Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christmas in Who-Ville

Warning: Spoilers
(spoilage factor: the same as the leftover meat sack once the Cybermen have converted someone)

I finally had a chance to watch the new Christmas episode of "Doctor Who" the other day (thanks to a co-worker of mine who's also an SF fan and, being a Brit, can't miss episodes of the new Doctor and was kind enough to pass this one along when he was done with it). A good installment in the series, if not great.

It was appropriate for the Cybermen to be behind the invasion of Victorian London. With that era focussing on bigger and better machines, the advancement of science and the ever-present question of man's place amidst the adaptations (with people frequently being dehumanized into little more than flesh machines in the factories), the Cybermen, with their goal of conversion and mechanized progress, were a good fit.

That being said, I have to admit I'm getting a little bored with the constant apparent extinctions of the Cybermen (and the Daleks too), followed by their reappearances. Yes, yes, they're among the favourite badguys of the series, but it's more than a little contrived to see them brought back time and again after banishments and wipeouts just because the writers need some super bad-asses (or, in the case of the Cybermen, hard-asses) to perpetrate terrifying acts of brutality as part of some larger scheme. As neat as they have been to watch, let's just be done with them, shall we?

And there was something about the plot that didn't make sense... So they snagged kids from the workhouses to use as labour. Fine. Makes sense for the time period. But why wouldn't they convert them into more Cybermen? Even mini-Cybermen? Isn't that the Borg-ish thing that Cybermen are supposed to do?

And what was with thsoe weird, brass-face-plated Cyber-ape things?

However, I did think the TARDIS balloon created by the other trauma-induced-amnesiac "Doctor" was pretty funny.

And the steampunk mech that the Cybermen were driving in the end simply rocked! Ya gotta love a hundred foot tall steam-powered, gear-driven Cyberman/mobile factory. Steampunk + giant robots + Doctor Who = extreme coolness.

And now the waiting begins. Not too many more appearances left for Tennant before he hands the reins over to the 11th Doctor - that really young guy I've never heard of (my coworker says he's apparently a stage actor). I'll miss Tennant's frenetic energy, and part of me thinks they should have swung the pendalum back a bit and cast someone older than Tennant, but I'm willing to give the kid a chance - after all, the producers have been spot-on with their casting so far.

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