The Tomb of the Cybermen – Story #037

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Jael’s Judgement:

Finally! I no longer a blind traveler! We have video!!! This means our ears are not simply assaulted by a piercing American accent, but we have video to distract us. It also means that we get to play Spot the Whiffle Ball on the Cybermen. (Some of them were quite challenging, they were painted silver.) Don’t mistake my sarcasm for dislike. I love every bit of this!

Right away the setting reminded of a River Song/Weeping Angels episode. Maybe it is the archaeology coupled with impending danger.
I think they overdid convincing the viewer right away to dislike Kaftan. They could have made her a bit trickier and let the whole situation be a little more interesting.

They mentioned the Doctor’s age, 450 years I think. And I appreciate that they showed him sleeping. Not that it makes for the most exciting story, but as Tony so often points out, we now rarely see him resting. Maybe that is because he is getting older. I do not get the impression that my grandparents sleep full 8 hour nights. Of course now he is what, over 1,000. That leaves a lot of his time stream that we do not witness! Maybe we are missing all of his moments spent in slumber. Speaking of such ridiculous age, how can he possibly remember anything?? I have a hard enough time remembering when I was 16!

Anyway, enough with my sidetracked rant. I think I am beginning to like Victoria. She is finally trying to be somewhat independent. Although I do not appreciate that she keeps getting yelled at and scolded every time she touches something.

Finally, I am glad the Doctor pointed out that Jamie’s “skirt” is shorter than Victoria’s when she is concerned about modesty.

  • Story Grade: C+

 

Tony’s Take:

So very silvery.  The Cybermen no-longer look grey, but seem to finally shimmer – albeit in black and white.  The build up to the viewing of a dormant Cybermen city (nothing but endless pods containing one Cyberman each) was well done.

Agreement with Jael:

  • No sense of mystery around Kaftan – you hate her and know she is bad, something not done in today’s television production.
  • Seeing the Doctor sleeping may not make for exciting television, but being “human” like he has said, we cannot expect any form of human to NOT rest/sleep can we?  (Go back to my previous review on the Doctor and being human.)
  • Excitement for VIEWING Doctor Who.  It makes sense, get excited to WATCH an episode of a television show, not just listen to an audio recording with narration.  Part of the charm of this show is the fact that it’s long history goes back to simpler and yet more confusing times – erasing any traces of episodes in order to cut down on film costs… Wow.

Disagreement with Jael:

  • American accent?!  What audio CDs are you listening to?!  While I would prefer video over ANY audio story, the people who made these CDs did as wonderful of a job as possible.  (Side rant: What is the use of putting “Collection Six” out?  All those stories are visible and on DVD already. Odd.)
  • You question memory ability?  Obviously Time lords are superior in time and therefor have a complex grab on not only time, but how we perceive time (our memories).  Plus, remember the matrix on Gallifrey?  There is probably some sort of telepathic link or ability to use the group collective to share or download these memories in order to store time/history.  DUH!  😉
  • Victoria is… alright, if not typical.  Not exactly a strong character, but that is no ones fault other than the writers.  Troughton’s Doctor does not seem like one to scold (in my head), so it’s probably a reflection of the times (unfortunately) and nothing more.

PS:  I have probably already mentioned this, but if you plan on getting deep into Doctor Who and the stories behind the lost episodes (how they became lost, where there is hope, and more info than you could possibly want), check out Richard Molesworth’s “Wiped!” books.  (Book 1 and the updated Book 2.)

  • Story Grade: B-
  • SILVER Cybermen!  A decent build to what could have been one of the best Cybermen stories (if not one of the best stories, period), but unfortunately the payoff was lacking a bit.

 

HUGE thanks to the prop team for making the Cybermen shimmer on screen.  *slow claps*

The Evil of the Daleks – Story #036

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Jael’s Judgement:

I was not a huge fan of this one. For the most part liked the first part of the story, but Jamie seemed a bit too smitten with Victoria’s “beauty.” Nothing against Victoria. I do not really know her all that well yet. But once I like someone, I tend to feel a sense of propriety. And I like Jamie. Nothing silly, I am writing this blog with the love of my life after all. But I relate to Jamie and don’t want him to change too much because of some helpless girl.

The good news is that Jamie questions the Doctor’s motives and whether he trying trying to do what is right. I think it is important to question what you think and believe. This way you can have a better understanding of what you think and who you trust.

Why does the Doctor keep counting himself as human? This seems so odd.

Disturbingly I yet again find myself agreeing on a point with the Daleks. They tell Victoria to stop feeding the flying pests. Birds, what terrifying creatures.

As I said, the first part of this story is alright. But it is soooo long. Near the end I had no idea what was going on any more. We suddenly found everyone in the middle of Daleks yelling and fighting each other. I cannot even remember how the story-line resolved itself.

  • Story Grade: C-

 

Tony’s Take:

Space-time jumping, Daleks, a new companion, and the “Human Factor”?!  What a full story here!  Sure, most (if not all) stories from the Old Who era could have been trimmed up a bit (especially 1960s Who), but going with the normal style of story-telling, this wasn’t all that bad.  I am guessing that listening to 5 out of the 6 episodes instead of viewing them also tends to skew the “grading” down a bit.

While I agree with Jael that the Doctor saying he is human or implying that he is human; I believe that this was just a fault of the writing group, hoping to make The Doctor easier to access for the audience.  This “human factor” that the Doctor applies to himself and the term human itself could easily be re-written to make it not be the Earth-bound version, but more of a characteristic that we “Earth humans” share with other similar advanced beings (be it looks, intelligence, etc.).  Where I have a problem with the Doctor being human is in the TV movie… but that will be covered many months from now.

As for Jamie in this story?  He not only gets a female counterpart (who he has a thing for), but he is questioning the Doctor – rather intelligently.  It’s almost as though Jamie is getting the hang of being a companion.

Then there is Victoria; yes, she was the typical damsel in distress, but her life, in just one story, gets incredibly complicated.  Imagine traveling time, meeting a boy totally head over heels for you, and then at the end your father dies… then you are sent with the Doctor to travel space and time.  Wow.

Lastly, the Human Factor and the Daleks: at least it wasn’t “Evolution of the Daleks” bad…

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Introducing Daleks to human qualities is nothing new, not only has it been done many times, but it is probably the greatest struggle shown throughout Doctor Who.  The show really hammers home the importance of these human emotions and feelings and how they separate us from becoming like a Dalek (xenophobic).  It’s kind of ironic that this was coming during a time where Civil Rights were being fought over in my home country (USA), women were still treated much lower than men (see Victoria’s stereotypical role), and don’t even try talk about sex during this era (at least in the US) – though the hippie movement would put a few cracks in this wall.  We (humans) were incredibly xenophobic, but even then, compared to the Daleks, we were not entirely evil.

…And we know that not all the Daleks were destroyed, right?

  • Story Grade: B-
  • Packed with many ideas and set in multiple times and planets, we truly begin to see the seemingly eternal struggle between Daleks and humanity.

 

Thanks to the writer of this story, David Whitaker (and the script editors, Gerry Davis and Peter Bryant).  While times were not perfect – we are still fighting xenophobia on our home planet – you made us take a look at ourselves and make a decision: be like the Daleks and die or be the good side of humanity and live?