In Review: Big Finish: The Human Frontier

The Human Frontier is part love story, part murder mystery, and part war tragedy.

Synopsis: Two sets of Earth colonists, both setting out for the planet ND492.

One crew takes the long route, sleeping for 1000 years, in secret, on a ship called The Human Frontier.

The other crew set off hundreds of years later, at hyper speed.

When the sleepers wake as they approach the planet, the hyper-speed crew have been living there for 300 years already – and they have no clue the ‘sleepers’ are about to arrive.

Review: Writer/Director Nicholas Briggs let The Human Frontier gestate for several years before he finally crafted the story in these four hours. Based on the eventful yarn he and the Big Finish team have produced, I can’t wait for the next four hours.

Story

All good storytelling works on two levels — allegory and surface-level narrative. When absorbing a story, people make a choice. Do they focus on the allegory, the surface level narrative, or both equally? For me, focusing on allegory is like going to a fashion show for the coat hangers.

Make no mistake. The Human Frontier is an excellent allegory, driven by important themes. What does it mean to be human? Do we ultimately have free will? What does survival look like and do we even have the right to survive? All of these questions matter, and I do ponder them. That said, if I mentally remove the allegorical coat hangers, does Briggs’ intergalactic fashion line flow across the Big Finish catwalk? Yes, it does.

I care about the characters. I care about the universe they inhabit. The Human Frontier is part love story, part murder mystery, and part war tragedy. Briggs leaves all these plot threads unresolved with gloriously annoying cliffhangers.

Acting  

As usual, Big Finish assembled a top-notch cast. Pepter Lunkuse, Genevieve Gaunt, and Lucy Briggs-Owen are wonderful playing the three legs of an unconventional triangle. The urgency and poignancy are meaningful because of them.

For their parts, Clive Wood and Mark Elstob provide real depth and nuance in necessary, but so far thankless roles. I’m hoping the next box set will flesh out their characters a bit more.

Nicholas Briggs wrote himself the plumb featured role of enigmatic mastermind. In the process, he made the exposition bearable, while leaving listeners wondering how many aspects of the situation his choices have been affecting.

Overall

I’m already impatient for the next chapters of The Human Frontier. Fortunately, the audio format is proving resilient in these troubled times. Listeners can console themselves that the story will be completed, and we can escape our very real problems while rooting for Anna, Daisy, Nilly, and the others to escape theirs.

9.5
Big Finish: The Human Frontier
  • Story
    8.5
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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