Colin Baker starts his first full season as the
space-traveling Time Lord with While
this adventure has one of The Doctor's most popular villains and also
a lot of in-jokes for old time fans, the show isn't as good as it
be. With a new format for the show as
well as a relatively new Doctor, the program makes several stumbles
it only a mediocre story overall.
If you're not familiar with Doctor Who, check out one of my
older reviews (like this
one) for a brief overview.
The 22nd season starts off with The Doctor (Colin
Baker) fixing the Chameleon Circuit on the TARDIS at last.
It malfunctioned in the very first episode
back in 1963, but hasn't worked since.
After mucking about with the circuits, an alien distress call is
up... but it's coming from Earth in 1985 where there should be no aliens.
Investigating, The Doctor and his companion Peri (Nicola
Bryant in very skimpy clothes... it looks like the BBC was trying to
adolescents and their fathers) discover a bank robbery led by Lytton,
for the Daleks who was left on Earth in the story Resurrection of
Of course Lytton isn't really trying to rob a
bank... he just needs his accomplishes in order to contact the Cybermen
living in the London
sewers. They're upset that their planet
Monad was destroyed (way back in their first appearance,) and they've
time machine to change history. (How the
time device was stolen is never explained.)
So they (The Cybermen) take Lytton, The Doctor, Peri, and a
goon, steal the TARDIS, and take everyone to Telos (the planet featured
in Tomb of the Cybermen) where they all
meet the Cryons, the indigenous people of
are nearly extinct by trying to fight the Cybermen.
Oh yeah, then there's the subplot where two
cybermen slaves escape and try to escape in a space ship which for some
means they have to storm the main Cybercontrol headquarters. Got all that?
I didn't think so.
If the synopsis is confusing, you
should see the show itself. While it has
a lot going for it the script just gets out of control and becomes
One of the things in the show's
favor is that the Cybermen are back, a race that I always felt was much
to the Daleks. Heck, if they Daleks
captured you that fate was just torture and death, for the Cybermen
they'd operate (without anesthesia) and turn you into one of them. That's a fate worse than death, but I
Colin Baker plays his role very
well in this story. He's recently
regenerated but he's also grumpy and a bit violent.
Viewers aren't sure whether it is just
temporary effects from the regeneration or if that's just the new
personality. The first time I saw this
(decades ago) I was a little worried when The Doctor pocketed a gun he
a crook. Would he really use a gun? Turns out he doesn't, but the question had me
in suspense for a while.
There are a lot of small continuity
nods to the long time fans that are fun too.
Not only is the Chameleon
Circuit repaired, but the TARDIS lands
at 76 Totter's Lane, the same place it was originally seen way back in
That continuity is also the show's downfall. They
try to tie up all of the loose ends in
every Cyberman story since the beginning and in the process just make
everything confusing. Yeah, it was fun
seeing Telos again (though it looking NOTHING like the original... a good
to skip that aspect of the story in my opinion,) in
order to get there they had to twist the
plot way past the breaking point. The
Cybermen have time travel? Okay, then
why do they need the TARDIS? Because
they have a time machine but they don't understand how it works so they
another one. Whatever.
The story is filled with so many plot devices it isn't
funny. The Cybermen are invading Earth,
they're on Telos, they are trying to save Monad, they're going to use
Comet to destroy Earth, they're fighting again the Cryons, is Lytton
good or evil?
etc. etc. In this story The Doctor is
only a supporting character in his own show.
The final gripe I have (well, that I'll discuss... I hated the music
though was trying to be funny, but I'm running out of steam for this
that the Cybermen were much too weak.
They were more fragile than a human, twice a guy hits a Cyberman
head with a metal bar, and the head goes flying off.
One kudo I'll give this story however is the increased level
of violence. The slight increase made
the show darker and much more suspenseful.
When they Cybermen torture someone by crushing his hands I was
surprised. It showed that they really
This story contains two 45-minute episodes (all of the
episodes from this season were 45-minutes long.
They reverted back to the 30-minute format with the following
season.) They are presented on a single
DVD-9 disc in a keepcase. The cover
matches the other US releases of Doctor
This show comes with the original mono soundtrack that fits
the show just fine. The dynamic range is
nothing to write home about, but the dialog is generally crisp and
there is no background noise, tape hiss, distortion or dropouts. There are optional subtitles in English.
The full frame image looks good, though not outstanding.
The Restoration Team has done their magic and
this show looks as good as can be expected given the age and videotape
of the program. The color is good though
not quite as intense as I would have liked.
The fine detail is good but the show is a little on the soft
side. This looks very comparable to
the other Who
releases from this time frame so if you've seen Timelash
for example you'll
know what to expect.
The Doctor Who discs
generally have a good selection of
bonus items, and this one is no different.
The there is a commentary track with actors Colin Baker and
Bryant accompanied by Terry Molloy for
the episode and Sarah Berger (Rost) for the second.
This was an entertaining track with no one
taking the story too seriously be not being disrespectful either. Colin admits that the story isn't that good
(he calls it "a bit of crap" if I recall correctly) but doesn't rip it
like he could.
There's also a very nice 27-minute documentary about this
story, The Cold War which looks at
the production but also focuses on who actually wrote the adventure. (It turns out that the script editor, Eric
Saward, did under a pseudonym because he wasn't supposed to buy scripts
next featurette is a 23-minute history of
the Cybermen entitled The Cyber Story
which is a bit of fun, especially if you're not familiar with the
this menace. The Cyber Generations is an brief look at how
the Cybermen have changed over the years, and Human Cyborg an 8-minute interview
with a cybernetics expert. It was dull,
dull, dull, and can be easily skipped.
There's also a pop-up informational text option, which is
very informative as always. It does
some dry statistics, like how many people viewed each episode, but
also some interesting notes such as script changes that were made and
background information on the supporting characters.
There's also a photo gallery, an isolated score, and the
listing from the Radio Times in .pdf format.
This story has a lot of problems mainly that it's confusing
and poorly paced, but it's not a total waste.
Colin Baker gives a good performance (when he's actually in the
and the slight nods to older fans were a nice touch.
It's just too bad the story became so
convoluted over the course of these two 45-minute episodes. Still, when all was said and done, I enjoyed
revisiting this story again. It gets a