Doctor Who series 7: Nightmare In Silver review

Review Simon Brew 11 May 2013 - 19:43

Neil Gaiman's second Doctor Who story brings in the Cybermen. Here's our spoiler-filled take on Nightmare In Silver...

This review contains spoilers. Our spoiler-free review is here.

Nightmare In Silver

We wonder if, having got to the end of Nightmare In Silver, that there's a core of Doctor Who fans who categorise the episode as 'not the one we expected'. We'd probably put ourselves in that camp too to an extent. We're not quite sure what we thought we were going to get when it was revealed that Neil Gaiman was reinventing the Cybermen. But Nightmare In Silver feels a little different, which is mainly a positive thing here.

The whole episode, after all, was bathed in sci-fi. The setting of a futuristic theme park - Hedgewick's World Of Wonders here (which, by the map, looked like it would be an ace day out) - with exhibits going wrong certainly helped the late Michael Crichton on more than one occasion. Meanwhile, the legacy of Doctor Who, and the Cybermen in particular, is a clear reference point for the latest take on the silver soldiers (with even a drop of Willy Wonka added in). In reworking the Cybermen that John Lumic (okay, Trigger) put his own spin on in 2006, Gaiman has dipped right back to their earlier days. Back to the last point, arguably, when the Cybermen were still able to get under your skin (hello, Tomb Of The Cybermen!).

So let's deal with the Cybermen first. For such an iconic Doctor Who monster, they've always struck us as one of the least scary in recent times, if nonetheless good fun to watch (nobody hid behind the sofa at the end of The Next Doctor, after all). In fact, the most creepy we can recall them being, without digging right back into the deep throes of Who, was in the form of a single cyber arm back in The Pandorica Opens.

Gaiman doesn't really increase the fright factor per se - although there are some nice creepy moments with a single Cyberman, which means we're inevitably reaching for a slight Dalek comparison - but he does make the Cybermen a more effective threat. They're faster, a bit more brutal, and not averse to a good software patch. At one stage, impressive director Stephen Woolfenden puts together an excellent sequence demonstrating this, really effectively weaving in speed and slow motion.

As well as a visual spruce up, Gaiman's script is keen to upgrade the Cybermen in other ways. You can't help but feel the influence of the Borg from Star Trek in here, too (although some have long argued that the Borg were derived to some degree from Cybermen anyway). A Cyberman who adapts and upgrades to specific threats might feel familiar, but it certainly works in terms of making them feel less beatable. And, more to the point, like a desperate act is needed to ultimately defeat them.

The cybermites help here too, which, nostalgia aside, seem a lot more useful than the cybermats of old. The highlight, though, might just be a Cyberman taking off his head to gain a tactical advantage. A brilliant touch, albeit one not likely to be to the liking of Who traditionalists. The head swivel might just come in useful on the dance floor, mind.

But Nightmare In Silver has a lot more in the tank than just Cybermen, and for all the light touches, it's bookended by darkness. It picks up from last week's cliffhanger, with Clara's two young charges jumping aboard the TARDIS for a grand day out. If you were fearing young companions here, then said worries were soon smoothed over. Artie and Angie proved to be a component of the story (not least harking back to the Daleks' realisation that children have untapped ingenuity, as seen in Remembrance Of The Daleks), rather than the driving force of it.

They certainly didn't feel in the foreground once they'd had their 'upgrades', and given the Doctor and Clara something to fight for (save for rumbling Porridge). And youngsters Eve de Leon Allen and Kassius Carey Johnson emerge with credit.

The bit that didn't work quite as well for us though was the extended chess game between Matt Smith and Borg Matt Smith. We're paid up fans, warts and all, of Superman III (yep, really), and the idea of a character basically wrestling with himself and his thoughts is an effective one. But here, it's an awful, awful lot to ask of any actor in such a short space of time, even of the calibre of Matt Smith, and it didn't quite work for us.

Look at the Bond reboot, Casino Royale. The centrepiece of that movie is a surprisingly patient, and relatively quiet, game of cards, in the midst of a major action movie that otherwise has no shortage of pace. There's space to establish tension, unknowns and a sense of danger. Because Gaiman is cramming so much into Nightmare In Silver, the consequence is that the game of chess feels rushed, and Matt Smith is having to zoom through a trip into his mind (with welcome pictures of his predecessors), whilst conveying two different characters, in effect. It feels like it needed more space, and to an extent to fully work, that means it's sheer ambition that just slightly tempers the episode. It's no bad thing to be criticised for, but we guess it's still a criticism.

What really did work was the casting of Warwick Davis. His performance for the most part here is wonderfully understated, and it means that even if you guessed the twist for his character coming some way out, it didn't really matter. His was a haunting, satisfying and utterly believable character, who you couldn't help but buy into. He paints pictures of darkness right near the start of the episode, migrating from a chess computer to a man weighed down by the necessities of battle. Not every character in this one gets fully fleshed out as much as we'd like, but Porridge is excellent, and we hope his contract allows for a return in the future.

What's perhaps most surprising of all about Nightmare In Silver though is just how brutal the ending is. It might not feel that way when you first watch it, but on later consideration, it's a massively drastic measure that's needed to beat the Cybermen. The days of Ace with her catapult are long gone.

Early in the episode, there's horror at the thought of basically destroying a galaxy to wipe out the Cybermen (cue Porridge's haunting and prescient speech about it's not all those that died he feels for, but the person who had to press the button). Furthermore, when the idea of imploding the planet is first mooted by Tamzin Outhwaite's Captain, it's clearly marked as a no-go.

But these Cybermen are no ordinary foes anymore, and feel far removed from the ones so easily battered by the Daleks in Doomsday. We're not quite at the Genesis Of The Daleks level here, where Tom Baker's Doctor basically has the chance to make sure his even-more infamous foes had never existed. But it's not too far away: an entire planet is sacrificed. The needs of the many proving clearly more important than the few.

That's dark storytelling, and Gaiman deserves enormous credit for the way he tackles it, and the fact that he doesn't swerve a difficult decision. At teatime-ish on a Saturday, too. As a consequence,  the most steel on demonstration in Nightmare In Silver wasn't Cyber technology. It was the Doctor, and Warwick Davis' Emperor.

A real carnival of an episode this, then. By the nature of who wrote it, some comparisons with The Doctor's Wife are inevitable, but Nightmare In Silver is a very different beast. It's not as strong perhaps, but then The Doctor's Wife already feels like a bit of a modern classic. And Nightmare In Silver does leaves plenty in the mind to think about.

Surprisingly, given that it's the series finale next week, Nightmare In Silver didn't really feel like it was leading up to something bigger, with the mystery of Clara, of example, firmly taking a backseat. Instead, it felt like an episode with very few ongoing series threads to it at all, in truth. Granted, the Doctor's obsession with Clara is reinforced, but little is added to it. It's going to be a busy 45 minutes next week.

That said, this is still a very good episode, and it's worth having a second watch to pick up some of the lovely nods to Who past that have been fused in. That should help pass the time too as we head to The Name Of The Doctor, which promises - on the surface at least - to answer a question not many people appear to be asking. We suspect Mr Moffat might just have something up his sleeve there, though.

If he can tap up Mr Gaiman for another episode too, that'd be appreciated...

See also: where does Nightmare In Silver fit amongst Neil Gaiman's work?

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How could Neil Gaiman have thought that having a bratty kid on board the Tardis who has such lines as "I'm bored" (after travelling to a new planet....really???) was a good idea....well done cybermen for putting them in a coma to keep them quiet!!...for me the only redeeming bits were Matt fighting himself for control and the look of the new cybermen.... what a waste of an episode and in the 50th anniversary year no less :(

Strangely, I thought that the inner battle between the Doctor and the Cyber leader was the best part of this episode. I think Matt pulled it off nicely, despite going overboard a little.
The structure of the episode is the weakness of it. It's too choppy and segmented. It could have used a second part.

I enjoyed that, don't get me wrong but it was a prime example of the format problem with nu-who, 43 minutes just wasn't enough time to develop all the ideas in the episode, really would have liked a 2 parter. The rush to get through everything in the episode left most of the side characters as pretty 2 dimensional and also lead to a few plot short cuts that seemed jarring and obviously placed to move things along (sudden super fast cyberman to get the children away being the main example. why didn't they do that later?).

There was still a lot to enjoy & the kids weren't annoying like I thought they'd be which deserves some sort of award in and of it's self.

Enjoyed it, new Cyberman upgrades / voices were a welcome change.
Feel bad complaining about child actors, but these two were so piss poor that it deserves a mention.
Warwick Davis was brill.
Did anyone catch that they kept referring to the Cyber army as "Cyberius" or something? Or was that the name of the planet? Kept missing it...but it's not a term that's been used before is it?

That girl ruined the episode. Really annoying bratty character and really badly acted.

'One day I'll be queen of the universe' - shudder

Neil, I want you to write another episode for my next series of Who.. But I want you to include THESE details. You have free reign, except on this.. This.. This.. This.. This and this...... And this. And this.
Oh, and kids too. I want you to include two bratty kids. I bloody love kids.

Other than the really very annoying kids (especially the girl), I loved it. For some reason both this episode and last week's Crimson Horror really clicked with me and, minor niggles aside, felt like proper Doctor Who again. I do hope they are able to carry that feeling into next week, but something tells me they very well might.

Really wish they hadn't used the kids the whole story with them seems so pointless Clara didn't even freak out that much when they were taken by the Cybermen, she has to be the worse nanny ever.
Cybermen were effective baddies again though, I quite enjoyed the Doctor fighting himself in his mind stuff too.
Did I imagine it or was there a little musical cue harking back the the Cyberman theme from 'Tomb of the Cybermen' when they were gathering their forces too?

The Borg ripped off the Cybermen, now the Cybermen rip off the Borg, however this episode was still great. It was littered with homages to current and classic Who. I liked it, a lot. A few plot holes, here and there, but the Cybermen were great. Porridge was fantastic.

