Wednesday, July 23, 2014


"Is he looking at me--don't look--is he?"
“Emotions have their uses.” 
“They restrict and curtail the intellect and logic of the mind.” 
“They also enhance life! When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?"
“These things are irrelevant.” 
“For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about!"

1) While this serial is supposedly script edited by Anthony Root, it’s actually the first script edited by Eric Saward, and it pretty much sets the tone for his tenure as a whole.  In writing this script, Saward creates a template for what he’s looking to do with the series--the shocking violence, the high body count, the way the story seems to split into two unrelated mini-stories, the obsession with the Doctor and/or companions shooting guns, the unhealthy Tegan love, the sometimes bizarre snatches of dialogue (a sample of which is quoted above), etc.

2) I think this version of the Cybermen is one of the better, if not the best version.  The use of flight suits, the strange plexiglass chin guard that reminds us that there is something human in these creatures, the hints of circuitry underneath that chest respirator...all contribute to give these Cybermen a visually engaging appeal.

3) Given that this is Adric’s swan song, it’s not surprising that Matthew Waterhouse is given the most chances to act and, you know, do something other than throw in with the enemy and eat.  And sometimes it kinda, sorta works in rare moments. Granted....
"I'm afraid one of us has to die in a needlessly
pointless way....and it won't be me."

4) ...given Adric is very front and center and Saward’s love of Tegan results in her going all Signourney-Weaver-In-Aliens cosplay, Nyssa is once again reduced to effectively sitting in the TARDIS and worrying over everyone else alongside Clare Clifford’s Professor Kyle.  And sadly, even after the TARDIS crew is reduced to two companions, this is frequently Nyssa’s only contribution.

5) Beryl Reid being cast, highly inappropriately, as the hard-nosed ship captain Briggs, is the beginning of John Nathan-Turner’s obsession with casting big name stars (for England) in Doctor Who.  And in this case it thoroughly fails, as Briggs is about as hard nosed as a kitten on a catnip overdose.

6) The efforts to create a tighter continuity from episode to episode is in overdrive here.  Not only do we get a reminder of last serial, there are direct references to the E Space trilogy as well as a montage in Episode Two that tries to put the various Cybermen appearances in some sort of historical timeline.

7) Wow....yet another serial this season with a cliffhanger where the Doctor gets threatened with execution.  Who would have guessed?
No, we're not using triple exposure to deceive you
into thinking there are hundreds of us...why?" 

8) This is the second time in three serials that the villain uses androids to disguise their true intentions--and ironically these androids are way more effective than the stupid playing card android that served the Terrileptils in 'The Visitation', and fit easily into what The Doctor said about beauty in that previous tale.

9) Hope you liked the abrupt, fairly pointless and gratuitous death of Professor Kyle, because there’s more--loads more--of the same in the coming seasons.

10) While the death of Adric was shocking in its way, the silent ending of the credits running over his broken Badge For Mathematical Excellence is a tad over the top.

Overall...a portent of things to come, this is a messy and ill-conceived serial best remembered for its last few moments and not the ‘just go with it’ nature of the segments preceding it.

No comments:

Post a Comment