UNIT: Extinction is a brave new start for Big Finish. Except, it isn’t. Except, it is.
UNIT: Extinction is unavoidably beholden to so much that has come before. For one thing, it’s the third attempt by Big Finish at a contemporary UNIT spinoff, all even woman-lead affairs. What’s more, one has a predecessor to journalist character Jacqui McGee and the other with its lead UNIT figure a scientific officer like the modern version. And the narrative to Extinction finds itself serving as a synthesis of several starting point narratives. Most prominently, heavy shades of Spearhead from Space, Rose, and Everything Changes can be felt hanging over the story, governing how it starts a new series, coupled with a general trend toward deconstruction and critique that is the defining modern approach to UNIT and similar organizations.
But it is a new beginning, as well. It’s the official start to Big Finish’s new series coverage. It marks itself with several entirely new characters and themes. The plot is built more than anything around the dual arcs of Jacqui and Josh, who are the core new characters present, with the plot shaped around introducing them and other new additions to the world (disc two, for example, is a sidestep from the main plot mostly built around establishing recurring character Sam Bishop). New ongoing conflicts burst forth, new themes. This is a box set self-consciously built around navigating tensions of classic fanservice and new Who storytelling ethos to try to be something fascinating and new. And, perhaps against all odds, it succeeds in being something not just enjoyable to listen to, but with fascinating implications by the dozens.
Full spoilers for UNIT: Extinction, as well as minor references to the events of Shutdown and Silenced, to follow.