I doubt that was down to Neil, he was probably instructed to write in child-centric characters, so that the younger viewers could relate to the story, more.

I enjoyed it, I agree with the comment that maybe itcould have used a second part, but still thought it was a good watch nevertheless.

I liked this, but I think the funfair was a bit of a distraction. There were so many ideas in there that omitting one or two of them could have made the whole story stronger. The highlight for me was the new design of the Cybermen and their new abilities... and of course, Warwick Davies who is always watchable. I love Neil Gaiman, Moffatt and the rest of the cast, but it was just a bit "meh". Can't wait for next week though.

I don't Gaiman had a choice

I really thought the Mondasian's were coming back. I was so hopeful.
I don't know, maybe I didn't research the episode enough beforehand. I just assumed the Mondasian Cybermen were back, and the silly Pete's world Cybus guys were going to clang noisily into the night.
What do I get instead? Motion blur speed. It's like bloody twilight.

One of the strongest episodes of the run by far. Refreshing to see the Cybermen feeling like an actual threat and JLC continues to look better and better.

I disagree entirely that Smith struggled with the battle for his mind. I thought that showcased just how good he is and was a real strength of the episode.

The Cybermen Return....

Well, here we are at the end of an outstanding episode of Who, and I am continuing to be impressed by Series 7B. I had my hopes up for this one, penned by Neil Gaiman, coming after a string of the strongest episodes of the Moffat tenure, so far, and I was not let down. It's hard to know where to begin on this episode, as it was laden with intricate goodies for old and new Whovians, alike. So many little nods and homages to Who, down the years. I probably didn't even pick up on half of them during my first watch, and this is one episode in the must watch again, pile. There were some great acting performances particularly Warwick Davis playing the brilliant, Porridge. Even the child actors used, were more than watchable. Yes, there were some plot holes, and it at times felt rushed, we need longer episodes, but it was still a most excellent addition to the Cyberman canon. Including a "Cyber-birth" scene that was straight from Tomb Of The Cybermen. Neil really did his homework on this one. So many nods to Doctors, past. No Who fanboy could possibly scorn at this episode. Matt Smith shone as the Doctor, two Doctor's, in fact, and pulled it off with aplomb. I am no longer a Matt doubter He really is raising the stakes and bringing his A-game to the roll. The mystery of Clara deepens, with next weeks being the finale, we are all expecting big things.

Sorry this review isn't longer, saving it all up for next week, and, the Cybermen reboot is old news now, the new one's were great, but nothing we haven't seen before. A few upgrades here and there, but not really anything to write home about. I liked the CyberMites. Quite creepy, indeed. The new look of the Cybers is sleek, and serves it's purpose. They will assuredly return. As we saw in the epilogue, they survived.

Well, I didn't hate it but I'm not sure Gaiman made the Cybermen scary again? They were more, well... peripheral. Major missed opportunity.

Agreed, he just made them Matrix-y.

I found it rather dull . Im a huge fan of Gaiman , and the Whoo iverse
;-) . But an ever upgrading baddy i always find dull as ditch water .
Everyting as teh Doctor says is defeatable . And basing the entire
threat on we keep upgrading is rather poor :( . If were going down that
road any chance of a Raston warrior upgraded with Time Lord tech , then
we'll see how far the Cypermen get ;-)

By far the most enjoyable story of this season! Strong story, strong ideas and strong characterisation. Interesting how jarring it was to watch the Moffat penned prequel straight after, his writing for Who the last few years has been and is a total mess.

Oh and who noticed the music when the cybermen awoke was very similar to the score of Tomb Of The Cybermen, I loved that!!!

As others have said, too many ideas, too little time. Also, no child actors, just no- i don't know if it was the writing or acting or both, but nothing either of them said in the entire episode sounded in anyway genuine. Chess match was the best bit of the episode, though Matt, your impressions need a bit of work. Cybermen were okay, not as scary as I was expecting Gaiman to make them. Also, the bit in the castle before the Doctor turned up was a bit disjointed compared to the rest of the episode. Still, get rid of a few of the weaker ideas, give more room to the better ones, you'd have a classic on your hands.

Having said that, one criticism that I wasn't expecting to have was that the dialogue felt a bit off in places. Mostly with the kids, but also with Porridge towards the end- talking about how being an Emperor sucks felt a tad on then nose for me, though his speech about 'the man who blew up the galaxy' near the beginning was spot on. Shame, because Warwick Davies is a very good actor and the character had a lot of promise.

The scene was a direct rip of it.

Cyborgs as a science fiction concept were around for decades before either the Cybermen or the Borg. The Borg, at least, didn't try for a look identical to the Cybermen; tonight, however, the face circuitry and notion of infection was too reminiscent of the Borg for me (who always came across to me as more terrifying).
The internal battle within the Doctor was simply an excuse for Matt Smith to ramp up his usual over the top attempt to be quirky, but now doubled. And so much for the Cybermen being unemotional; if the Cyberplanner had succeeded, would this mean the universe would be under threat by Cyberquirkiness?
And did anyone else think that the costume that Warwick Davis (the best part of the episode) wore, goggles and all, seemed like a tribute to Time Bandits, the one movie everyone probably thought he was in but wasn't?

Good episode that worked well as a standalone adventure and a link to next weeks finale. Trademark Gaiman Horror and humour with enough hidden in jokes to warrant several repeat viewings. If you doubt the writers ability to heap layer upon layer of meaning check out "American Gods" or "1602"
Maybe the "chess battle" scenes pale compared to the Smaegol / Gollum scenes that basically cover the same ground but I think they held up well showing the Jeckyll and Hyde nature of the Time Lords.
Good use of guest stars too. Not as unforgettable of "The Doctors Wife" but still damn fine Saturday night telly.
Next stop Tranzelore...

I suspect she's difficulty and Bratty for a reason...

This series run is suffering from no two-parters, especially last two eps. There's no real excitement for next week like there normally is with a cliffhanger.

Yep... perhaps Moffat should have asked Clive Barker instead.

Now THAT would be an interesting Saturday night tea time show

I agree, but this series has been far superior to Moffs usual hogwash. It feels like Dr Who, again.

Wow, that sucked. Maybe even worse than "Rings...". Some terrible acting going on, maybe it was the script, but the kids were poor, Ms Outhwaite was quite poor, and Matt Smith was cringeworthy in the chess match (though otherwise decent). I did not realise the Cybus Cybermen were affected by gold. The Doctor refers to their older versions, but surely these guys don't share that weakness with the Classic chaps? I can't remember it coming up in new Who anyway, but I could be wrong. The new walk was a bit dodgy too, some interesting shoulder work going on there. Another massive army born just to be smashed to bits in the blink of an eye. Thank the secular non-deity for Warwick Davies, who manages to give a performance that is neither hammy nor wooden, but just right. The show was doing ok for the last 3 episodes but this was a big low.

Perhaps through wibbly wobbly timey whimey stuff she becomes Queen Elizabeth 10th, as seen in the Beast Below.

It's still better than Blink and all the other over-hyped Moffat episodes. Far better.

Clive Barker to write, David Lynch to direct.

I'm no champion of Moffat (although I did think Blink was very decent), I just like what I like. I really didn't like this.

Mixed bag. I love the new Cybermen, but they are overpowered, and the episode did not do them any justice.
I also am getting annoyed at how quickly episodes move in this series. So many details just skated straight over.
Clara isn't doing it for me either. I really want to like her, but she's so unreal as a character I really struggle to enjoy her companionship. To be fair though, Amy is a very very tough act to follow.

Matt Smith however is brilliant, Just a shame he is not getting the episodes I feel he deserves in this series. Apart from the Ice-Warrior episode and the Ghost/Alt dimension episode, I am rather disappointed. I feel I may be subject to some criticism for this, but maybe Moffat has lost the plot a touch? As far as I'm concerned, this series couldn't be over quicker. A finale next week which frankly, has absolutely no menace or sense of foreboding. Remember the cracks in the first Smith series? Bad wolf? Torchwood? Saxon? All must clearer and darker story arcs, with far better execution This feels like an anticlimax waiting to happen. i really hope I'm wrong though.

Oh, and no more children please.

Moffat never had the plot to start with, dude.

That's a shame. I think 7B as been the best series so far since Moff and Smith took over. It's not perfect, but, I'll take it over the jumbled nonsense of S5 and the romcom of S6

Oh, that's that then.
Much better cyberman voice. Don't mind the upgraded special abilities either (wish I could send my hand off to do a bit of shopping, unblock the drains, etc). Liked the egg-headed redesign - throwback to my favourites, the early Trout ones. Cybermites, fine too. At least they didn't just upload a Hallmark card and blow their heads off with schmaltz this time. I don't really see how Gaiman has succeeded in making them scary again though.
A possessed Doctor is always good value, but Matt wrestling with himself reminded me of those old split-profile man/woman cabaret turns. Although the chess game scenario had some good ideas in it - play the opponent, not the board! Proper chess, that is. I do think the script just asked too much of Matt - not least re the impressions.
Please keep the kids this side of the screen in future.

Not bad at all. Not the greatest episode ever, but better than the other stories of 7b by a country mile. Well done Neil Gaiman.

Sadly I have to agree about the romcom.

Blimey, I could disagree more! There hasn't been a single episode of this series that I haven't considered a jumbled, often boring, undercooked mess! I disliked most of s6 as well, but found single episodes enjoyable amongst the rubbish.

I had high hopes for Neil Gaiman's outing, having enjoyed 'The Doctor's Wife', but found this episode as drearily badly told as the rest sadly :(

If activating the bomb also transports everyone to the Emperor's ship why didn't they do it at the first sign of trouble. Indicative of a sloppily written episode. The 2nd half of this series has been full of episodes that could do with a rewrite. Many of them feel like first drafts.

These weren't the Cybus Cybermen though.

