Doctor Who: Rise of the Cybermen

Part one of a two-parter. After an accident, the Doctor and his companions find themselves on a parallel Earth where zeppelins fly over London, Rose’s father is still alive and an old enemy is being created under new circumstances.

I apologise for the late review; thanks to Saturday’s FA Cup Final overrunning, everything after it was shown twenty minutes later. Including Doctor Who. Since I was away at the time, my carefully-set-up recording was cut off before the end. I wasn’t back in time for the Sunday repeat, but fortunately there’s another repeat on a Friday so I was finally able to see the end tonight and can bring you the complete review.

Cast and Crew

David Tennant as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith
Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler
Shaun Dingwall as Pete Tyler
Andrew Hayden Smith as Jake Simmonds
Roger Lloyd-Pack as John Lumic
Helen Griffin as Mrs. Moore
Colin Spaull as Mr. Crane
Mona Hammond as Rita-Anne
Duncan Duff as Newsreader
Paul Kasey as the Cyber-Leader
Paul Antony-Barber as Dr. Kendrick
Adam Shaw as Morris
Andrew Ufondo as Soldier
Don Warrington as the President
Nicholas Briggs provided the Cybermen’s voices

Written by Tom MacRae

Directed by Graeme Harper

Cybermen created by Gerry Davis and Kit Pedler

Originally aired on the 13th of May 2006 on BBC One in the United Kingdom.

Synopsis

An accident strands the TARDIS in an alternate universe, and while waiting for the power source to recharge the travellers discover that an old enemy of the Doctor has been recreated on Earth.

High Points

  • The President’s rejection of the Cyberman project. He said exactly what needed to be said, and he said it very well.
  • ‘Okay, so it’s London with a big international Zeppelin festival.’

Low Points

  • ‘She’s dead. The TARDIS is dead.’ Of course she isn’t! So regenerations have different personalities, but surely no Doctor would give up on the TARDIS that quickly. And we didn’t believe it for a moment, of course.
  • ‘Delete! Delete! Delete!’ Firstly, where did this come from? It’s not a Cyberman thing. Secondly, does anybody hear it and not think ‘Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!’ The Cybermen are not Daleks, but at the end of the episode one would have been forgiven for thinking otherwise. Especially with their creator scooting around in a wheelchair.

The Scores

So it was about the Cybermen this time, but this struck me as very similar to Genesis of the Daleks in quite a few ways. That coupled to the basic un-originality of the plot gives this episode a disappointing two out of six.

The effects were good, except for some of those relating to Jackie’s earphones. I also felt that the single blue LED in the Cyberman costume looks a little ridiculous by itself, but the costumes themselves are excellent. Five out of six.

A good story, perhaps overly burdened by the predictable behaviour of people visiting an alternate universe, and let down a bit by memories of Genesis of the Daleks. Also, why do the Cyberman origin story in a parallel universe? Why not do the Cybermen in our universe? Four out of six.

We’ve come to expect good acting and we get it again, although I felt the President was a little weak. Five out of six.

Does irritation count as a positive emotional response? No, I didn’t think so. The climax of the episode makes quite an impact, but I spent some of the Rose scenes squirming. Four out of six.

Very solid-looking new Cyberman suits get the thumbs up for production, but unfortunately there are parts where it’s pretty obvious that they’re filmining in Cardiff, not in London, which is unusual for this series unless you know London really well. The riverside just didn’t look like the Thames though — and most of the cars are sporting Cardiff registration plates, although in an alternate Earth perhaps that can be accepted in the same way that the police uniforms not belonging to any London force from our world can be accepted. And where did Rose pick up a new phone? I know she’s had plenty of opportunity to do so, but it feels more like a continuity glitch than it should. Four out of six.

Overall, it was good, but not as good as the return of the Cybermen should have been. Five out of six, simply because it does turn out to be enjoyable in the end, and it’s already suitably penalised in the other categories.

So the grand total for Rise of the Cybermen is twenty-nine out of forty-two.

14 replies on “Doctor Who: Rise of the Cybermen”

  1. y42 says:

    Alternate sci-fi discussion was cute
    And god, I love zeppelins! And lenticulars! I found it odd that they were doing the dad and daughter thing again though.

    I also second the thought on the dying Tardis.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: Alternate sci-fi discussion was cute
      We’re still not getting the new season in Canada, so I cannot comment intelligently on this ep. It seems to me that, with all the mucking about with time and the alternative timelines we’ve seen in the Doc’s long history, we should be seeing a lot more "alternative universe" stories.

      How do an "alternate universe" and an "alternate timeline" differ?

      • Daemonik says:

        Re: Alternate sci-fi discussion was cute

        How do an "alternate universe" and an "alternate timeline" differ?

        I’m not a physicist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so let me take a stab at this.

