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Friday, October 27, 2006

Tonight on Sci-Fi: The Doctor will witness the "Rise of the Cybermen"

"Le-let's cover up that noise... Uhhhh, give us Track Number Ninety."

"It's happening again... I've seen them before."

"Because it hurts."

"Delete, delete, delete..."

They haven't been seen by an American audience in 18 years.

But tonight, as Doctor Who continues the second season on the Sci-Fi Channel since its revival, the Cybermen return, in the first of a two-part story that is as horrifying as it is thrilling.

(By the way, here's my original review of this episode from back in May when I bootlegged it off the 'net.)

In "Rise of the Cybermen", The Doctor, Rose and Mickey accidentally wind up on the Earth of a parallel universe. On this "new" Earth, high-tech airships fill the skies of London and we see firsthand that the proliferation of compatible tech like laptops and Bluetooths may not be the best of ideas. While the Doctor desperately tries to fix the TARDIS, Rose and Mickey run off to see what their other-Earth counterparts are like. While all this is going on, John Lumic - the insane but genius head of Cybus Industries - is about to unveil the ultimate "upgrade package"... whether the leaders of Earth's governments are ready for it or not.

"Rise of the Cybermen" marks a reunion of sorts for David Tennant - who just keeps getting better and better as the Doctor - and Roger Lloyd-Pack, who is playing Lumic in this and the following episode. Tennant and Pack were seen in last year's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with Lloyd-Pack playing the vindictive Bartemus Crouch and Tennant playing his traitorous son Barty Crouch Jr. Lloyd-Pack does an ex-cellent (you have to say it like the Cybermen of the '80s) job portraying Lumic, giving the role an over-the-top insanity we haven't seen in the series since Davros. Which might not be a good thing since in some ways Lumic here is already too much like Davros, but I'm willing to overlook the similarities on this one.

"Rise of the Cybermen" ends with a terrifying cliff-hanger that continues next week with "The Age of Steel". Combined, these two episodes represent some of the best Doctor Who since the series was re-started up almost two years ago. Definitely worth watching tonight and next week.

EDIT 8:46 PM EST: SCI-FI CHANNEL CUT OUT A GREAT SCENE!!! It's the part where Lumic is talking to his henchman who's demonstrating the "work" done on the homeless guys. Okay well he tells them to march forward and the door opens and they head on through, and past the door we hear people screaming. Okay in the original run of the episode on the BBC, the henchman says that it's too much noise "give us Track Number Ninety". A technician activates a console... and we start hearing the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". It continues to play as we see what's going on past the doors: these evil mechanical arms with things like buzzsaws and knifeblades and injectors and whatnot slicing up those poor dudes while they're still screaming. It's a GREAT scene and... I can't believe that Sci-Fi deleted it!!