Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Strength to strength is perhaps the best way to describe this box set. Big Finish continues their Doctor Who rollercoaster year with Kate Stewart, Osgood and the new (more competent) UNIT team. From shop window dummies to ninja aliens, UNIT continues the fight in Shutdown!

But let’s do away with the bad first…because there isn’t much of it. In fact, a lot of the things I mentioned in the last review seem to have been mended this season. For instance, the “Kate Stewart is related to the Brigadier” references are almost non-existent. It’s almost like everybody understands that we get it now. Unfortunately Kate as a character isn’t developed that much, but listeners are treated to her struggles with higher-ups and the bureaucratic red tape she has to contend with from time to time.

For those interested, this series takes place after The Day of the Doctor, though we aren’t clued in to which Osgood we’re dealing with here, but that just doesn’t matter as she continues to impress me. Osgood is constantly put in alien environments by the writers, either physically or emotionally, and that does wonders for a character I once considered a ‘cardboard fangirl stereotype’. Her budding, steadily will-they-won’t-they relationship with Josh Carter is some of the series’ highlights. I am very much on the Josood bandwagon.

Speaking of, my absolute favourite character continues to be Josh Carter. He may be the stereotypical action hero, but James Joyce is just so entertaining and the material is just so rich that I don’t mind. This series partners him more with Kate and through that dynamic presents us with a very unique-ish Brigadier/Benton relationship that a joy to hear.

Not necessarily a bad thing, but Sam Bishop still hasn’t made much of an impression on me. So little in fact that I’m not saying anything more about him. Moving on!

The threat this time around is the Tengobushi, a race of ninja-like aliens. Whereas the Autons were slow and uncoordinated, the Tengobushi are lightning bruisers that, while not quite on the level of Weeping Angels, still manage to give the UNIT team a run for their money. I should mention that they only become entertaining at the halfway mark. Before that, they kept reminding me of the Autons in that they didn’t seem to do much except be minions for somebody else. Thankfully this changes in episode 3.

If you’ve listened to UNIT: Extinction, then you’ll have noticed that a lot of the same plot formulas get recycled, albeit in more inventive ways. Because of this, the box set does run the risk of alienating listeners who want something completely new every season. But hey, if it ain’t broke…

So which set is stronger I hear you ask? Well unlike Doom Coalition where S1 was excellent/S2 was meh and The War Doctor Adventures where S1 was meh/S2 was phenomenal, I can honestly say that UNIT: Shutdown carries the same creativity and entertainment value that it’s predecessor does. It is thoroughly entertaining, it is spellbindingly fun to listen to and I highly recommend you pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

In November the UNIT folk get their ‘mind wiping’ comeuppances when they take on the…the…sorry readers. It’s just that…I seem to have forgotten the name of UNIT’s next adversary. Give me a moment of Silence to jog my memory…

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