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May 19, 2006

Preaching To The Converted

I was so looking forward to this. A returning enemy, a classic director - alternate worlds - lives in peril - human terror and walking steel death - what could go wrong? Er, quite a lot actually.

Oh don't get me wrong, there WAS a lot to like. The leads all had their moments in the spotlight. The Cybermen looked just fabulous. The Doctor was suitably Doctorish. Jackie Tyler was actually less annoying than Rose (which isn't saying much I know). Once again, Micky came off best. The delving into his back-story was long overdue, and urban warrior Ricky was nicely different.


But Roger Lloyd-Pack's performance...what was he thinking? Okay, so maybe the intention was to portray a man who is slowly divorcing himself of all his emotions in his obsessive quest to outwit death. My opinion kept veering from  "this is intentional - it's a homage to the Cybermen" to "this is pretty awful acting" before finally settling on "this is just crap". It wasn't Trigger in the mis-adventures of Del and Rodney he was channelling thank God, it was worse - it was Grottbags in "Emu's Pink Windmill Show". It's a real shame, as I'm sure RLP can act far better than this. I haven't seen acting this hammy since Richard Briers all those years ago.

The alternate versions of Rose's family were okay I guess. Pete was a better dressed wide-boy with connections and Jackie came across as a Chav Alexis Carrington with added cleavage. At least she gave Rose a good tongue-lashing. Heaven knows that when Rose was doing all her gooey-eyes at the Doc to persuade him to take her to see Pete, I just wanted to happy slap her (again). What an immature child.

It wasn't Trigger in the mis-adventures of Del and Rodney he was channelling thank God, it was worse - it was Grottbags in "Emu's Pink Windmill Show".

Other highlights? The TARDIS crash scene was just fabulous, as was the Doctor's reaction to the supposed death of his oldest friend (and is it really the oldest TARDIS in the universe?) The guy in the "downloading" crowd scene looked eerily familiar. The music choices were totally bizarre. Rigsby's ex-lodger made it to be Prime Minister.The Cybermen were (eventually) suitably menacing with their joy buzzer of death and I loved the militaristic marching with the mechanical "clomping" sound effect. Oh and that crash through the window was pretty cool.


I think my real problem with Rise Of The Cybermen was that it was just missing that magic "spark" that makes truly great TV. The sum of the (spare) parts just didn't quite make a cohesive whole.  I had no problems with the excellent direction or the music or the Cyber-voices - I was just hoping for epic confrontations and insights into the the human obsession with technology. Instead it was a panto evil genius and a cliffhanger as scary as Twiki from Buck Rogers. Maybe next week will deliver.

Talking of which, I'm going on holiday for a week, so my next review will be even later than usual! Enjoy The Age Of Steel.


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