Visit the official Doctor Who website

Visit the official Doctor Who website
Look to the future

Asylum seekers...

Asylum seekers...
Refuge of the Daleks

Doctor Who picture resource

Doctor Who picture resource
Roam the space lanes!

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website

Explore the Doctor Who classic series website
Step back in time

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood

Infiltrate The Hub of Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood
Armed and extremely dangerous

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures

Investigate The Sarah Jane Adventures
Fearless in the face of adversity

Call on Dani’s House

Call on Dani’s House
Harmer’s a charmer

Intercept the UFO fabsite

Intercept the UFO fabsite
Defending the Earth against alien invaders!

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse

Uncover the secrets of the Dollhouse
Programmable agent Echo exposed!

Hell’s belles

Hell’s belles
Naughty but nice

Love Exposure

Love Exposure
Flash photography!

Primeval portal

Primeval portal
Dressed to kill or damsels in distress?

Charmed, to be sure!

Charmed, to be sure!
The witches of San Francisco

Take on t.A.T.u.

Take on t.A.T.u.
All the way from Moscow

Proceed to the Luther website

Proceed to the Luther website
John and Jenny discuss their next move

DCI Banks is on the case

DCI Banks is on the case
You can bet on it!

On The Grid with Spooks

On The Grid with Spooks
Secret agents of Section D

Bridge to Hustle

Bridge to Hustle
Shady characters

Life on Ashes To Ashes

Life on Ashes To Ashes
Coppers with a chequered past

Claire’s no Exile

Claire’s no Exile
Goose steps

Vexed is back on the beat!

Vexed is back on the beat!
Mismatched DI Armstrong and bright fast-tracker Georgina Dixon

Medium, both super and natural

Medium, both super and natural
Open the door to your dreams

Who’s that girl? (350-picture Slideshow)

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Staying Steely-eyed!


I have read a fair amount of criticism concerning the most recent episode of "Doctor Who", "Rise of the Cybermen". The finger of failure seems pointed at Graeme Harper but I don't believe any shortcomings, in the latest adventure, should be attributed to him. He has been given a script to work with, from which he cannot radically depart! He has said he wasn't sure about revealing even the silhouette of the creature in the teaser sequence but that Russell T Davies insisted. If Graeme is interested in further work on the show, he's not exactly in a position to argue! In the commentary on this episode, he refers back to his previous work on the show, during the Eighties, as "in his day", thus revealing he sees this outing as a second lease of life.

It has been a tradition in Cybermen stories, with some notable exceptions, to keep their initial appearance back until the mid-point of the story and this he did, save the aforementioned pre-titles suggestion. With the word Cybermen in the title, everyone was watching and waiting for them to appear, me included! Had they appeared halfway through the 46-minute episode, the same criticism that was made against "Attack of the Cybermen", in 1985, would have applied; namely, that two twenty-five minute episodes had simply been joined together. Here was an attempt, successful or not, within the current style of "Doctor Who", to structure the episode according to its length and build to the smashing revelation!

This Saturday, there will be no waiting! The Cybermen will be in it throughout. I hope nobody attributes the supposed slower pace of the first episode, of what is a two-part story, to the fact that Graeme is approximately 20 years older than other directors on the series. He has learnt from experience and gave us the strongest mid-point of any of his "Doctor Who" stories. Using traditional low angles and wide lens shots of real actors in full Cyber-regalia is preferable to CGI any day. You feel their physical presence! Breaking through the panes of glass reminded me of the Sixties' Cybermen breaking out of their tomb on Telos. Harper's imagery will stay in the minds of today's children as much as previous, now iconic, representations have stayed with us. The Doctor crashing through a mirror on horseback, reinforced with a knowing wink seemingly to Reinette but really for the benefit of the audience, from the previous story, is another such image.

Mickey, mumbling ominously about being nothing more than a "spare part", near the beginning of "Rise of the Cybermen", not only references the Big Finish audio detailing the creation of the Cybermen, obviously an influence on the current story, but is also how the Cybermen describe themselves in their original story, "The Tenth Planet". An interesting turn of events might be if Mickey is "upgraded", in an act of self-sacrifice, while Ricky, his less-likeable doppelgänger, gets to join the crew of the TARDIS! Something similar was done with Chief O'Brien in an episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", though immediately forgotten the following week! This would go some way to explaining the ninth Doctor's inability to call Mickey by his correct name, other than sarcasm or indifference.

Of course, other aspects of the story may try one's patience. I'm sure you know which character I'm thinking about, or trying not to! As predicted, this being an alternate Earth, Jackie wasn't indeed her usual self... She was even worse!! I'm sure, with that sharp tongue of hers, she could talk to death, the Cyberman which followed her down into the cellar, as part of the double cliffhanger!!! She'll probably rise from the grave singing "I will Survive", which would be no less camp than Tight Fit's "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"! As an aside, there's a more unusual version of that song, which could've been used instead, by current U2 producer Brian Eno, recorded after leaving Roxy Music in the mid-Seventies. But I digress... I'll leave you with the thought that isn't the above image of the Cyber Controller, from this Saturday's forthcoming episode, starting at the earlier time of 6.35pm, entitled "The Age of Steel", reminiscent of H R Giger's designs for Ridley Scott's 1979 film "Alien"?

3 comments:

Stuart Douglas said...

Hmm, I didn't like (and like it less each time I've seen it) but although I was a bit disappointed with the direction (possibly due to being so impressed with Caves), the script and design were far bigger problems.

Zeppelins in the sky = Alt Universe seems to me to be as far as imagination went in constructing the new world, and the plot holes in the script were big enough to drive an IE truck through.

Add in the horrible, horrible sound of Jackie Tyler....sorry, the writer trying to give the new Cybermen a catchphrase a la 'Exterminate' ('Delete', 'Delete', 'Delete' indeed!) and I'm tempted to say that it was the worst episode of the last two seasons and would be hard pushed to win a poll of best episode in the McCoy seasons.

karensff said...

I loved part two. I was sitting at the edge of my seat through it all. I also liked the Cyberleader. Ok, so I was wrong, Jackie wasn't so different in this world. But you had to feel sorry for Rose and her dad when CyberJackie introduced herself.

Karen

Stewart M. said...

It really doesn't remind me of any of Giger's work, to be honest...

It just looks like a bunch of hoses/tubes slapped together on a sort of throne. More of a cheap knockoff of Lee Sullivan's fantastic Cyber-Controller drawings from the Real Time webcast.