Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review: "Nightmare in Silver"

Well, they were doing well with "The Crimson Horror". Then this came along.

Spoilers follow.

Okay, so... hiding the text as best I can.

The Doctor takes Clara and the two brats she nannies to some amusement park planet. There they meet some weird dude who is a con-artist of some kind. Does fraudulent chess games with a fake Cyberman run by a small guy named Porridge (hello "Willow").

Next thing you know, there's Cybermen on the planet with little cyber-mites that can take the con-artist then the kids, then the Doctor.

You see, they've upgraded now and can take over anything and anyone. The Doctor engages in a chess match with the fake personality trying to take over his mind and body.

Okay, enough... moving on. So, Porridge is the Emperor of a Thousand Galaxies. The Cybermen are blown up. La-dee-da.

All-in-all, "Nightmare in Silver" is a return to shoddy writing for this season of "Doctor Who". It's choppy and poorly-paced with a great deal of nothing in-between. There is no point to the story and it feels both forced and poorly-paced. While Gaiman does a good job making the Cybermen creepy again by making them akin to "Star Trek's" Borg, there's far too much of the banter between the Doctor and the invading Cyber-personality that really is kind of empty. Further, there's the incessant hitting us over the head with the idea that the Doctor is obsessed with Clara, not just as some kind of weird and contrived mystery but he's also thinking of her in a romantic sense (which is really, really getting tired).

Disappointing stuff, as far as I'm concerned. Better than "The Bells of St. John" and "The Rings of Akhaaten" (or however that's spelled) but pretty weak overall.

Next week is "The Doctor's Name" and I'm genuinely dreading that at this point.

EDIT: I wrote this too-rushed and irritated. So, overall the story is an okay homage to the Cybermen. It's creepy and has them as a solid and insidious threat. It really ups their game. Honestly, if it was just about the Cybermen in this, I probably wouldn't have too much of an issue with this story.

No, my problem is with everything else. The weird interjection of Porridge the Emperor-in-Exile. The two random children who prove that "Doctor Who" may be a kids' show but should never star children. Ye gods, but the girl was the least-likeable character I've seen on that show in ages. And the boy was just a walking cliche for the ten minutes he did anything.

The rag-tag soldiers had promise, but wound up being fairly-uninteresting and dull. Clara was given a moment to give some kind of definition to her otherwise-bland personality and really just shouted orders a lot. We got that in the form of Amy Pond and Donna Noble before. Been there. Both were more interesting characters with better-defined personalities. Clara still is missing something to make me actually care about her as a character. The fact that she babysits two of the most annoying children in time-and-space is not helping.

Seriously, the two kids get in a time-space machine and travel to a different planet and the girl is blase about this? I call bullshit on this. I would have given this story much higher marks if I'd actually cared about anyone in it. Instead I was kind of hoping they'd just blow up the planet with everyone on it.

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