Welcome to 2017 and to the first entry of Big Finishing Move for the new year. Before I get to reviewing The Beast of Kravenos as I promised in my last review, I thought it best to do something a little different. This series, which has been my pleasure to write since 2013, was never supposed to only be for those initiated into the world of Big Finish. It was always my hope that my reviews and articles would inspire casual fans to explore Big Finish more and to serve as a gateway for newcomers to decide to dip their toes into the vast ocean of content Big Finish provides. In this respect, I have not done as well as I would have liked. It didn’t even occur to me that I hadn’t explained what Big Finish is or that I hadn’t properly introduced myself to people who might read these until my trusted editor, the great and mighty Chris Herman (all praise be unto him) recently started asking me questions because he wasn’t totally sure what some of what I was writing meant. This hit home for me what an oversight I had made and I resolved to do something about it in the new year.
So, what I am going to do here is give you a quick rundown of what’s all going on here so that people are up to speed on things.
What is Big Finish and why should I care?
When the classic series of Doctor Who dropped its final episode in 1989, the seeds of what would become Big Finish was planted. While TV may have been done with the Time Lord back then, the hardcore fan base was still hungry for stories. Over the years various talented folk who had grew up on the show came together to to make independent material based on Doctor Who as well as projects starring actors (especially those who played the Doctor) from the show. Eventually all these creators started coming together into groups and one of those groups grew into Big Finish Productions back in 1996.
Big Finish makes high quality audio dramas. While Doctor Who is still the backbone of the company, Big Finish has also made material for Torchwood, Blake 7, Bernice Summerfield, UNIT, Judge Dredd, Dark Shadows, Sherlock Holmes, and various other series including Big Finish exclusives such as Charlotte Pollard and Vienna. Big Finish is dedicated to getting the best talent possible to bring these stories to life, including making sure to get the actors that played the characters on television if possible. Big Finish has the likes of Tom Baker, Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, John Hurt, David Tennant, John Barrowman, Alex Kingston, and Chase Masterson just to name a few.
Big Finish is currently run by Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs. That’s right, Nick Briggs, the voice of the Daleks and various other baddies in the revamped series is the one of the main people behind Big Finish and is in control of their Doctor Who output. Big Finish at its core is fans making content for other fans on a professional level. What isn’t to love about that?
Just who the hell are you anyways?
My name is John and I am a big Doctor Who fan and all around geek. I love genre fiction, especially sci-fi, superhero, crime, and westerns. I love how genre fiction can take us to fantastic new worlds full of great adventures, but even more than that I adore how stories can be used to comment on the issues of the day in an intelligent and thought provoking manner. I got into Big Finish because of Doctor Who, but I have come to truly respect them in all they do as I see the passion and production they put into everything they do. I’ve been covering Big Finish as well a bunch of other geeky topics on One Of Us for years now and I enjoy every second of it.
Okay, so this series is supposed to be about all of Big Finish. Why then have you only covered their Doctor Who output?
Brilliant question. What it comes down to is time and money. I buy everything I review, which means I have to make time to sit and listen to the story and put together a (hopefully) well thought out review all on my own dime. This isn’t a complaint, I’m lucky One Of Us even let’s me do this. This isn’t what they brought me on board to do, but I kept begging and then finally just went ahead and started Big Finishing Move and they were nice enough to let me keep going. I simply don’t have enough time or cash to cover everything and Big Finish keeps dropping all this cool Doctor Who material month after month so I haven’t had a chance to touch most of the other offerings even though I want to. I’m going to try and review at least one of the other properties in 2017, but we’ll see what happens.
How do we now you aren’t some paid mouthpiece?
Again, I personally buy everything I review and I have the charges to my bank account to prove it. I’m not against any sponsorship for the series, but were I to get sponsorship I want to make two promises to you right now:
- I will make note of any review that is sponsored by anyone in that very review.
- I will not allow my review to be changed or in any way edited by any sponsor.
This isn’t just about my own personal integrity, but the integrity of One Of Us and the people who work on the site and that is something we both take extremely seriously. Rest assured, my words and opinions are my own.
Dude, I don’t want to pay for stuff, can’t you hook me up?
Short answer: No. Longer answer: Oh Hell No!
Look, I get it, money is precious and people often don’t have enough to check out all the nifty things they want to. That said, Big Finish pours their heart into everything they put out and provides easy access to buy their releases across the world so do them a favor and don’t be a pirate. Big Finish estimates that it loses around three-quarters of its potential revenue to people pirating their work, and that simply sucks. I have and will continue to only link to Big Finish directly in my reviews to find these audios so that people can buy things from the source.
Alright, I’m interested, now where do I start?
Ah, now were getting down to it. The true answer is that there is no right or wrong way to get into Big Finish, but that doesn’t mean all approaches are equally as good. First and foremost you can check out all the reviews I’ve done (handy links provided below) to see if anything appeals to you. I wouldn’t jump into any subscriptions or bundles right away unless you are absolutely sure you want to commit to that. Sure bundles may save you money in the long run, but you might be picking up a bunch of stories you don’t like or want.
I suggest the same approach as when I started, more of an a la carte way to things. Pick a range or collection that appeals to you from the Ranges Page and then look back to the older releases. Go back far enough and you’ll find releases at a reduced price, the Doctor Who Monthly Range for instance has the first fifty stories for $2.99 a pop downloads. Some of the best stuff Big Finish has ever done is on the cheap so if you have a few bucks to spare pick something from their back catalog, give the trailer a listen, and if it sounds good give it a go. Not every story is a winner, I’ve hit a few duds myself doing this, but more times than not I struck gold. It is really worth it.
Anything else I should know?
Just a thing or two. You will need to set up an account with Big Finish to download stories, but this is actually super useful. Big Finish keeps a library of the audios you’ve downloaded so that you access them anywhere and download them to any device you please as many times as you want. I take great solace in the fact that my computer could get totally wiped and I would be able to re-download every story I bought over the years without hassle.
The only other thing I can think of is that if it provides you with the option to download the MP3 or an audiobook version, go with the audiobook. It is a cleaner and easier way to find and listen to the stories you have downloaded to your devices.
Visit Big Finish Here:
For Next time:
Check out all my previous reviews below:
Phantasmagoria, The Fearmonger, The Light At The End, The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, Storm Warning, Blood of the Daleks, The Chimes of Midnight, Seasons of Fear, The King of Sontar, White Ghosts, Dark Eyes II, The Crooked Man, Project: Twilight, The Evil One, The Harvest, The Last Of The Colophon, The Council Of Nicaea, Destroy The Infinite, Afterlife, The Abandoned, Zygon Hunt, Revenge Of The Swarm, Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Box Set, Dark Eyes 3, Mask of Tragedy, The Fourth Doctor By Gareth Roberts, The Exxilions, The Darkness of Glass, Dark Eyes IV, Requiem for the Rocket Men, Signs And Wonders, Death Match, Suburban Hell, The Burning Prince, The Cloisters of Terror, The Acheron Pulse, The Fate of Krelos, The Shadow Heart, Return to Telos, The Sixth Doctor – The Last Adventure, Doom Collation I, The Yes Men, The War Doctor: Only The Monstrous, Wave of Destruction, The Labyrinth of Buda Castle, The War Doctor Volume 02: Infernal Devices, Doom Coalition 2, The Paradox Planet, Legacy of Death, The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume 1, Gallery of Ghouls, The Trouble with Drax, The Pursuit of History And Casualties of Time (dual review), Aquitaine, The Peterloo Massacre, Doom Coalition 3