this series, Capaldi’s Doctor was not front and centre, but that is certainly not the cases this time. In fact, Capaldi unequivocally gives his best performance in the role yet, highlighted by one enrapturing monologue that grows more…

The Zygon Invasion
Episode / March 6, 2016

Aired 31 October 2015 Right from the start it’s apparent that this is going to be a big story, both in terms of scope and continuity. Picking up some of the lingering plot threads from the fiftieth anniversary adventure ‘The Day of the Doctor,’ there’s quite a long exposition sequence to catch viewers up before the story then goes on to- still before the credits even begin- explain that Ingrid Oliver’s Osgood is back as the latest in an increasing line of hybrids this series has featured. Also returning, though, are the Zygons, and the focus is solely on the shape-shifting creatures for the first time since their debut in ‘Terror of the Zygons.’ As it turns out, quite a lot has happened on Earth in the past couple of years and, with a leap of faith, the Zygons have brokered a peace treaty with humanity that allows 20 million or so of them to live amongst humans in secret. Both sides seem to know just how inherently tenuous and fragile the treaty is, and perhaps it’s fitting that there is a ‘Nightmare Scenario’ codename prepared. The action picks up immediately, offering little time for any character or viewer to…

Death in Heaven
Episode / February 21, 2016

Aired 8 November 2014 If there was any fear going into ‘Death in Heaven’ that the scope, ambition, tension, and potential consequences built up in ‘Dark Water’ would be more tempered, those qualms were quickly put to rest. With a sheer disregard for life, Missy brutally racks up the kill count right from the start, adding an audacious emotional weight that Doctor Who rarely explores since so often its characters are so strongly protected. The most distressing death came at the hands of Missy as she callously murdered Osgood, returning from her fan-favourite stint in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ while decked in an outfit boasting callbacks to both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. It’s a testament to Ingrid Oliver that her character garners so much loyalty and emotion in such a short time frame. Missy’s deplorable actions were hardly limited to Osgood, though. Kate Stewart gets thrown out of a plane, Seb is gunned down, Colonel Ahmed is sucked out the plane, and even the Doctor is left plummeting to his doom. Doctor Who is no stranger to providing some interesting, and sometimes eccentric solutions to its predicaments and impending death scenes, and that certainly is the case here.…

UNIT: Extinction
Audio / January 26, 2016

With the release of the UNIT: Extinction boxset, Big Finish boldly enters the world of modern Doctor Who. Featuring both Kate Stewart and Osgood from the current incarnation of UNIT on-screen and pitting them against the classic Autons again bent on world domination, Extinction is a fantastic first venture that constantly ups the stakes and gives us more insight and background into these delightful characters. UNIT on television is not always portrayed as the most competent of organizations, often times giving way to the Doctor or his companion in order to showcase that individual’s strengths. In audio format, though, UNIT is rightfully and unabashedly portrayed as the strong group it is so clearly meant to be, a true last line of defense for an otherwise defenseless Earth. Of course, two members of UNIT alone cannot carry an entire four episodes that quickly build up a truly global threat and so we are necessarily introduced to several new characters. Captain Carter and Colonel Shindi, in particular, are striking additions to the team, and the writing helps give the sense that each and every member of UNIT is as important as the next. Right from the get-go, Extinction moves along at a…