I don't think you can call it a direct rip of it if it's the same show in a scene with the same creatures. It's like saying, god what a rip off, the TARDIS like totally travelled through time in that episode.

There was so much going on in this episode that I feel it could have benefited with being a two parter. I loved the reference to The Turk - an 18th century chess playing automaton. The thing that I love about Matt Smith's Doctor is he really comes alive when he goes darker. I always remember when Indiana Jones turns evil in Temple of Doom and how terrifying it was. I feel there was a little of that going on, even if it was over-the-top at times. I feel overall it was a solid episode but not one of the best.

A thought occurs, whofolks.

The overhanging question seems to be: why aren't the cybermen scary anymore?

Is it possible that they are still presented pretty much just as they ever have been, but we have become so inured to the ultimate body horror that used to be their trump card?

In Tenth Planet they were not so much evil as amoral, and rather tragic for having taken technological enhancement too far and losing their humanity. In fact, I seem to recall that Kang could be reasoned with, if only logically. Thereafter, apart from the odd obligatory bit of chill from "you will become like us" or "they used to be like us", they were to all intents and purposes, standard stomping sci-fi robots.
Body horror continued to run through it all though, from partial conversions to cybermats injecting poison, and the odd bout of mind control.
Maybe we just don't find their basic premise quite so horrible anymore, no matter who writes it?

I hate it when Moffat promotes the episodes in this way, it's really disrespectful to the previous writers. The only exception is when he tried to sell Asylum of the Daleks as making them scary again presumably referring to his lame colourful chunky plastic daleks that were sh*t and the dalek wearing a apron holding a cup of tea (God just writing that I had to ask myself - that really happened right? *cringe*).

"And youngsters Eve de Leon Allen and Kassius Carey Johnson emerge with credit."

Really? I thought they were both terrible terrible actors. A lot of the acting in this didn't feel real, with the notable exception of Warwick Davies. Matt Smith's Evil alter ego was rubbish; wouldn't a Cyber doctor be less rather than more wacky, hyerpactive etc. seeing as a lack of emotion largely defines the cybermen?

Given my lowered expectations for this episode based mainly on not being the greatest fan of cybermen and those dreadful children, I thought it was a passable effort.

As ever with this half-season of DW, the direction seemed to be a little erratic and they spent too much time for my liking on the internal conversations and the Doctor throwing himself around too much.

But with the children coma'd for most of the 45 minutes and Clara acting the little general there was just enough Gaiman style to let me enjoy what was going on. From the reference to the Mechanical Turk to the victoriana-clothed half cyberman, to the defence in a theme park castle, there was some nice touches.

Davis played a blinder from when he was first revealed to the very end where he was offering his job around to anyone who'd have it. By far the best thing going on.

Matt Smith continues to seemingly work on autopilot and still seems to find it hard to get real emotion happening in his performance at times. He's figured out how he's playing the Doctor and that it now. Maybe we were spoiled by Tennant's range in the past.

The plot this week was alright, didn't quite catch that people had been disappearing from the park when it was first mentioned, but I was eating some chocolate cake at the end, so that's understandable.

It was nice that stuff got blown up and baddies were defeated by explosions not emotions. Plus there were no crying cybermen. That's always a plus, even if their new detachable parts & Speedy Gonzales abilities were at times farcical.

It sets a odd precedent for this race, if they can upgrade so quickly and can only be defeated by planetary explosions, then fighting them will always result in gimmicky out-of-the-box endings which is rarely a positive aspect in any sci-fi.

Still, here's hoping that we get a series finale that justifies some of the clumsy steps taken to get here.

Today my money's on Clara being the next incarnation of Melody Pond, her memory wiped due to the save in the library, which doesn't explain how she's scattered through time.

Unless we're back to the default BS of timey-whimey as explanation.

Only the emperor activating the bomb would have resulted in the emperor ship arriving.

An he didn't feel like adding to his collection of planets he destroyed before he had no choice.

Well, another "spoiler-filled" review which I am able to read hours before I will see the show and ... have nothing spoiled!

I read these reviews to get a sense of how to adjust my expectations.

Which remain the same.

I'm looking forward to an entertaining outing, perhaps more thought-provoking than the norm in this series, with more of a Star Trek feel to it.

And I'm expecting the no-momentum character of Series 8 -- excuse me, "7b," though Amy and Rory's departure was of course a perfect series finale -- to continue even up to the series finale itself.

What little throughline there has been -- who/what is Clara? -- is apparently essentially dropped here. Just as well, I suppose, since it's pretty meh to begin with.

I do like Clara quite a lot, though. She's spiffy and spunky and almost a character.

I've never found them scary. I haven't even found them interesting since the Canary Wharf/alt dimension episodes. Then the steampunk cyberman. Oh blimey!

Here they were too ridiculously overpowered to even feel threatening. If that makes any sense.

Or perhaps it's since the fall of communism that they've been less scary.

Yes, he did mention about feeling sorry for the guy who'd pushed the button before.

An he was that guy.

I don't think it's Clara so much as we've not been allowed to get to know her on purpose.

At least I hope so, either that or the writing is much worse than I've been thinking it is.

I always found the borg better than the cybermen.

I found the Cyberplanner character *incredibly* camp for an emotionless logical being.

He seemed to be channeling Fenella Fellorick for part of it. It was very strange.

DW often seems to dredge up kids & extras with little-to-no acting chops. It's an amazing ability.

It's sweet how some like to imagine that the Borg are a rip-off of the Cybermen.

Did you know that H.G. Wells created Doctor Who?

PS: Someone needs a better anono handle than "Guest."

If you have a 2 or 3 part story you have time for the Doctor to be defeated a bit before finding the solution. Which would be slightly more interesting.

The Doctor's turning into Superman it seems. He can do anything with that bloody screwdriver, even teleport himself.

I think your expectations are so low that these look better than they are.

That's what I'm going through.

That went without saying.

Until you said it.


The Doctor's inner battle was the only part I enjoyed of this. Another dissapointing episode. Terrible pacing, bad character development and kids I'd be quite happy to have seen perish. What's gone wrong with Who? I love Matt Smith, I think Moffat is a genius, Clara has loads of potential - it should be the best Who ever for the 50th Anniversary year. It's all gone terribly flat and uninspiring for me. Hide is the only one I've enjoyed of that last 7 episodes.

Whatever you do...don't blow up the planet...oh go on then! ;-) Give Cybermen the ability to go super speed at the beginning...then have then walk at clunky speed for the rest. Just two of the many facepalms I did while watching this.

I was thinking, the fact that these monsters have to be a CyberMAN is an immense limitation it puts on itself. They are presented in this episode as a plague that keeps on evolving, but yet it keeps shaping itself as a metal man, when it would be more effective as a swarm of Cybermites converting anything, including humanoids, into their system. It's like the Borg, only it seems to me that the individual is converted into the system: the Cyberplanner in the Doctor's head took on his personality, used it to its advantage; except then the Cyberplanner or Mr Clever removed itself from all the Cybermen in order to gain more processing power to beat the Doctor's chess move, which clearly indicates that there is just one consciousness controlling everything, but also inhabits everything, like the Great Intelligence...

Maybe it retains the original concept of the 'man' because it still wants to be a physical entity, rather like the Great Intelligence trying to create an ice body to inhabit.

With all those similarities, I'm disappointed no links were made. I'm rather hoping for a sequel now about a Cyberman that wants to return to humanity and keeps upgrading itself to feel again. And this feeling to me demonstrates how much potential this episode had and then wasted, however, in return though we get an amazing chess Cyberman, empty but functional, which is very creepy, and to me the best part of the episode. That made the Cybermen original and scary, not the new design, and super speed powers.

The episode could've used and shown more of its setting, although I think that would've strained the budget a lot... and could've used more Cyberplanner/Clara, a he gained access to the Doctor's memories.

There's a lot of Gaiman magic in this, mostly in small ways, but other than that it's still not on par with earlier seasons. In fact, I find this entire season somewhat disappointing. The next time trailer for next week even looks low quality. The story better be good.

Given how OTT Moffat has had Smith play it from Day One, it would have had more of an impact to display a deadpan, cold-hearted possessed Doctor. But no, actual menace of threat has no place here anymore.

Come out from behind the sofa kids... I need to explain a few things....

I agree completely. Felt from the start that there was something off when the kids are suddenly on the Tardis...what? We only saw them cornering Clara in the (horrificly bad) ending of Horror...and now they're just there?

I felt that there had to be a pretty awesome episode in the making on the editing floor. The girl was annoying the boy bland, the cybermen were not "nightmare-ish" at all, and Clara was again one note samba all the way.

It seems like they're building up to something great ( I hope) in the finale and/or 50th and just let the rest of the season be meh. I've only enjoyed Hide (which was flawed by the lovey-dovey monster ending) and Horror which was great only because of Diana Rigg and Rachel Sterling's amazing perfomances. Other than that it has been complete lacklustre for me this half season.

The chess game and Matt talking to himself (and inside his head) was my favorite part!

Good comparison to Indy...quite right.

Actually, I'm not sure the reviewer grasped it.

