Sunday, May 14, 2006

American DOCTOR WHO fans: Download this episode NOW!

The Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose (Billie Piper) in a scene from the new episode "Rise of the Cybermen"
In what has become a Saturday night/Sunday afternoon ritual for me, I just finished downloading (with BitComet, after finding it through Torrent Scan so now you know how to nab it :-) and watching the newest episode of Doctor Who a few hours after it aired in Great Britain... meaning it won't run here in America until sometime next year. And boy, was it ever worth it. Tonight saw the return of one of the Doctor's most frightening enemies ever: the Cybermen.

"Rise of the Cybermen" is EXCELLENT (you have to say it like the Cybermen did back in the Eighties: "Ex-Cellent!"). A scary situation lands the TARDIS on an alternate-reality Earth where apparently the Hindenburg never exploded: high-tech dirgibles filling the London skies are the ultimate symbol of wealth and luxury. While the Doctor tries (and fails) to keep Rose and Mickey from running off to peek at their parallel-universe lives (or lack thereof), an insane industrialist named John Lumic, head of the Cybus Corporation, is trying to woo world leaders into accepting the ultimate "upgrade package". The episode ends with the Cybermen - more menacing than ever after an absence of 18 years - marching down on the Doctor and other hostages. There is no preview for next week's episode, "The Age of Steel", that sees the conclusion of this two-part story: all we get is a "To Be Continued...".

Roger Lloyd-Pack, recently seen playing Barty Crouch Sr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which ironically also had new Doctor David Tennant playing Barty Crouch Jr.) used U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as the inspiration for his portrayal of John Lumic. Without saying anything about Rumsfeld, Lloyd-Pack's Lumic is madness the likes of which we haven't seen on Doctor Who since Davros. Which may be a problem for some people: in a lot of ways Lumic is too much like the Daleks's creator, right down to the life-support wheelchair and insane babbling. What I mostly wonder about though is how the creation of the Cybermen in this "other reality" conflicts with everything we know about the Cybermen's origins from throughout the previous decades. Want my theory? This "other Earth" is going to wind up being the Mondas - the homeworld of the Cybermen - in the real timeline. I don't know how they'll pull that off but that's what I'm betting.

Some of the best CGI effects seen on TV lately, intense acting, a healthy (and demented: the "In The Jungle" scene especially) dose of humor, and some moments of horror that will have you ducking behind the proverbial sofa... "Rise of the Cybermen" should be considered must-see-NOW viewing for any fans of Doctor Who on this side of the pond.

(By the way, for what it's worth, I think this episode proves that the Cybermen would kick Star Trek's Borg's collective butt anytime :-)


Magnus said...

I stated this a couple of times on my blog, but they really do remind me of the 80's version of Iron Man.

Chris Knight said...

THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT TOO!! Right down to the circle (acutally it's a stylized "C") on their chests.

Magnus said...

BTW, my friend and I had an idea for an alternate universe Doctor Who as played by Samuel L. Jackson.

Chris Knight said...

That's so weird 'cuz yesterday I found myself thinking that it'd be neat if a black actor could play the Doctor sometime. 'Course he'd have to be British (or from somewhere in the commonwealth). How about that guy who played Cat on Red Dwarf?

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