The Future Of Big Finish’s Monthly Range

Big Finish

Big Finish. Chances are, if you read my site, you at least know of Big Finish; they’re the purveyors of fine audio drama such as Doctor Who. To date, Big Finish has got dozens of ranges under their Doctor Who umbrella; the most prominent being their Monthly Range (also known as the Main Range). Rumours are that this range is going to be no more in the near future, instead being replaced by ‘Doctor ranges’ like the Fourth and the Eighth. Now, I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and this is how I think it would work best.

Ditch the two hour format.
You can see that Big Finish already seem to be trialling this idea during three upcoming Monthly Range releases, Alien Heart/ Dalek SoulVortex Ice/ Cortex Fire and  Shadow Planet/ World Apart. Some might see this as just something new to try, to break up the Doctor trilogies we normally have (like last years brilliant Two Masters Trilogy), but I think this is more of a test to see how the public will respond. Personally, I’d rather have each the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors have 8x 1 hour long stories in a year, opposed to the 4x 2 hour stories we currently have. You may have noticed that for the past few months I’ve not reviewed the Monthly Range, and that’s because, for me, having to sit down for two hours to listen to a story and then review it is way too time consuming. It might sound stupid, but for me, reviewing a two hour story takes more than double the time it takes to review a 60 minute story. This is why I’ve focussed my reviews on box sets and the Fourth Doctor series.

Copy what the Fourth Doctor Adventures will be doing.
To save money, both for Big Finish and the customer, next year, the Fourth Doctor Adventures will have a slightly different format. Instead of having eight releases released once a month, they’re condensing them into two four-story box sets, released in January and May; with the individual stories only being released as downloads. Personally, I think this is absolutely the right move, and is something I can see happening with other Doctors in the future. Yet again, part of me wonders if this new format of releasing physical box sets and digital single releases is Big Finish testing the water to see if it’s viable. Personally, I think it is, especially when you consider you can get four stories for either £25 physically or £20 digitally, creating a huge saving on what listeners currently pay.

Have a consistent schedule.
Currently in Big Finish’s Monthly Range,the order of Doctors is 5,5,5,5,6,7,7,7,7,5,6,6,6. Meaning if you’re a Sixth or Seventh Doctor fan, you had to wait until May or June before you got your Doctor fix. Having to wait that long to get a morsel of your favourite Doctor is pure torture (Unless you love the Fifth Doctor, you’re pretty covered), so here is what I think would work…

January- Fourth Doctor Part 1 (4x 1 hour episodes)
February- Fifth Doctor Part 1 (4x 1 hour episodes)
March- Sixth Doctor Part 1 (4x 1 hour episodes)
April- Seventh Doctor Part 1 (4x 1 hour episodes)
May- Eighth Doctor Part 1 (4x 1 hour episodes)
June- Fourth Doctor Part 2 (4x 1 hour episodes)
July- Fifth Doctor Part 2 (4x 1 hour episodes)
August- Sixth Doctor Part 2 (4x 1 hour episodes)
September- Seventh Doctor Part 2 (4x 1 hour episodes)
October- Eighth Doctor Part 2 (4x 1 hour episodes)

Now, you might be wondering what happens in November and December, and this is where things go crazy. November and December can either accommodate a New-Who Doctor who wants to join the fray (I’d add them in June, push the others back a month and have them in December) or have two more box sets with unique premises, like the Two Masters Trilogy to end the year, featuring a different Doctor per story.

Of course, I don’t have any say in how Big Finish is run, but personally, I think this is what the future might look like for the company, as we seem to be drifting away from regular CD releases, and focussing more on downloads.
What do you think? Do you agree with me? Let me know by tweeting me @GallifreyRchive!

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