Last series’ The Doctor’s Wife was Doctor Who at its best. A
terrific idea that expanded on a piece of the shows mythology that had rarely
been touched uponb, the mythology in question of course being the TARDIS.
Tasked with putting a new spin on ANOTHER staple of the show, in this case the
Cybermen, Neil Gaimen has really fallen short. All of the problems of the Russell
T Davies Cybermen are retained (the stomping, the fact that the Cybermen are
never the star of their own episode). The only things that were added were plot
convenient superpowers that, at times, verged on being comic (exorcist Cyberman
anyone?) Previous Cybermen stories of
the new Doctor Who run have had them relegated to supporting players, The
Cybermats from Closing Time, the Prostitute woman from The Next Doctor to name
but two. This trend remains in Nightmare in Silver as the new Cybermen are
upstaged by the Cyberplanner version of the Doctor. The carved out model of the
Cybus Cyberman had more opportunity to be menacing then the new models did, who
barley got any screen time. The most effective moments were the bullet time battle
scene, as you saw the Cyberman move with purpose and really got to see how effective
these new models are and how natural and fluid their movements are and how much
it suits them as opposed to the stomping (which at this point guys, is not only
getting tiresome but, with these new models is, again, almost comical) and the
bit were the Cyberman shoots Tamzin
Outhwaite from the other side of the moat. Aiside from my disappointment of the
new Cybermen, the rest of the episode was terrible. Awful, underwritten
characters and a waste of the talent on screen (Warwick Davies and Jason
Watkins both criminally wasted). Annoying
kids who couldn’t act and were given some of the worst lines in the season (the
older kid telliing the Cyberman “I hate you”) and just genuine lack of coherent
pacing or real tension made this feel like filler. There is very little in this
episode for me to place it much higher in my estimations then Closing Time, and
that was described by that episodes writer as Abbot and Constello meet the
Cybermen. If Neil Gaimen, a world renowned writer, can’t make a Cybermen story
more memorable then Abbot and Constello meet the Cybermen then they are in dire
need of a much, much more drastic overhaul.

I really hoped we'd dropped the gold thing. The reason originally given, and which made sense, was gold dust plated the breathing apparatus and so imobolised a Cyberman. These days just pour them a cup of Gold Blend and they'd probably explode.

"Artie and _ANGIE_ proved to be a component of the story"

What! Whaaat?

Were we watching a different episode? Surely not.

For the first time in Whovian history, a characters personality was dramatically improved by becoming a cyberman.

Oh. and the Porridge twist made no sense at all. Think it through people......

Quite liked the episode though.

...and, while I'm on a roll, what happened to Hedgewick? Did he die? Was he rescued?

I was thinking the same thing..


Better than I thought it would be. Much better. A very McCoy-era style story with a plot that was carried well in one episode.

Lots of positives:
1) using the kids sparingly and putting them on freeze for most of the episode (there are so many good kid actors who must have auditioned better than those two).
2) Cybies a little more menacing than have been since 2005.
3) Sinister in the right places, with fatal chess games and freaky emporia.
4) "Who is Clara?" took an appropriate back seat.
5) Chess game a good idea.
6) Liked the history of the end of the Cybermen - nicely delivered.

Criticisms are connected to the positives, paradoxically enough:
1) what awful actors those kids were or rather, how little guidance they were given by the director. Seriously, directors, do your job and just tell them how to say each line. Don't make them think about it, make them listen and copy (I'm a drama teacher, you just have to.)
2) Modern Cybies are too robotic. We (and first time viewers) need to know that they are converted humans. Yes, more was made of the conversion process, but we need reminding each time that there are humans within. Really wish the cloth faces of the Tenth Planet would return - perhaps they were going to but that would lesson the impact of next week's Whisper Men, who knows?
3) I got that the "Cyber Planner" personality was made of the negative sides of the Doctor, but that personality was more erratic and temperamental, leaving the Doctor more understated and measured. In order to convey the emotionlessness of Cybermen, should it not have been the other way around?
4) More of the episode should have been devoted to the chess game and the internal mind battle. One parters are great when they operate on a smaller scale (e.g Dalek, Midnight, Girl Who Waited, Hide) and can appear frustratingly rushed when they try to play on the scale of a two-parter, e.g. Angels Take Manhattan, Crimson Horror, Power of 3, Wedding of River Song (all four great stories, but with no breathing room).

As always, if you're reading this DW Production Team (or any young things who hope they'll grow up to be show-runner), we implore you: create every story as if you are trying to reel new viewers in to DW every week. Don't write for us fan boys'n'girls; we're gonna watch it anyway.

It's funny - the direction of the show is healthier, but the individual stories are lacking an indefinable something.

Total shit.....again.

It was OK, but honestly my son and I agreed it felt more like a Sarah Jane Adventures episode. Which btw we both loved. Still I have to say something is missing so far with this 2nd half of the season. It is falling quite flat for me. I feel like a spectator vs. feeling sucked into the episodes. It is weird to watch it and feel like I am "watching" it and not feeling it. I have loved this show since the reboot and I am kinda bummed out about how it is going right now.

I agree. Good commentary. It is too wacky and comical, yet not funny.
We need more menace and danger. And Clara is not cutting it for me either and I really want to like her but it just is not clicking to me.

So true. How do they find kids this bad?

Bring back the OM. lol

She was very annoying though!

I love Doctor Who. It's a fantastically unpredictable show. It takes you to different places and falls under different genres every weeks. It's always different, always fresh, always keeps you on your toes.

This week, Doctor Who has done something, for me, that was truly unexpected. It has disappointed me. Truly, truly disappointed me.

I had such high hopes for this episode, perhaps that didn't help. It's written by Neil Gaiman (I love everything he writes and The Doctor's Wife was a masterpiece), it features Warwick Davis (it's Warwick Davis!!) and reintroduces the Cybermen. This should have been the 'fan favourite' Matt Smith promised. Maybe it was for some. It really wasn't for me, despite all its promise.

The pace was awful. I've complained that the first few episodes this year have dragged. This does the exact opposite. Too much happens too fast, much of it unnecessary. Because we're launched through this episode at such an oppressively breakneck speed, it kills pretty much anything it had going for it. Not a single character is made relatable. Most of the soldiers we're meant to care for go unnamed (there's "chubby", "glasses", "girl" and "boss", right?), Warwick Davis sublimely and subtly plays a part that has nothing to it (the fault of the script, not the actor!), the children are irritating and their acting is truly poor. There's no real sense of threat, no real gravity to the Cybermen. Sure, they look a lot better, but there's no time spent telling us WHY we should be scared. There's nothing to them. Once again, the central mystery feels flat. I really don't care about it. And Clara still just seems to be there to ask the Doctor a question every now and again so Matt Smith can reel off for twenty minutes or to do exactly what he tells her to do. And the ending was really, really duff.

I've had mixed feelings about this series, but I really love Doctor Who with all my heart. So I stick by it. Sure, it's inconsistent, but it'll get there. Shows like this lend themselves to inconsistency. That's how the true gems shine through. But, to me, this one was real dirge. It's got all of Moffat's "quirks" all over it, I couldn't really tell Gaiman had anything to do with it. Characters all talking in the same voice using unnecessary hyperbole about everything, characters that have surface qualities and plot functions but no soul whatsoever, children bordering on annoying, and a rushed, RUSHED ending.

I truly am sorry to vent like this, especially if you enjoyed this episode. I envy anyone who did. And I don't want to be a Moffat-hater. I don't want to argue with anyone over whether he or RTD did a better job (lively debate, go for it, but I don't want aggression because of how I feel). But I feel like all his little ticks that made him charming and a breath of fresh air after RTD got a little lost have become overblown, Tardis-sized faults that rob the show over everything it is. I'm no longer looking forward to next week. I've got the feeling Moffat really feels he has the right to tell us the Doctor's name. And if he doesn't I'm sensing another flat, River Song-style "twist".

The only reason I'm so passionately upset about this episode, though, is because I really love this show. I want it to thrive and I want to soak up every single moment of it with joy. But I couldn't this week. It's really, really let me down. Let's see what he can manage next week.

Pretty average episode in my humble opinion. Of course Matt Smith was excellent and his whole battle with the Cyber-Planner was the redeeming quality of the episode. The rest of the episode felt pretty choppy and I felt the kids were totally underused. It's a shame because I think he's had his fair share of performances but the scripts have let him down. Apart from the Crimson Horror nothing's really stood out for me in this run of episodes.

Oh and Warwick Davis too, I thought he was great.

She's a teenager. Some of them are like that.

They looked a lot like newer versions of them though, especially the heads, and they still had the arm weapons. Were these supposed to be the "descendants" of the classic cybermen then? I honestly didn't take in what the beef was for these new chaps.

Hated those kids. Although to be fair it was really the girl I hated not the boy so much. He just had a slightly annoying way of saying "Actually". She had a very annoying way of saying and doing absolutely everything. From going up to armed strangers declaring "I'm bored" to thinking that calling a metal monster that has just kidnapped her stupid will help, to complaining about being taken away in a time machine by a fricking alien because it is, again, boring. They really should have left her on the planet and done everyone else a favour.

They were a component of the story because it was their presence on the planet that set things in motion. The cybermen were looking for creative minds to develop (upgrade, as it were). "The children stopped coming" to the planet long ago, but the Doctor brought two with him. They lost interest in the children once they discovered a more fertile mind: the Doctor's.

Some teenagers are indeed like that. Yes, she was self-absorbed, but that's what the script called for. If people are annoyed at her, doesn't that mean she did a good job after all?

Warwick Davis was brilliant!

There's a lot of ideas on the table here. A two-parter for better pacing and for setting the mood would have been welcome. That said, there is a lot to think about, and a second viewing is definitely in order!

I thought the kids did fine. And yes, some children are bratty and impudent, and contemptuously silent or insufferable know-it-alls when it suits them. That's what the script called for. If people are annoyed with the self-absorbed teenager, doesn't that mean she did her job just fine?

i hope you mean "season finale" and not "series finale" ...

Finale next week? I don't know what I'm waiting for. Or why I'm waiting for it. Help!

There has been little build up - I don't care about the Clara thing - we've kept this edition of her for a few stories now and she isn't causing the universe any problems.

Again guys, I really want to love Who - but this series, all broken up and bad stories with only two exceptions, just hasn't had the same appeal as the last lot. I used to scour the net for days looking for clues and hidden meanings - no such fun this time round.

"oh, and no more children please."
Im not opposed to children, I just hated THESE kids.

Adric... as well as The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith and Death of the Doctor (both from SJA) and even The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe showed that kids in episodes can be great (although Adric got on my nerves... that again was the way he was written).

Agreed. The Doctor has barred better people than her from the TARDIS for being less annoying than she was.

