Well, as an officially designated anniversary story, that was pretty underwhelming, especially considering it’s the second time this story’s been done this season. The ancient Gallifreyan weapon? Different factions fighting over it? The Doctor being all mysterious, before revealing that he’d set the whole thing up in the first place in order to destroy one of his greatest enemies? Ace’s ghetto blaster? It’s exactly the same as Remembrance, only not as good, and their proximity really emphasises this.
The Cybermen were the big baddies here, looking shinier than ever before with their big silver heads. They were pretty ineffectual here, with no real plan and absolutely no control over proceedings. They were just constantly chasing the action, making threats that they never put into action, and retreating at the first signs of trouble. I love the idea of the Cybermen, but they’ve only ever been brilliant in the 60s. These are a very pale imitation of the originals.
I was obviously aware beforehand that this is supposedly one of the worst of all time, and while I can certainly see why people think that way, I didn’t think it was completely terrible. This is mainly thanks to McCoy and Aldred, who have an incredible energy between them. Ace is quickly becoming the perfect companion – ballsy, fiercely loyal, capable of being truly exceptional and yet remaining completely identifiable. She’s much, much closer to Rose than she is to Mel.
As with Remembrance, the best bits of this one surrounded The Doctor and the newfound levels of mystery around his past. All the stuff towards the end about his secrets being unveiled was great, as was his defiance, almost willing Lady Whatserchops to just do it and fuck the consequences. McCoy is a great Doctor, and he really excels whenever he gets the opportunity to inhabit the darker side of his nature.
Aside from this and the other parts that mirrored Remembrance, the plot was pretty thin and forgettable, but there were enough neat little touches to keep me interested. Nazis are always fun – as long as they’re fictional and not part of the President’s staff – and I liked the comedy wrung out of Elizabethan pair and their chat in the back of a limo. Also a big fan of The Doctor chasing the Queen around Windsor Castle, and I’m amused to note that Cybermen hate jazz. At last we agree on something.
Add in some decent fight sequences, most of which involving seeing rubbish Cybermen being blown up by golden projectiles, and while it’s far from excellent, it’s nowhere near the worst of all time. It’s not even the worst this season, and is actually quite enjoyable in the most part, and I think being confined to three episodes helps. These serials, and indeed seasons, are just zipping by at the moment. I’m past half way on McCoy, and I’m rapidly running out of classic DVDs…