I’m a big fan of Doctor Who as a TV show, but to be honest, I’m even more of a fan of the audio series by Big Finish. There are just so many great stories out there, stories that develop each of the first 8 Doctors and their companions in ways that the original series sometimes failed to do. And for someone new to Big Finish, that can be a problem, because it’s difficult to know where to even start. There’s a huge number of story arcs that spread out across numerous releases and Doctors (and even years, for quite a few of them). So I’m hoping that this helps: a regular blog where I post recommendations to some stories you may or may not want to jump on board with, including what makes it such a great listen and a rating of how accessible it is for new fans.
To kick things off with, a story I re-listen to on a regular basis:
Doctor: Seventh and ‘Other’
Companions: Raine and Klein
Continuity Rating: Medium. This is an interesting one in that the main plot itself is easily accessible, as it’s both stand-alone and very much fits the style of the new series, particularly the epic finales. The continuity is more character based: Raine is a companion who’s travelled on-and-off throughout 7’s incarnation, although you don’t need to know much about her to quickly learn what kind of character she is. Klein’s backstory is definitely more complicated, although it’s not only explained clearly by the Doctor to Raine what his relationship with Klein is, but it’s also interesting in that Klein doesn’t know what the Doctor knows, making her perspective not only accessible but also intriguing. There are also hints at other stories that Big Finish haven’t even told yet, so it’s a nice introduction to the Big Finish universe and all its stories without being overwhelming.
(Ironically, despite being labelled as both a Doctor Who story and the 2nd season of Big Finish’s spin-off series UNIT, the only links to the first season is the organisation itself – no characters or plot threads from the first season return.)
Why you should listen to it:
It’s one of the biggest and most epic stories that Big Finish have ever done. It has the scale of 4 finales in one, as not only does the Earth get invaded by a whole variety of completely alien races all at once across teh globe, but it’s a story that spreads across numerous dimensions, as well. In fact, it’s so huge, it requires not just one Doctor but two: along with the Seventh Doctor, we are also introduced to a previously unknown incarnation from far ahead in his future, as played by Alex MacQueen.
Along with learning more about this mysterious new incarnation, we are also introduced to a whole variety of characters and their stories, as the focus spreads from the two Doctors and their companions to the UNIT soldiers, who for once aren’t treated as simple redshirts (something that often happened in the classic series), but as men and women with lives and families (Sergeant Wilson’s story is especially sweet and really adds an emotional weight to the whole thing). And of course, there’s Klein. For new listeners, she’s a hard working scientist who has found herself growing more and more paranoid over the ‘Umbrella Man’, someone who seems to be watching her every move and she has no clue why. For other listeners, she’s a woman who the Doctor is very understandably afraid of, as he eventually explains to Raine…
In short, this is one I recommend to fans of the new series who love their stories big and epic, as Dominion easily outdoes the best of them in terms of scale at least, while also matching the best stories for their humanity and emotion. Despite being 4 hours long, it’s a story I love any and every excuse to relisten to (as I’m going to this weekend). A link to buy the story on download or CD can be found here: http://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/doctor-who—unit-dominion-783