I'm with you on this one. Nightmare in Silver screamed for 2 parts. They just hung too much out there unexplained or unconvincingly because of a rush for time.
Referring again to the obnoxious kids, perhaps with 2 parts, there would have been time to see a growth of character or understanding to have made them a little more likeable (or at least believable).
Really... I know that some teenagers are a pain. I also understand children are able to accept strange things easier...
But these kids acted like traveling to another world was nothing and a total snooze... then did the opposite of anything they were told (Clara must suck at being a nanny to have raised these horrid children.)

That's how it used to be... I think the days of having the Master as flesh peeled deformity have long gone... It didn't f*** us up as kids, it just gave us an imagination. Oh, and can I just mention that the bionic super-speed Cyberman was a bit naff.

Mate, agree with you 100%! Feel this season (7b) is awful and i am slowly running out of patience with it. No excitement what so ever about the finale next week.

Get rid of Moffat and all the rest of the current crew. Doctor Who is in need of a complete overhaul!

So let me get this straight:
Porridge is the ruler of the universe who runs away to an amusement park wih no customers. Despite there not BEING customers, he and Hedgewick hatch a plan to scam people with the old "play the empty Cyberman at chess" trick. Which is strange because there are no patrons for the park anymore...
yet the cables to operate the Cyberman (and the Little Person sized hiding place seem to have been designed specifically for Porridge (as nobody else would fit in there). Yet... that takes us back to the fact that there are no customers there, so when exactly was this built?

I guess my point is that nothing seems to make sense in this episode. There is no concept for a character's actions or behavior. Even the reason Porridge ran away is a mystery (outside of "I dont want to rule the universe").

Awful, awful, Awful. Season 7B and this episode. Just awful.

I am no RTD supporter, think Moffat has had until this half season had a really really good run and helped develop the show really well however the show has in the last few weeks become dire.

New bank of staff writers please, potentially new doctor (although I do like Matt Smith),... oh bugger it, just some new, fresh ideas to help redevelop the show again.

A new showrunner would be a major point - and no, not one of the junior writers getting a promotion - get someone completely fresh in; think outside of the box!

"A Christmas Carol"... A child... MAJOR screen time... and AMAZING!
The show can handle children with the Doctor, I can list several amazing episodes that feature children, Its just a matter of how well they are written (for the episode and/or the series as a whole).

good point about Cyber- Doc's emotions.

It's a British show. We have series, not seasons.

I thought Series 7a was alot better constructed than Series 7b. I think poor Moffatt has too much on his plate and thats why the second part is suffering. He is a way better writer than this, as is evidenced by his earlier works, like Jekyll, and newer works like Sherlock. Anytime he writes an episode, it is superior but since he hasnt done that for most of this last part, there doesn't seem to be any guidance or working over the stories, like Davies did. Say what you want about Davies, but he was consistent.

In the UK (where this show is made) they say "series" as we say "season".

It was Cyberiad. Knowing Gaiman's work, the name is probably an homage to author Stanislaw Lem whose novel, also called The Cyberiad, was a collection of short stories about a society made entirely of robots.

The Cybermen were from the planet Mondas but this was destroyed so the planet Telos, where a colony was set up from Mondas, became their base planet. The more modern looking Cybermen were manufactured by Cybus Industries on an alternate universe version of Earth.

How about - "I don't want to rule the universe any more if it means having to press a button that kills trillions of people"?

Makes perfect sense he would hide on the amusement planet, derelict or not - and it was plain that the scam was set up before the park closed down - they just decided to try it on the Doc and friends because they were the first visitors for months.

Of course it was designed for Porridge - would help him hide to keep from being recognised.

Thing is Adric was in brilliant episodes that his presence couldn't ruin (Logopolis, Earthshock, etc) whereas these kids were in what was a pretty weak episode to begin with IMO

gah & the only way I can surmise this episode.
1) Once the Doctor has seen a decommissioned cyberman and the strange little insects, he wants to investigate. Fair enough. But he wouldn't force CHILDREN to stay around and put them in potential danger, what with potential cyberman shenanigans going on and all. Let alone make them stay in a darkened room on their own. Perhaps make them stay in the TARDIS nice and safe? Creating your plot tension based on an unrealistic and unbelievable decision by the Doctor is poor writing by Gaiman. Plot contrivance ahoy!
2) The child actors were lacking shall we say. This isn't Tracy Beaker.

3) The supporting characters were generic and/or underwritten.

4) From what little we've seen of Clara's character, has there been anything that suggests she has any ability in military tactics/strategy? Now she does. Poor writing again.
5) The new cybermen's fast whoosh feature - which was good - disappears half way through and they return to being stomp-o-matics.
6) Getting very bored of main plot tensions solved INSTANTLY without any effect e.g. Doctor beating the Cyberplanner at chess and his cyber implants immediately disappearing. Last week's Crimson Horror, when he emerges from the cupboard fully repaired. Getting out of the Pandorica in The Big Bang.
7) The Impossible Girl. For someone who writes Sherlock, a show all about mystery stories, I find it baffling how Moffat seems to have forgotten the very basics of writing one - which is to let the mystery grow. But it hasn't. If you watched The Bells of Saint John and next weeks finale, you wouldn't have missed a thing about the mystery of Clara. Unless it's been at such a meta-level that only dogs can hear it.

I actually thought that the battle between the Doctor and the Cyber/Borg-Doctor was the best thing in the episode. However, I realized as it was playing out that the Cyber-version of the Doctor was completely wrong. You're correct, Wooteeny. The Cyber-version of the Doctor was much more wacky than the Doctor and much more emotional. It should have been the opposite. It would have made the Doctor's battle with himself much more frightening and I would think, seemingly hopeless.

Cybermen look far too heavy to have super speed... bring back the Raston Warrior Robot for that!

Like most of 7b...some good touches (a great nod to 'Tomb' in this one) but overall disappointing. I spent the first 5 mins of the episode searching YouTube for the prequel I thought I'd missed (so the kids just turned up then!)

I wish Gaiman and Moffat had had the guts to let the kids actually be transformed into Cyberbrats. That would have been incredibly chilling and it would have led to a real battle between the Doctor and the CyberDoctor with the Doctor demanding the children be (somehow) transformed back.
Someone above wrote about the CyberDoctor being all wrong. He was. The CyberDoc should have been emotionless and calm and determined to succeed. Not wackier than the Doctor.
What was the point of giving the Cybermen the ability to move at super-speed - their movement not even visible to the human eye - then have them completely forget about using that super-speed? Also, the constant "upgrade" ability seemed to take away more than anything. The Borg were always adapting, now the Cybermen are able to always be upgrading. Still doesn't seem to do much for them.
Why did the army Captain (or whatever rank she was) so willingly (and gladly) accept Clara as her brand new commander? Why did anyone listen to a word Clara had to say, command-wise?
This review must read like I didn't like the episode. I actually thought it was good. Certainly nothing above and beyond or "classic". Just good. As wrong as the battle between Doc and CyberDoc was, I thought Matt Smith did a fantastic job of it.
I don't think any previous reviews here have mentioned the appearance we got of all the previous Doctors. Perhaps that's because it just wasn't really all that special this time. It just sort of seemed 'thrown in" without any real purpose. Odd that it had happened previously in another Cybermen episode, "The Next Doctor". It was a real treat in that one. Here it was actually forgettable.

I (for one) have loved this series. It could do with some double episodes and cliff-hangers but I've actually really enjoyed it so...

there is a point in all of these episodes where someone goes a bit too far, case in point: the revelation that the time traveller in hide was the psychic's descendent, it was totally unnecessary, then there's the question of why porridge didn't just call for an evac in the first place. There was the speech in rings of akhaten, there was that awful business with the cubes in the power of three, they need to know when to stop.

I think a lot of people are perhaps expecting too much from Gaiman here when he has guidelines to follow in regards to arc and character inclusion. It's already known that the original script was written for the first Clara in Victorian London, only to have Moffat drop it on him that she's now the third and contemporary Clara instead... oh and she has kids with her too... not the nicest rewrite to handle I'd imagine!

I personally enjoyed Matt's handling of the Clever One and his split personality scenes. Nice little Tenth Doctor nod in his dialogue too. All in all not an instant classic but still enjoyable nonetheless, given the narrative obsticles.

To point 7: It's there, it's just *really* meta, and superficially very misleading.

Funny, I've had a lot of that fun this time around. Lots to find if you dig deep enough.

How is it that the Cyberman are upgraded and now can assimilate any living flesh but, the version of the OS they are running goes crazy when hit with a wrapper from a stick of gum that seems to be gold ?

Don't want to add to your disappointment... but on purpose I rewatched The Girl in the Fireplace, which I LOVE... and OMG, now that Moffat's problems are more pronounced, I could see nuggets of them in TGITF!!! NOOOOO!!!

Of course, TGITF was a stellar ep and also not a story arc, which means those little bits never had a chance to blow up into RiverSong-size problems. But as a devoted Whovian I completely get where you're coming from. For me, the nagging worry first began with The Eleventh Hour (though I loved Matt Smith in it)--and it mostly went away until Impossible Astronaut/DotM, which REALLY disappointed me... as did that overall story arc. And now, here we are. Anyway, I'd love for the show to have a new showrunner soon who includes occasional standalone eps written by Moffat... and of course, by Gaiman!
As has been said about George Lucas (and yes, I know Moffat is a MUCH better writer than Lucas): It's time for our creative genius to step away from the franchise.

I've found myself reading these reviews beforehand too, which actually says a lot re: how I feel about S7b:
1)That I have low expectations; I don't think I'll be so surprised or delighted with the ep that I need to see it cold, which I used to prefer with Who.
2)That I want to know beforehand if the ep will be worth shelling out the $2.00 Amazon Instant Video charges (I don't have BBC America).
3)That even if I do read the review and some comments, and excitedly purchase the ep, I may still feel cheated (for me, Hide falls into this category).
All of the above is very very sad, since we're talking about our beloved Doctor Who. Excuse me while I fetch the tissue box. :-(

LOL! Time Bandits would've been a better film if he'd been in it. Warwick Davis is great in all his roles.

