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parrot_knight [userpic]

Rise of the Cybermen

May 13th, 2006 (09:52 pm)

I really think that Doctor Who needs more long form stories. I enjoyed the less frenetic pace of 'Rise of the Cybermen', which knew that it had another forty-five minutes in which its plotlines could be resolved.

Unlike some people, I've only been slightly bothered by the 'soap' elements of Russell T Davies's Who. I've appreciated Jackie, Mickey and Pete and this year have even wished we could return sooner to the Powell Estate. Then, I was raised on the Target novelisations of the Jon Pertwee era, with their mythologising of the UNIT family. The treatment of Pete and Jackie in this episode was in keeping with their earlier appearances despite Pete's greater business success; we are inevitably led to believe that they are more materially successful because they didn't have a daughter to unbalance their relationship, but that consequently they are less heroic. Pete is not the heroic businessman resisting the takeover approaches of Lumic, as might have been expected, but he's taken the money and, he thinks, a seat at the top table; but that means nothing in Lumic's Cyber-world.

These Cybermen are simpler than the old ones - the original Cybermen were clearly augmented human bodies whereas these parallel universe Cybermen are machines with human brains in them. Control of the brain is an issue - it's Jackie's earpods, sprouting proto-Cyber-handles, which betray the Tyler's guests, the elite of the British Republic, to John Lumic.

Unlike some online critics, I enjoyed Roger Lloyd-Pack's performance as Lumic - he seemed a man dehumanised by power, an obsession with technology, and a fear of death. Lloyd-Pack is a specialist in grotesques, and I think Lumic called for such a performance. I took him seriously, and found him really frightening. His reference to the Cybermen as his children is splendidly, chillingly ironic.

Great performances from the regulars, particularly Noel Clarke in his dual role; Billie's best episode of the season since 'New Earth', and a generally less manic David. I'm looking forward to next week.

Comments

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: May 15th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
emperor

Strangely (or not), for me this was Tennant's worst performance of the episodes I've seen this season. He didn't strike me as particularly Doctorish, or much less manic than usual (or at least, not so as one couldn't put down to the more relaxed two-parter format).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 15th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
DavidIcon

I did think he was more controlled, actually... but you're not alone in thinking that this was his worst performance.

Posted by: Delia (chainmailmaiden)
Posted at: May 15th, 2006 12:39 pm (UTC)

I really liked the fact this was a 2 part story, I just can't get used to everything being resolved in one episode. Hooray for the return of the cliff-hanger and boy was that a good one!

I don't like the fact they've made the Cybermen look like CP30 though, their heads are too small for their bodies & the voices aren't quite as menacing, but overall I enjoyed the episode. However I'm thinking of making up a drinking game to play when watching - you down a large G&T every time there's a gratuitous reference to Torchwood. Either that or I'm going to start screaming...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 15th, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC)

I hadn't made the connection with CP3O, but I can see it now you mention it.

The number of clunking references to Torchwood are crying out for a drinking game, certainly. But what else in this season?

Posted by: Delia (chainmailmaiden)
Posted at: May 16th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC)

What about ever time they suggest the Doctor fancies someone, or that someone else fancies him. Take 2 drinks if it's Rose.

Also every time Micky is referred to, or refers to himself as a spare part, useless or a tin dog.