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 Power of the Daleks – Story #030

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Jael’s Judgment:

Wow! Am I ever invigorated by this second Doctor!!

I committed to soooo many adventures throughout 2013 that I find most of them go by in a blur. This is not unusual for me, as even in real life my “adventures” often blur together and linger in my mind only as moments and feelings. Now as we listen to and basically meet Troughton’s incarnation as the Doctor, I realize how slow moving the first Doctor and his adventures were. I am not saying I didn’t enjoy them, but a couple months of such a snail-like pace was loosing my interest.

I cannot get over how much I am enjoying Troughton!! I thought the recorder was going to be annoying, but I find myself enjoying it. I say that now, we’ll see how I feel in a few weeks…

Unfortunately the women in the story are incredibly disappointing. The lady scientist is pushy, cold, and gets used by the wrong side. Polly is helpless. Ugh. I got the initial impression that she was some sort if scientist, but maybe she was just some sort of assistant? I don’t know, even just working with scientists you would think she couldn’t be that stupid. Yuck, she is horrible. Can you tell I am not crazy about Polly? I guess I am being a bit tough on her, but really I am not seeing her value.

Sucker stick, sucker stick, sucker stick. That is the phrase the narrator keeps using for the Dalek plunger. I wonder if that’s what they call a plunger in the UK… I don’t think so, but I am too tuckered out to confirm it now. Anyway, those words keep sticking out to me… sucking me in… Oh man, cracking myself up! Onward ho!

The Daleks were excellent in this story. Maybe they are so easy to enjoy when all you have is audio, because the main form of acting for these characters is in fact their voice. I mean, swiveling, moving forward & back, movement of the eye stock, and waving of their sucker stick and shooter arm. That’s really not much. We know what they look like and they are easy to imagine. Just picture the Dalek’s eye stock giving you the stare down as it rolls out of the room, after checking up on the liquid/secret poison given to the human for hydration. You can feel its condescending and tricky, evil stare.

Whoever does the voice of the Daleks performs splendidly. I like the way the Daleks say “I am your servant” questioningly at first. Because we all know they don’t actually believe it, cleverly alluding to the falseness of the statement. Eventually though, their tone while saying this sentence becomes more menacing. The narrator starts using words like indignant when describing the Daleks. And they become more and more reluctant to say, “I obey.”

What fun! I am looking forward to more adventures with this odd Doctor and hopefully some more permanent companions.

  • Story Grade: A

 

Tony’s Take:

This might as well be one of those rare stories where I let Jael run with her observations and say next to nothing.  I mean, what could I say?  She is spot on, Troughton is a HUGE breath of fresh air; the Daleks are even quirkier (maybe due in part by The (new) Doctor’s attitude); and yes, the role of women, especially in early Who, is quite limited and sexist.

There was a very nice quote from this story, one that is obviously meant to be deeper than just the surface application towards the second Doctor:

“Life depends on change and renewal.”  Well said, Doctor/Troughton!

  • Story Grade: B+
  • I could really get used to watching Troughton’s Doctor, if only more episodes had survived.  Stupid BBC policy!  Though there are some great reads on missing stories HERE.

 

Thank you, Patrick Troughton.  Even though you are well in your 40s, you give The Doctor a new playful (positive) attitude.  Thank you to Richard Molesworth for putting together such a great book (Wiped! Doctor Who’s Missing Episodes), I’m excited to get the second edition in the near future.  Again, thank you to all of the early hardcore Whovians who were wise enough to record the TV show in audio form.  Without those recordings, we would not have such a great preservation of these lost stories.