Worse - the kid playing Adric gave his best performances in all the serials where he could have phoned in his usual shtick and nobody would have noticed:-).

I agree - Matt Smith took centre stage, and he pulled it off brilliantly, and although Clara still feels slightly underused. One thing that really bugged me about this episode wasn't really to do with the story - usually, when a guest writer does an episode you won't be able to realise that THEY wrote it, it could have been anyone. Yes, every writer has their own little characteristics (Mark Gatiss loves nostalgia, Toby Whitehouse like being classic etc.). However with Neil Gaiman's writing...the Doctor and Clara just didn't feel "normal". Particularly with the children; watch the episode back, no child would ever act the same way those kids did on an alien planet. The children didn't act scared, and that boy acted really, really strange. I never really noticed how alien the characters were written it in The Doctor's Wife because some of those supporting character were very "alien". But in this episode, the way Gaiman portrayed the humans was alien. They didn't abbreviate their words, for example. That's a small detail, but it's a noticable one. The dialogue felt different to any other story we've had this series. I found no faults with the structure to be honest - it all worked for me.

I don't understand why he didn't zap his own face earlier? Fair enough, he may not have known at the time (i.e. when he first put the gold ticket on his face) that hand zappers were available, but he could have just asked or gimmicked up something similar, like he does in every other episode. Then he wouldn't have needed to take the ticket off and re-expose himself to Cyber-planet.

This episode really didn't make it for me neither. I'm kinda new to Doctor Who, and I haven't watched Classic Who yet, but this season is feeling... wrong. Sometimes (as in this one) the ideas are good. Sometimes, the aesthetics go with the ideas. But it lacks emotion. No feelings at all. Everything feels cold and empty all the and way.

Plus I'm not really looking forward to the season finale. At all. I don't care about who Clara is, because I'm sure it will make no sense at all, since I constantly get the impression that Moffat goes around changing the rules every episode as he finds convenient.

Very different views but Just to add my two-penneth.
The programme came across as something a teenage fan might have written as a GCSE project. The Cyber mites were a welcome 'upgrade' as was the film work to show their movement. However, Warwick Davies apart, the characters -including The Doctor and Clara - were either wooden or woeful.
The chess game sequence was confused; the children (sorry kids) were very unconvincing (this doesn't need to be the case - just watch the stunningly good Sarah Jane Adventures); the promising premise for visiting the planet arising in last episode was wasted; why bother with the soldiers (only good thing about their inclusion was actors getting paid); another 'off world' set (The Emperor's spaceship) that looked like a left over from the 70s. I found this episode an irritating mess; probably the least entertaining I have ever seen (and I did see the first ever episode). While no episode will satisfy everyone the standard of writing, acting, directing and setting should be enough to carry the 'less good' stories; if the Beeb isn't able to deliver eight excellent episodes they should think of making six.

Sarah Jane Adventures did this wonderfully with many episodes being more scary, better written, better acted and produced than the disappointing 'Nightmare in Silver'.

'If you were fearing young companions...'
Actually, I was hoping for them. Might take away the bloody awful and seemingly now mandatory kiss scene if we had a younger girl or even a guy and a girl, or any combination of those. Also, it would be fresh and interesting and it's not like it's such a new thing anyway - Ace was pretty young and Susan was the Doctor's GRANDDAUGHTER, for God's sake. So, why not? What's the problem?

I agree, what is wrong with kids on DW? Maybe the next companion could be a teenager (OK, not the irritating kind. The mature, 'been brought up by people with good taste in music' kind.)

Spot on.

I really hope next week will deliver or we could have another extended hiatus!

The Girl in the Fireplace has rank in my top five of all time .. brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Two words - Sylvia Young. No-one kid wants be a astronaut or a nurse anymore. They all want to go to stage school and be on Eastenders or X Factor. I'd even vote UKIP if they had a policy to close them all down.

The image of the Cybermen in the 60s coming down the steps of St Paul's was iconic and terrifying (now THAT was an alien invasion for you). Now, they're as scary as Metal Mickey or those things that used to advertise instant mashed potato.

no... did you see the end of the crimson horror? They had found pictures of Clara from her travels and basically blackmailed her into taking them with her

I need a Cyber upgrade to Meta level then ;)

There is one major problem with the whole of season 7 and that is the, frankly, awful acting of JLC. She has no range at all and appears to have been horribly mis-cast. The main thing that I noticed in this episode is the speed at which JLC delivers her dialogue. She speaks
ultra-quickly, presumably in a misguided effort to make the character
feisty and interesting. It doesn't work. Based on JLC's performance I have come to the conclusion that Clara is a lifelike DivaDroid International android which has malfunctioned and is permanently in 'smug-mode.' Clara is fundamentally unlikeable and that is the reason this series has fallen flat and no-one cares about who or what she is. Whilst I accept that her part is ill-conceived and, largely, badly written, a better actor would have done much more with this character and made us care.

Great episode. Loved it. The new look Cybermen are totally awesome. A great kick in the right direction for the bad-ass boys of Mondas. Gaiman has made them a threat again. Looking forward to future Cyber encounters.

"We are the Cybermen.
Lower your shields and surrender your ships.
We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.
You're culture will adapt to service us.
Upgrading is essential!"

Oh, I just read them because they're here and I like Doctor Who. No particular strategy involved, though I do check for expectations.

And because I know that the writer will ping pong around the issues of the episode so determinedly that nothing is revealed or dealt with in depth beyond giving a very indirect sense of how disappointing it might be.

I still find the show pleasant and entertaining, but as a 50th anniversary season this is clearly a disappointment.

You need to re watch 'Hide' again, as her subtle looks, genuine fear all come across beautifully. A great performance by the gorgeous JLC!
She, my fat friend, can indeed act. And act a hell of a lot better than the toothy smile of a certain Billie Piper, who for my money is severely over rated!

Confusion, confusion!
I'd say, in Britspeak, that the individual chunks (be they old however-many-parters or modern standalones or two-parters) are "stories" (comprised of however many "episodes" or "parts"), the batches of stories broadcast each year are "seasons" and Doctor Who as a whole programme is the "series".

So you'd talk about episode/part 3 of the story Terror of the Zygons, which opened season [um whatever it was] of the TV series Doctor Who.

Though with the modern setup of mostly standalones and the two-parters being titled separately, I can understand that episode and story are sometimes used interchangeably.

Okay, maybe it wasn't everyone's favourite but come on! It wasn't as horrifically terrible as some people are making it out to be. The kids were annoying... I hated the kids. Warwick Davis and Matt Smith were sublime.
Does anybody else think that the Doctor's line at the end was a clue for who Clara really is? "Impossibly tight skirt" I think it was..... ;)
And to the Moffat-bashers: the only other episode to be written by Moffat other than the finale was The Bells Of St John - and that was fabulous. I'm sure by the end of next week, everything that everyone is complaining about will make sense. :)

If you spent less time on YouTube while the actuall programme is on, maybe you wouldn't miss so much important info?!!

Just saying ;)

That's what they say in the USA. In the UK, we have stories, series and programmes.

Actually, given the amount of US influence on our language over the last couple of decades, you'll probably find plenty of people who use "season" and "series" interchangeably. I doubt you'll find many people who use "series" when they mean "programme".

I thought the dalek with an apron and cup of tea was kinda funny.... oops.

Yep but he was a bit too young at the time. He was only 18 in Willow ! ^^

Blink is my favorite episode ! XD

But dont you see? The park was destroyed in the cyberwar. This would mean the park was destroyed BEFORE Porridge used the botton and ran away. This means that the Chess scam was created either before he ran away... or after the park was destroyed. Either way makes no sense.

Yeah - the inner battle was lovely, and reminded me a lot of Farscape, when Crichton would regularly visit 'head space' to battle with Scorpius' weird neural clone/implant thingy. The yellow, analouge-y background for The Doctor versus the cold, blue, network visuals for the cyberplanner's half of the doc's mind were a nice touch, too (I rarely get excited about bits and bobs like that, so if I notice it, it's done well!). Overall this was another fine episode - still don't really give much of a monkey's about Clara - I would have thought it was far more interesting for the Doctor to mull over encountering yet another Silver Turk/Cybermen story (I believe Big FInish has already done one..).

And anyway, while I do try to stay away from over-fanboyalising episodes, I tried hard to not worry about where and how these cybermen had come from. But - if they are 'Mondas/Telos' cybermen...why do they have the same logo/look that the Lumic/parallel earth cybermen had? Hopefully someone can explain (and by explain I don't mean 'treat me to their pet theory that Jim down the pub agrees with' - I can do that perfectly well meself!).

It's possible that the children were just really badly written. But there have been a lot of children in the series since Matt Smith became the Doctor, and the majority of them have not been annoying. Think of the kids in the "Wardrobe" special, also of young Amy Pond, the boy in the "Night Terrors" episode, etc. So they wrote these two kids as annoying. Actually just the girl was annoying.

If we're being generous, then, we could conclude that the girl is annoying on purpose. I've spent a lot of time working in middle and high schools, and let me tell you- lots of teenagers act like that. I'd say half of them. They complain constantly about being bored even when very exciting things are happening all around them. They are self-centered, obnoxious, entitled and overly-confident yet completely clueless brats who are obsessed with their cell phones. Mind you, I'm not saying all of them- but probably a good half. Gaiman might have wanted to portray this for some reason. Or maybe Moffat wanted him to. Assuming Clara sticks around for a while, we will probably see more of those kids, and maybe this is a starting point for some character development. I remember thinking that Donna was annoying when we first met her, and then as she grew throughout the series I loved her. By the end, I think making her so annoying in the first episode worked because it showed her growth. I have no idea if that is what is planned for Angie and honestly I hope it's not because she is so annoying that I don't really want to see her again. But we should keep in mind that she has recently lost her mom, so if a writer wanted to explore her character and behavior more, it would be easily done.

