I wonder if one day Big Finish might stop their main range? You might think this is a ridiculous idea but things change – look at the December bonus for example. With this though in mind I’ve written the following explaining how this could happen then arguing for and against the idea.
As to me I don’t think this will happen any time soon if at all but as it’s Friday I thought a bit of speculation wouldn’t go amiss…
In 2014 Big Finish announces the end of the December bonus; in June 2014 the Companion Chronicles ends to make way for various new things including The Early Adventures. In June 2015 Big Finish marks their 200th release to much celebration. Now roll forward …
Farewell main range?
Alongside the milestone release Big Finish also announces that they have rationalised the release schedule for the main range down to twelve titles a year which many fans have been asking for. In 2019 the 250th release is reached and Big Finish announces that the main range has run its course — there is so much more output from Big Finish that subscribers are being more selective and the series can no longer be justified. Tom Baker has never been in it and Paul McGann only re-appeared once or twice for some special releases, never as part of a trilogy. Farewell main range.
Why it’s a good idea
Big Finish didn’t start with the main range and now produces so much more than Doctor Who. Blake’s 7 is a big hit and other ranges have helped the company grow, including The Avengers, Survivors and many home grown titles. By 2016 it might be that the licence allows for more Doctor’s to be added to the stable and the idea of monthly releases that are almost only about the Fifth – Seventh Doctors. With all the boxsets available and special releases fans can just buy what they want – Dark Eyes, Jago & Litefoot, The Fourth Doctor Adventures and now special boxsets for all the Doctors (and this already started with UNIT: Dominion and the Fifth Doctor boxset.
Everyone’s a winner!
Why it’s a bad idea
If it becomes all about choice then Big Finish will stop taking risks. In the main range their is room for experiment (though arguably less so in 2014 than previously) and people will also listen to everything released. If they had the choice they might only choose certain Doctors, avoid certain writers / companions / monsters and so forth. I can’t imagine that Big Finish would release much except in trilogies and boxsets but I think the overall experience would be diminished.
I have argued many times on the Big Finish forum that they must make most of their profit from the main range and that even going from 13 to 12 titles per year wouldn’t happen. Having written this I am less sure and I can now imagine that at some point the amount of releases will be so large that they can simplify the release cycle.
As to the death of the main range itself I do think it needs a refresh as the Eighth Doctor shows no signs of returning and the Fourth Doctor has yet to appear in it. I can see some special releases – eg the 200th could be a three disc special with six short stories, one for each Doctor and one for Benny or Jago & Litefoot pulling something together. Whatever happens I can believe that there will be change.
Keep your eyes open around the release of 200th title!
What are your thoughts – has the main range had its day or will it always survive? Let me know!