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In the words of Ace, paraphrasing, "What's this? Nitro-9.. Suck on some!" BOOM. Fantastic, top-notch fun story. Great sloshing sucking sounds, easily digestable.
I have listened to a couple of the other Big Finish (more recently discovered) before noting this 2016 reunion team of McCoy, Mel and Ace and couldn't have had better timing or a fun experience being an original watcher of the original Doctor Who in childhood from the Tom Baker years circa 1977 through the end with McCoy. I also grew up with all the Pertwee reruns (a favorite back then) but I digress... As naturally I love all the Doctors.
As far as continuity of the series, the #1 thing I would have asked for is jumping in back with McCoy and Ace ... And Mel to boot - Mindblowing. I have heard from a couple reviewers online that this episode is not the place to jump in Big Finish and I cannot agree as I am a new listener yet original series fan, and today I only appreciate the McCoy years even more and more (and I liked em when they debuted on TV). What better place to start than back with The Doctor and Ace where it ended, it shall begin again.
I could easily visualize the world, aliens and characters.. all really no different than if it was televised back in the day but BETTER as in my mind's eye, nothing has been poorly or unnecessarily updated, and the same (sometimes cheesy-wonderful) humour, aliens and non-earth locales are all present here (as usual excluding the Pertwee bulk years for example). And if this was an visual episode in the past, it certainly would have been pretty epic. Great fun and well-done. The acting ability on display here, sound etc is really extrordinarily good --- a true tardis trip!
Is some prior TV exposure necessary for the enjoyment of this story. Yes, of course as it basically continues (the continuity of the original series) from when the TV show ended. However this is 2016, anyone can easily view the few 7th Doctor + Mel + Ace episodes with rogue Glitz! And frankly given the characters, no matter what story was produced with these characters, one would require some history, period. If you need short form history, there's Wikipedia as well. But it's a rather simple play and introduction of sorts to the Doctor and two companions anyway.
Can you jump in though? Sure, some of the appeal for this "reunion" will definitely be lost but just as if you jumped in any old Doctor Who, you have to start somewhere and this does start a new chapter, which to say the least is exciting and a dream come true for any old Who fan (or should for an McCoy and team fan)!
I would not agree that you need any other prior Big Finish exposure as I have barely had any, but yes I would at least read the synopses of the McCoy era TV episodes starring Mel and Ace together (and where Mel departs) to be familiar in a base sense. What you'll get here is generally a reunion of companions and a monster episode, typical of vintage Who.
I really enjoyed this episode, very fleshed out in content, length and good one-and-done (or self-sufficient with hanger) story, great production and acting, team of actors, etc. As a new listener with only a couple Big Finish episodes under my belt (although I picked up a ton and literal shelf of CDs - yet to listen to), I can't play a critic but I can say I was fully satisfied and as you might tell pretty enthusiastic.
I am really happy that I can continue the world of Doctor Who that I grew up with and the same one I know and love. Big cheers to McCoy, Aldred and Langford and the other folk, writers, technicians and actors. I appreciate and big thumbs up for the stellar work! How lucky are young people getting familiar and watching through all the old episodes conveniently on digital media, that they can continue the adventures, which come to life here, in particular in terms of again.. continuity.. but also a bright and big future in this amazing world of "enhanced audio" - certainly my preferred Who format from now on.
Lastly, it was great finding out what happened to Mel, very realistic, enjoyed the touch of character development (I imagine leading to further adventures with the Doctor) where she has much more gusto or brawn. I am looking forward to more Mel (excellent acting, in her prime I think now - mighty impressed), McCoy was on point, and I am a mega-Ace fan --- as a now forty-something freak, I am still fanboying hard for the Aldred-factor to the point where I would wear a shirt or Ace members-only jacket with pin. "The old gang back together," says Mel. "Yeaaa, great," sighs Ace. Truly.
If you are an old Who fan who appreciates 80s Who or naturally a McCoy era fan, yes do jump in -perfect starting point. If you are a younger Who fan, you have a digital tardis control panel at your finger tips: keyboard, internet, library and shop resources. Some minor research - jump in, this team is especially great fun, plus there are some good monsters, a raccoon, and you don't even have to know who Charlton Heston is, wink!
I believe there are a total of 3 McCoy episodes/releases in the current release schedule then 3 each with both Colin Baker (with new assistant) and then Davison: all of which look like musts. I would advise to go back through more recent releases, especially Colin Baker and maybe Davison and research on-site, as this really looks like an easy point to prep and jump in full-swing on all the Doctors' upcoming releases. It all looks amazingly promising. As for the trio of McCoy, Aldred, and Langford, can't wait for what is next.