Dave - I'm in my late 40s and British.

You would often hear or read reference to "the latest in the BBC's classic time-travelling series, Doctor Who". Of course, you'd also hear: "and now the first in a new series of..."

I agree it's fluid. Bit like the "-ize"/"-ise" debate. And season is certainly an import, but a welcome one for clarity.

I don't know. It's the first time ever that the Cybermen have tried to upgrade a non-human, right? And they get a Time Lord which is surely more complicated. The real Doctor is of course throwing things at him and making him think about certain things. Cyber Doctor has a thousand years of emotions and 11 distinct personalities to deal with. He's not in control of the whole brain. Seems totally believable that there would be some different behaviors, glitches and wackiness at first.

Two really big reasons. First, if they had done that right off, then all the partially upgraded people (the Doctor, the two kids, the two soldiers and the guy running the amusement park) would have been blown up with the planet. They needed time to "fix" everyone first. Second, in the beginning of the episode, they thought they were dealing with one (maybe three, tops) active Cybermen. Seems totally natural that they would not want to blow up an entire planet right off but instead try to contain the problem. Towards the end, when everyone was safely returned to normal and the extent of the problem was realized, then they were ready to blow it up.

Yes, I suppose. I do, however, think it would have been both slightly more logical and better television if we'd seen an utterly cold, rational version of the doctor. We'd have seen a completely different side to the doctor, and we would have got to know the mindset of the cybermen a good deal better. I like Matt smith's doctor a lot, but it would have been more interesting for him to take on a completely different character, rather than just Ordinary Dr turned evil and turned up to 11. It was a bit much, for me at least...

The only answer I can help you with is regarding Clara's command. The Doctor flashed his psychic paper when he first met the soldiers. They took him for a superior. Later, The Doctor put Clara in charge (going so far as to pin command rank on her). If they believed him to have the authority, they would (as soldiers) be required to follow Clara if he said she was their new commander. (Thats just how rank works).

He explained that. He said that because on that planet, the first few reanimated Cybermen were forced to build themselves out of spare parts that included old circuitry, then they were still slightly vulnerable to some of the older glitches. It wouldn't have worked against the actual Cybermen coming in invasion, but it did work against the bit of tech attached to his face.

As far as I could tell, that is exactly what he was doing. He needed to first secure the release of the kids, then second figure out a way to zap the Cyberplanner. That required him to distract the Cyberplanner (and therefore the legions) long enough for him to figure out how to do that and access the hand zapper which of course required him to go to a new location, etc.

Well - there is always the tiny possibility that there is more than one dwarf in the universe and Porridge discovered it as the perfect hiding place.

Underwritten- was there only a first draft? Confused- several good ideas (fairground, upgraded cybermen, emperor who wanted out) but they didn't mesh intoa convincing whole. Some tosh- the children were woeful, but not as appalling as the soldiers. No wonder humanity kept losing. Reminded me of the worst of the JN-T dot to dot approach to Who.

She was so annoying, and that's exactly what I thought the moment she said that.

I agree. I'm hoping the mystery of Clara is solved well and next series develops the character so we get to know her in the midst of a bigger and mysterious arc.

Ah, the solipsism of modern youth...

We were all brats once though. We're born brats. Some grow out of it and some just become adult brats. At the extremes, that is - life can just be seen as an exercise in the extent to which you can and choose to de-brat yourself.
It was ever thus.

What's that "law" about work expanding to fill the time available for it? Kids will always be bored, no matter how much they've got not to be bored about.

That said, +1 to your "No Angie ('it's obvious - durr') development arc" campaign. And as for Artie - give up the chess club, sunshine...

No, I'm not that negative a person.

i dont know about anyone else but i feel this half of the series has not been as good as expected, i feel as though there is no story to it; like none of the episodes are linked together like in previous series. I feel as though everything in this half of series 7 has been predictable.It doesn't feel like Doctor Who. However the next time trailer looked good, better than the others at least. Lets hope the finale of this series is where it actually begins.

Yeah, really bad Doctor Who you'd feel embarrassed admitting
your were a fan of.

reminds me of a zero punctuation quote. "If annoying is what the developers were intending they are to be congratulated on their success. Then subtly reminded that deliberately annoying is still annoying."

It's true - sometimes characters are annoying and you have to appreciate that the reason for that is precisely because the actor is doing a good job of playing 'annoying', and give them credit for that. But in this case, I think she was just plain annoying.

not bad. not that good either. Rename it Dr Mediocrity and his magical screwdriver

I like what you say about farscape never thought about that however farscape did it better and with more... subtly where this felt weird as hell with all matt smiths flailing around but the graphics were really cool in the background!

He was turned into an owl and now delivers post to young wizards.

The kids were not quite as annoying as those in Spielberg's 'War of the Worlds' but were certainly far more enjoyable whilst they were assimilated.

That was a perfectly pleasant episode, with a big dash of '90s era Star Trek.

The Cybermen started off moving like the Jem'Hadar and acting like the Borg: "You will be assim... er, upgraded."

We even had the Doctor and others rocking that Seven of Nine facial aesthetic.

But the Cybermen reverted, moving like very noisy tree stumps, though the chess match over the Doctor's mind was pretty good.

Fortunately everyone was able to, er, beam up to the starship when the going got really rough.

So, the big series finale is at last upon us. What a momenum-free year this has been.

Seems like there's quite a lot of rigamarole to fit into 45 minutes.

When this site runs the prequel video, "She Said - He Said," which has been out for a little bit, I'll have more to say about that.

Hey, Liz 10 rocks! Plus, she's played by an Oscar nominee.

Doubt this kid grows up to be her.

Definitely!! I just feel sad that it's slightly tarnished, now we've seen the man behind the curtain.

I just watched it a second time with the subtitles on and noticed that they were using an "ansible class communicator". ;)

Exactly. I think he was eleven or so in Return of the Jedi, where he was really good as Wicket (Leia's Ewok buddy). Now THAT was some great acting by a child!!

This had all the worst traits of the current run of Dr Who. It was so frenetically paced - with Matt Smith going into overdrive - that it forgot to ratchet up any tension; the story was hastily introduced and then as hastily resolved with little whimsical bits in the middle; most of the characters were now-you-see-them-now-you-don't walk-on parts; and the ending was chronic. If Porridge, or the Emperor, could have ordered blowing up the planet at the end whilst trans-matting everyone to his spaceship, why not do that at the beginning? Far too tidy a solution and made a mockery of the earlir should we-shouldn't we blow up the planet stuff. Where did all the 3 million cybermen suddenly come from? What happened to Hedgewick? And perhaps worst of all, am I getting to a point where I no longer care what happens to the Doctor? Even the trailer for next week failed to get my juices going. Time to call it a day I think. It's been a good fifty years.

Spot on. She was awful. Clara not much better. The smug companion started with Rose. But Clara's just unbelievable, plus apart from the Dr none of us care who she is. Good episode though. Note to Moffat though to make them scary again why not let them win? I'd have preferred the dr and co escape by the skin of his teeth but have the cybermen just escape. Smith did well. Loved his Eccleston impression! But again, a two parter needed

I disagree: we are not ALL born brats. As a teacher, I'd say the 50% brat estimate above is pretty close, but I'd go as far as 65%. Which means don't dismiss the 35% who are wonderful, caring, thoughtful, informed, well-behaved, and a joy to know. Unfortunately our world is making it more and more difficult for that 35% to remain non-bratty as they age....

I did not know that Neil Gaiman wrote the doctor's wife. That guy wrote my favorite book "The Graveyard Book". No wonder I liked that episode. Can anyone direct me at any other episodes he may have wrote?

About your first few points, I'm surprised at how many people don't understand it. If the Emperor had blown up the planet immediately, it would have taken Hedgewick, the two children, the Doctor and the two soldiers with it since they were all upgraded. Surely if the risk had been letting three million cybermen loose about the galaxy, he would've done that. But since at the time, they were only aware of the one cyberman and also had some idea that the Doctor might manage to fix the upgraded people (and himself) then he held off and did not want to blow up the planet. Hedgewick (who was still upgraded when the planet blew) died since only cyber-free life was transported. As for the reluctance to blow up a planet when it seems possible to contain the problem, I don't see why this is hard to accept. I can see some wavering before they knew the extent of the resurgence. Add on top of that the fact that Porridge did not want to expose himself unnecessarily. For most of the episode, the hand-held trigger still exists, so he was probably hoping that if it came to blowing up the planet, someone else would do it. I don't see what is tidy about the ending either. It's a pretty grim reality when the only solution is to blow up an entire planet. It's not like they were really going to kill off the children, the Doctor or Clara so I don't think it could've gotten any messier.

As for deciding to quit watching the show, go ahead. I'm getting really tired of all the people who spend so much time and energy on a show they obviously don't enjoy. If the show is horrible, stop watching. But what annoys me is this idea that it was once great and has changed and you have reason to be angry about the change. I mean, the show has always been hit and mess, brilliant and silly, totally flawed and totally charming. It's probably the only thing consistent about it- the inconsistency. I mean, when was the glory period of the last 50 years? 10 flying around like Tinkerbell Jesus to save the day in a tidy way? 9 fighting farting aliens and plastic hands? 7 fighting legions of Cybermen with catapults and punk teenagers with homemade bombs? 6 running around in a clownsuit? 5 with a whiny companion in her bra? 4 with a Time Lady companion that can change regeneration identities like they are dresses? We could go on and on. The show has always been majorly flawed. It is still better than anything else because it has constructed an entire universe with a few regular features in the inconsistent voices of many distinct story-tellers with plots that appeal to varying demographics. That's what mythology is- powerful and flawed. If you hate it, stop watching. But don't pretend it was good for 50 years and suddenly bad because a few of the plot lines in this episode were too tidy or because they didn't make sense.

