In 1974, you couldn’t move down here for Cybermen. In fact, in an amusing incident, Tom Baker sprained his ankle on that rock there… Just goes to show how easily these accidents happen.
Watching this serial has been a prolonged affair, due to various social and work commitments around the turn of the year – it’s taken me seven days to watch these four episodes. That could explain why I struggled to properly get in to it, but I reckon that it’s mostly down to the serial being fairly rubbish.
I’m a big fan of the early Cybermen, and was looking forward to seeing them again after such a long gap. But the early Cybermen aren’t back after all. They’ve turned into generic robots, with very little in common with the cold, creepy monsters from Troughton’s day. Making them sleek and shiny totally misses the point that they are upgraded humanoids, and it was a real mistake to give them booming, clear voices. These are not Cybermen – they’re just annoying self-satisfied idiots.
Also, I’d always accepted that Cybermen are allergic to gold, and hadn’t really noticed that it was never mentioned in the ’60s. But now I’ve seen how haphazardly it’s introduced into the mythology, I’m no longer on board with it. It’s just completely contrived, and it stands out like a sore thumb. Bring back Polly’s special melty spray.
The Vogans weren’t much better. I didn’t care about their internal politics, and it’s really confusing to have rival factions of aliens when they’re all in incredibly similar masks. The non-speaking ones all looked like Michael Winner. The Ark crew were a lot more interesting, along with the gadget-loving turncoat, but they were struggling for screen time towards the end.
The last couple of episodes did build up nicely to an exciting conclusion, but even that was hampered by the execution. The Doctor flying the Beacon all the way round Voga would have been great with a few model shots, but was just nauseating as a POV on the monitor. Oh, and you can’t get away with zooming into something to imply it’s moving closer to the camera if the background also moves.
On the plus side, “Harry Sullivan is an imbecile” made me laugh more than anything in the show for a long time. But overall a disappointing end to a brilliant season.
SEASON AVERAGE RATING: 8.4
- Seasons/Series watched: 12 of 35
- Stories watched: 79 of 260
- Individual episodes watched: 401 of 826