What with the Earth being the central hub of nefarious alien plans, it seems only fair that it has some protectors. But what happens when the Avengers or the Defenders or Superman or Buffy happen to not exist?
It’s very simple, you call on UNIT to do what they’ve always done best-keep everyone protected.
UNIT: Extinction begins an exciting new faze for Big Finish productions, the merging of Doctor Who both old and new, in this case an older format of storytelling with the post 2005 iteration injected in to give it some welly. The result, as one would expect, is something tremendous.
Steven Moffat’s era of Doctor Who is certainly one that is filled to the brim with characters that are full spin off ‘fodder’. From the Paternoster gang, to the further adventures of River Song and now including the possibility that out there in the Whoniverse, somewhere, Clara Oswald and Me are saving planets in their brand new classic TARDIS. Out of all of those newly born players however, one Doctor Who gang has remained a fully grown organism for nearly fifty years: UNIT. From Colonel Lethbridge Stuart to his daughter Kate, UNIT has been safely and successfully guarding the Earth from dangerous alien incursions whilst the Doctors been swaggering around the Universe saving planets and generally being brilliant at the same time.
The Doctor can’t always be there to help Kate, Osgood and their colleagues but don’t worry about that, because UNIT: Extinction proves that they can more than take care of themselves (and everyone else) when the chips are down.
Extinction finds UNIT slap bang in the middle of an Auton invasion, and what an invasion it is. Sleek, scary, menacing, exciting and relentless, the Nestenes in this story have never been so smart or so ingenious. The moment that you hear their weapons arming, you know that this is the perfect mix of new and old. Whilst television may have no place for endless spin-offs, Big Finish can provide the sound that we’ve all been looking for.
Jemma Redgrave, Ingrid Oliver, Warren Brown, Ramon Tikaram and James Joyce are all splendid and tremendous in their roles, helping to bring further colour to UNIT and help build a team of noteworthy characters, ones that you care for and invest in.
A special mention must be paid to Steve John Shepherd, who not only ties the entire adventure together but also lights up every moment of this story. He oozes charm at the right moments and then bleeds anger, resentment, negativity and hatred at all the best moments. He toys well with his UNIT counterparts, turning from friendly to psychotic in the blink of a well-acted eye. Shepherd is the shining light in this production, the revelation if you will. Hopefully, he and his character are set to return for further Big Finish stories and with even more excitement, this reviewer hopes that he is one of the few that makes the transition from audio Doctor Who to its television relation.
Those seeking thrills, worldwide danger, clever subtle nods to Doctor Who’s past and a strong story featuring UNIT’s finest will not be disappointed with this release. There’s something for everyone here.
Television spin-offs can come later; Big Finish have already proved with UNIT: Extinction that they’re the team to really tackle a proper adventure that doesn’t need to feature the Doctor.
UNIT: Extinction is available on CD or via download from Big Finish now.