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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Doctor Who and the Cyberman-a-tron 

I enjoyed the 2008 Christmas special but ... well  ... the end was just silly.

I used to watch Doctor Who a lot when I was a kid but, in an era that lacked video recorders I didn't manage to watch all the episodes and so I am not completely aware of all the Cybermen stories or their history. I have filled in some of the gaps but that exercise has left me even more troubled about the Christmas episode. I have found mentions of Cybermats (a friend suggested they were possible precursors to the Shades) and the Cyberking as a type of Cyberman Dreadnought starship for invading new worlds.

The new Cybermen come from a parallel Earth and have nothing to do with the Cybermen the Doctor encountered in his prior existences, although they do coincidentally have a similar appearance and the same name. They first tangled with the Doctor when he accidentally slipped into the parallel universe and then again when they crossed the Void and battled with the Daleks at Canary Wharf. The Doctor banished them all back into the Void and later they fell out, presumably during the wall-between-universes-weakening messing around at the end of the last series.

However, where in all that time would they have built or found a Cyberman Dreadnought starship?

The new Cybermen would not really know of space travel. Their existence has been limited to the Earths. They would have no reason to build a starship to invade another world when they had the Earth of 1851 to invade.

It is feasible that they could have found more from the Daleks -- the Daleks would have had knowledge of space travel and possibly of the old Cybermen. It is also feasible that they found the Cyberking in the Void as a remnant of the old Cybermen.

However, that sort of thing should have been explained. The way the Christmas episode was presented seemed like RTD had muddled some of the new and old ideas of Cybermen with no thought as to how it should have worked. The idea of the Cyberking stomping all over Victorian London at the end was all.

I like the new Doctor Who. It is fun and exciting and there are some brilliantly written stories but there are some that just get carried away with themselves. This, unfortunately was one of them. The major hook for the story was whether David Morrissey was really the 11th Doctor but that question was answered very early on with the very low tech versions of the Tardis and the Sonic Screwdriver. That just left the Cybermen, as butch as ever, but with the goal of taking over the world with a giant Transformer.

On another but related subject ... what is going to happen with Doctor Who? No series next year. RTD has announced he is stepping down with Stephen Moffat to take over in 2010. David Tennant to do the four specials, if his back injury allows, but with someone else taking over in 2010.

I am concerned that the series will die again. A year is a long time and four specials (which might not happen if David isn't well enough) will not keep the fickle British public's attention or interest. That and the BBC's predilection to cut series during financial troubles leads me to think that Doctor Who's future isn't that secure.

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Comments:
i think you're wrong about several things in this blog. first and foremost the comment about the cybermen not getting access to the cyberking or have time to build it. you correctly noted that it was mentioned in this episode that they stole technology from the daleks including plenty of information. they would have had 2 years in order to build this cyberking. also the time in the void runs differently to the time on earth, therefore giving them even more time to do this. the information rods that the cybermen had were also probably stolen from the daleks, which would have told them anything they needed to know about the doctor and their own technology, telling them how to build the cyberking. you are correct in saying that they didn't explain a lot in this episode, but that's the point. dr who rarely explains itself because nowadays it is aimed at the younger generation who dont want it all explained. all they want is to sit in front of the tv and watch an adventure. also the word 'feasable' cannot be used when talking about dr who.nothing in dr who is feasable. its not meant to be feasable.
 
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