By Will Barber Taylor
In this linked four-story box set, Kate Stewart, Osgood and the UNIT team confront an alien invasion by the Nestene Consciousness and its army of plastic Autons. With the aide of new recruit Lieutenant Sam Bishop, UNIT must tackle a direct invasion by the Nestenes and also from within the mysterious company Devlin Futuretech which is launching a new piece of technology which will change the world as we know it.
Unlike previous spin off series connected to UNIT, Extinction brings the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce up to date with the new series and does so with a bang, making for a dramatic and enjoyable box set.
It begins with UNIT: Vanguard in which new recruit Lieutenant Sam Bishop (Warren Brown) is put through his paces during an encounter with a killer crocodilian creature which sets the tone for the series. The series mixture of fast paced action and humour show its link to the modern series of Doctor Who which often uses similar motifs. There is an element of horror constantly reoccurring in the series; the killings of the Autons victims throughout the box set are very visual with the sound of the Auton gun and the scream of the victim feeling palpably real. The care and attention that is put into creating such a spine chilling effect is clear to hear.
The overall arc of the series is also well produced. The Auton invasion and use of FutureTech could easily be a metaphor for the globalisation of society – the need to update to FutureTech’s latest TVs, is a parable about the fault of blindly trusting multinational corporations which writers Andrew Smith and Matt Fitton make clear. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. The relationship between Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) and Bishop is well played out and makes for amusing listening because of the banter between the two. Equally well played are Kate Stewart’s (Jemma Redgrave) continual attempts to modernise UNIT and make it science based rather than a purely military organisation. Stewart’s struggle to be taken seriously is one of the backbones of the collection and help defines it.
Overall, UNIT: Extinction is an excellent box set which combines real world issues with sci – fi joy to show that no matter what the alien threat, we are defended.
With thanks to Big Finish. You can purchase UNIT: Extinction here.