The Dalek Invasion of Earth
Episode / August 5, 2016

Aired 21 November – 26 December 1964 Just as ‘The Daleks’ is arguably the most important post-premiere episode, introducing an incredibly popular foe while showcasing the scope of the programme, ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ is likewise an unequivocally vital story that still has its footprints on the show all these years later. This is the first story to feature a recurring foe, the first story to send off a companion, and the first alien invasion of London itself. Yet despite its iconic status, ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ is also a flawed story, short bursts of progress in plot dampened by long stretches of padding that bear little relevance to the overall story. The Daleks’ testing of the Doctor’s intelligence is an intriguing concept, but they already know that he has an uncanny intelligence beforehand, taking away the dramatic impact that separating him from the others may have had otherwise. Similarly, the Slyther creature at the mines and the reptilian creature in the sewer both serve to heighten the danger but ultimately their appearance and implementation seem rather ineffective, simply another means of extending the story along with several chase and capture sequences. However, using the individual episode tiling…

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…

Phantasmagoria
Episode / February 15, 2016

Released October 1999 ‘Phantasmagoria’ is the second main release offering from Big Finish, a much more traditional affair after the mutli-Doctor tale that preceded it. Mark Strickson joins Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor, making Turlough the first televised companion to reprise his role. He may not be the most iconic of companions to be back first, but Strickson for the most part recaptures the essence of Turlough exceedingly well. The script gives him quite a bit to do directly, and although he doesn’t seem quite as reluctant to help as he did in the series nor quite as critical, he still displays some of the trademark sarcasm and snarkiness that is so unique to his character. In 1702 London, the Doctor and Turlough quickly become embroiled in mysterious goings-on where a highwayman roams the streets, a local occultist has made contact with the dead, and men of good standing are disappearing. Big Finish already appears much more confident in setting the scene compared to the first release, and although there are still periodically some clunky dialogue scenes laden with exposition, everything flows quite efficiently and introduces the Diabola Club and the enigmatic Sir Nikolas Valentine who always seems to hold a…