Summer is always a good time for a blockbuster – if the promise of warmth comes good then it is a great way to relax, and if rain should encroach then it provides entertainment as respite.
Now it’s time for Big Finish to join the party, with another bombastic entry for Kate Stewart and Osgood taking aim at the holidays in UNIT: Assembled. For the fourth boxset featuring the latest UNIT lineup, Big Finish goes all the way back the 70s (or was it the 80s?) and a Silurian menace threatening humankind.
Good job they’ve got some old friends to call up – but the Silurians aren’t on their own either…
That’s not to say that the use of characters from the past leaves UNIT: Assembled wallowing in nostalgia, as from the outset the use of characters is as natural as it is grin-inducing. Starting with Benton’s eventful retirement party and its gathering of past UNIT members, the members of “classic” UNIT serve to bolster those more recently created and make an impressive super-team with an engaging chemistry that is very moreish.
On the reptilian front too, there is a variety of Eocene allies and technology that are realised impressively, the audio medium helping save from any undermining of threat that budget-limited CGI or physical effects/costuming may have led to in TV stories previously.
As with the other new-UNIT releases, the four-episode release is very much a single story and writers Matt Fitton and Guy Adams unite excellently to give an organic flow with great balancing of pace and character as well as a good feel for the wit of the characters. The cast are all clearly having a fantastic time and it comes through in performances across the board, from Richard Hope’s vengeful Jastrok to the always-wonderful Katy Manning reminding why Jo was always a popular companion. Director Ken Bentley takes these with Howard Carter’s evocative sound design and constructs a piece of work that flies by while not being lightweight, and continues the high quality that the UNIT releases have set for themselves.
The title may sound a little like the relieved report of completion of installation of Swedish furniture, but UNIT: Assembled is a thrilling celebration of some of the Whoniverse’s extensive history that builds on its collation of characters and enemies to deliver a fun and truly blockbusting entry that is enjoyable any time of year.
UNIT – Assembled is available now from BigFinish.com