Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Doing something interesting with the Cybermen

As ever, I'm a bit behind with my Who-blogging - in particular I want to do a decent write-up of the I, Davros series which I listened to commuting last week - but two of the recent batch had something interesting in common.

Real Time was one of the animated Who stories done by the BBC in the run-up to the real revival in 2005, bringing the Sixth Doctor and his Big Finish companion Evelyn Smythe to the screen, encountering the remnants of the Cybermen and faced with a time-travel paradox (and the rather wooden acting of Yee Jee Tso). It's got its limitations - the drawing is not great, especially compared with the animations of the missing episodes of The Invasion, and the plot is as always with Cybermen stories rather nonsensical - but I was very intrigued by the concept of Yee Jee Tso's character, a far-future humanised Cyberman, trying to prevent a time paradox - it seemed an original and potentially interesting riff on the basic Cyberman idea.

The Harvest is a Big Finish production in the standard sequence, with the Seventh Doctor and Ace visiting a near-future hospital and coming away with a new companion, Hex. The interesting thing about the Cybermen here is that they are in league with the fiendish shadowy forces of authority, in collusion with Brussels (a detail which made me giggle but also reflect on the extent to which knee-jerk Europhobia has infiltrated everywhere in the UK). Normally the Cybermen are invaders, infiltrators from outside; to see them converting and corrupting society from within was new and interesting. Also the story sounds intriguingly as if it is heading in the direction of The Evil of the Daleks, though then takes a different turn.

Neither of these is as good as the greatest Cyberman story ever, which is Spare Parts, but they both take the Cyberman concept to places it has not gone on TV, where the only original Cyberman story after their first appearance is Tomb of the Cybermen - sad to say, the most interesting thing a Cyberman does in their 2006 incarnation is the fooling around on the gag reel of the DVDs which is the source for my icon (thanks again to bohemiancoast).
Tags: doctor who, doctor who: 06, doctor who: 07
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