        Seems that an ‘Alternate Timeline’ would exist only if changes are made to the established timeline.

        An ‘Alternate Universe’ would be wholly independent of your originating universe, and could subsequently have it’s timeline altered without effecting the timeline of your originating universe.

        That’s my theory.

      • y42 says:

        Re: Alternate sci-fi discussion was cute

        How do an "alternate universe" and an "alternate timeline" differ?

        Timeshredder, you’re letting us down ;-)

        An alternate timeline is caused by a temporal incursion, and creates a fork in this universe’s timeline. The fork can be a split or be reconciled at a later point in time with the original timeline.

        An alternate universe exist independantly of the first universe, although they can be very similar. The key difference is that each universe has its own matter, whilst alternate timelines of a same universe only has the mass of one universe.

        For instance, meeting yourself in an alternate timeline is a paradox, but meeting your alternate universe self only leads to comedic situations and misunderstandings. Also, one will be your evil self and wear a goatee.

        • J_W_W says:

          Re: Alternate sci-fi discussion was cute

          For instance, meeting yourself in an alternate timeline is a paradox, but meeting your alternate universe self only leads to comedic situations and misunderstandings. Also, one will be your evil self and wear a goatee.

          Dang, you’re right. Ricky really needed a goatee!!!

          • y42 says:

            Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast

            For instance, meeting yourself in an alternate timeline is a paradox, but meeting your alternate universe self only leads to comedic situations and misunderstandings. Also, one will be your evil self and wear a goatee.

            Dang, you’re right. Ricky really needed a goatee!!!

            Well, it seems this isn’t Ricky’s evil universe, it’s his Ace universe. But they did tease us a bit about him being evil…

  2. joe__gee says:

    I enjoyed this one as much …
    as I enjoyed the first episode of last season’s two-parter, the Empty Child. Although it wasn’t creepy, it was certainly fun. As a Yank, I didn’t notice the Cardiff/London differences, and where/when did Rose lose her cell phone? I see Rose’s cell phone becoming her equivalent of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.

    Speaking of sonic screwdrivers, I downloaded and watched "Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death" a few days ago. There seemed to be a lot of setup, but once the Doctor was rapidly forced through several regenerations, Joanna Lumley saying "it has THREE settings" made the program for me. :)

    And I love Julia Sawalha anyways.

    -Joe

  3. Alexius says:

    Delete
    I Did Hate The Cyberman’s Delete, And Yeah, The Creator Seemed A Bit To Davros Inspired For Me, But The TARDIS Crash Scene Was Excellent, I Thought. And Him Saying ‘It’s Dead’ Sounds To Me Just Like He Could Tell The Parts That Were On It Weren’t Functioning At All. I’m Not Saying He Nessicarily Thought The TARDIS Couldn’t Come Back, But That It’s Current State At That Moment Was ‘Dead’.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Delete

      I Did Hate The Cyberman’s Delete, And Yeah, The Creator Seemed A Bit To Davros Inspired For Me, But The TARDIS Crash Scene Was Excellent, I Thought. And Him Saying ‘It’s Dead’ Sounds To Me Just Like He Could Tell The Parts That Were On It Weren’t Functioning At All. I’m Not Saying He Nessicarily Thought The TARDIS Couldn’t Come Back, But That It’s Current State At That Moment Was ‘Dead’.

      Something I note, at least in here there was a great clamor for writers other than RTD, but now that we’re getting them people don’t seem to like their episodes as much. :)

      I agree, DELETE DELETE DELETE, and the fellow in the wheelchair, was very Davros. :)

      -Joe

  4. babasyzygy says:

    Request
    This is not a complaint, I understand that the reviews can take time to write and this is a volunteer effort. However…

    If the reviews are going to take the better part of a week to be posted, can we get "discussion" topics in the meantime, while the episode is fresh in our minds?

  5. mark_2006 says:

    Tony Blair
    I thought from a story-telling point of view, the massive impact of the death of the TARDIS was undermined by the solution presenting itself almost immediately.

    Also, why did Mickey give the example of a parallel universe where Blair never got elected? Harriet Jones is the PM in Doctor Who!

    Other than that the cybermen looked awesome.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Tony Blair

      Also, why did Mickey give the example of a parallel universe where Blair never got elected? Harriet Jones is the PM in Doctor Who!

      Hey, nice catch! Though I think Harriet got the boot after the events of the xmas invasion…

    • Antti Helin says:

      Re: Tony Blair
      Harriet Jones was the MP after the invasion, yes, but the invasion might have took place in say 2006 or 2007 or thereabouts, so that Blair has already left his post. It’s also possible Blair’s been PM but not as long. I don’t think it’s an issue, but having Mickey use Harriet Jones for the example would have been a lot better and segued into the series universe well. But there’s always wiggle room. :)

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