Egads, speaking of which I'm going to take my own advice and stop posting on this chat board. I came here this morning because I was excited to talk about Who and yet the majority of people here are just complaining and complaining, and now I'm doing it too. Grumble.

Why wouldn't the Doctor put children at risk for the sake of his curiosity? He's done it before. It even resulted in the death of one.

I simply meant that when we're infants we naturally focus on the gratification of our own desires without awareness of the needs and wants of others.

Moving in a tangent away from this particular episode, I can't connect with this new series at all; It has been something of a mess, albeit with a sprinkling of good moments. The show under Moffat has become too fantastical, almost like a cartoon, to the point where there's no hook, no grounding in reality for the viewer to connect to.

A lot has also been said about 45 minute format being a problem, I don't buy that, the writers know how long an episode is and should write accordingly, although I would personally like a return to 3 or 4 part stories.

And for those saying that it is a children's program and I shouldn't expect too much from it then I'll point you to, as a comparison, the last time this series was truly great (and not something I'd be embarrassed to watch with the wife); the astonishing run of form at the back end of season 3, starting from Human Nature (slightly marred by the reset button in the finale admittedly)

For me Billie and JLC are fine.

It's River-what's-her-real-name-Song the problem: poor acting (far from her role in ER or Marchlands) coupled with poor writing.

Because a kiss scene don't need good writing...

'7a was a lot better construted than 7b"
You're joking.... because it was poorly written and Amy and Rory deserved better than Angels.

Subtitles would have been good as for a while I wondered why they were talking about Siberia.


the planet was damaged in the war and hence brought cheaply and made in to a park. It closed due to disappearances.

Your explanation of the delayed blowing up seems fine and logical; I guess my problem with the episode and the script is that everything was so rushed through that such things were not very apparent on a first watching (which is all most viewers will give it). I think it is also a problem with the script that - one speech from Warwick Davis aside - the tension and tragedy of having to blow up the planet didn't really come through at all, especially as it appears to have been uninhabited apart from the visitors.

Your broader point is fair enough. I think Dr Who is a terrific concept, always has been, and the production values of these recent episodes second to none. That, probably, is why I - and many others judging from the posts here and elsewhere - feel a little let down. The classic series absolutely had its ups and downs (and towards the end of the 80s mainly downs sadly) but it managed to generate strong stories and build up characters and plot more effectively on much lower budgets. As a viewer, it just seems as if everything is being rushed through at a mighty pace now and the stories often holed beneath the climax line. But perhaps I'm just getting old and grousy.

I don't mean to puncture yours or anyone else's enthusiasm for the Doctor, and really hope it continues. I enjoy reading the positive comments, as they can indeed be infectious at times which is great. But forums aren't just for the positive. Sometimes comiitted supporters have the right to say when they're disappointed too!

Did anyone else not get struck by the naming process of the cyber controlled Doctor. Calling himself Mr Clever? Thought there was a super subtle Intelligence thing going on. But I think I was wrong. I've never been good at this guessing thing.

This brings up an observation that not many Americans say "TV program" anymore--now we just say "TV show". At least a little confusion has faded into the past, along with channel-changing dials and rabbit-ear antennae.

Definitely ! :) Had Time Bandits been made years later, he would probably have been in it.^^

Thanks for the nice and measured reply. I have no problem with criticism and discussion of things they could do better. I was responding mostly to your conclusion that though it has been a good 50 year run, you would stop watching now because you are so disappointed that you don't even care about the main characters of the show. That is a very different sentiment than someone who enjoys the show but finds fault in it. It seems to be the trendy thing to do on this website (maybe all?) to talk about how horrible the show has gotten- as if there were some time in the past when it was consistently good. Lately, reading these comments has made me feel like I'm playing with a bunch of children who, disappointed in the way the game is going, all keep threatening to take their toys and go home. It's tiresome. For sure, let's complain about the fast pace. Also, let's complain about how Doctor Who used to be all story and little flash and now it is more flash and less story. That's all fair. But if you get to the point that you don't care at all about the Doctor, that you aren't interested in the main story arcs and that you think you'll stop watching- then please don't waste time discussing it online anymore. Life is too short to worry so much over something you don't enjoy.
I disagree, however, that the classic series developed plot and characters better. I think the new series has done just as good a job at that. The only thing that's really changed is that lately we've had several series that have offered us a mystery with a promise of revelation later. This is what is new- plots driven by teases of information to keep viewers guessing. It's a game the XFiles used to play, for example. Doctor Who never relied on this as much before Moffat took over. I enjoy it sometimes, but it's becoming tiresome for this to be the trick of every series. Puzzles are fine, but the completed puzzle is rarely as fun as the process of solving it, so the revelation will always be slightly disappointing. Luckily, that is not the only thing the show still offers. I think the current episodes have been great fun in and of themselves. I cared about Rose and Donna and Amy and Rory and Martha and Jack every bit as much as I cared about Sarah Jane and Ace and Tegan and Jamie and Romana. Honestly, I don't know how they do it- I always care about all of them though naturally I care for some more than others. Right now, I think Clara is fine but I'm not so wrapped up in her. But as far as companions go, seriously- the show survived Mel, it survived Peri. I remember everyone hated Adric though I was the perfect age to fall in love with him. So even if Clara never develops into mroe than she is- it'll go on. It's fine. Take a larger view and enjoy the ride. It's a mythology developing in front of you. It's going to change in different people's hands. Eventually, it's going to be spoiled and it might even become a gimmicky franchise like Star Wars. We can cry about it then. Right now, it's still pretty awesome and I'm enthusiastic about it!

And sorry- I tried to have paragraphs but they didn't show up for some reason.

Ha! I didn't catch it the first time either. It just shows that Gaiman likes his sci fi.

Hmm. I'd like to think that was the case, but I find it hard to believe. There's no reason why he couldn't have zapped himself free, then either figured out how to release the kids, or release the kids in the exact same way. The gambit of bluffing the cyber planner (for some reason I thought it was cyber planet!) into devoting all resources into a chess problem seemed desperate rather than planned.

And let's face it, mate in 3 moves? There's only a finite number of possible moves for 3 moves, and it doesn't take a complicated computer to work out all possible permutations!

They had no C on they're chests. They had lights. They were not Lumics ones definitely.

Just The Doctor's Wife, and last Saturday's episode Nightmare In Silver so far. Though I certainly hope we see another one from him soon.

Just when I thought the Doctor's travelling companions couldn't get any more annoying, they throw in 2 obnoxious kids into the mix. Oh please give me strength.

And the Cybermen were ruined ever since their first reappearance as dumb marching tin cans. This was a failed attempt to undo the damage of their redesign. They were so much scarier in the old days, when they were basically very tall/strong men in silver Lycra suits.

I thought this was an alright episode for the most part, but unfortunately these new Cybermen didn't really work for me. They came across as much more robotic than previous models, especially as they never said anything beyond mentioning the occasional upgrade. I don't like their appearance that much either, because they look too streamlined for my taste and remind me of the Engineers in "Prometheus". I still prefer the Cybus-model and hope it doesn't get completely scrapped.

I've never been on a forum or anything before but this week I feel the need to do some internet venting.

A nightmare in silver was rubbish, it just felt like a race to see how fast it could end. You had no introduction to the kids (remember they've only been in two scenes before this) and they just seem sooo one dimensional. The girl has no emotional state other than boredom and the boy is just polite, thats all.

The start felt mega rushed, the situation in hedgewicks world was explained by having characters literally popping up and telling you what they were doing there.

The new cybermen are cool granted but you never got to see how they upgraded, they were extinct but then there were millions of them, how?

and they just all blew up, they had a bit of a fight and then they all blew up and that was that.

It just seemed like nobody really cared which made me not really care either, Clara wasn't that bothered when the kids got possessed or whatever and the doctor had no qualms about blowing up a whole planet, what if there was someone else living on it?

Doctor Who is my favorite tv show ever and it's obviously very important to Matt Smith and Steven Moffat and Neil Gaiman too, so I don't know how this episode turned out as such a squiggly mess, Maybe they're all just a bit tired?

Thank you for a positive post and a great sense of enthusiasm. It was a good read!

I have to say that I'm a new Whovian. I only learned about it from the 2005 reboot. I'm going through the Hartnell era at the moment.

I unfortunately am among those who have been seriously underwhelmed this half season and I'm getting tired of all the blue screen shots. I miss craftmansship in stories like Blink, Midnight, Turn Left and (even)...Love and Monsters. The grand mysterious story arcs Moffat prefers are just not that interesting as there still are questions from series 5 and 6 needing answers.

The next episode I fear is going to be just as fast paced as there seems to be so much the have to clearify before the 45 minutes are up. I hope I'm in for a treat but I'm not that optimistic any more.

I feel the same way. I had to do exactly what you just did:-) I'm so frustrated with this series.

I agree with you completely. the show has become too fantastical, my words exactly to a friends of mine. but i didn't fully see how fantastical it had become until i re-watched the first (rebooted) series. it really did make me miss Christopher Eccleston, who in my opinion was the best of the new doctors.

a reply to the spaceship comment. am i the only one that thought it looked a lil like a goa'uld ship from stargate?

Cool Agnes, what are your thoughts on the things to find :)
I got that the old Drs keep turning up, and some references to old companions. i guessed that was just in prep for the 50th.

Most disappointed I've ever been with an episode
HUGE anti-climax.
The girl child actor was simply awful. Terrible.

Your point about the rules is spot on; it's one of the most important things for a writer in sci-fi, to set out your world, what you can and can't do, and stick to it. This is the reason Game of Thrones works so well despite the inclusion of Dragons and Zombie armies.

This show though - you die, except when you don't, you can't travel to parallel universes/cross your own timeline, except when you can, a sonic screwdriver only opens doors, except when it creates force fields. Oh, and you can 'reset' the universe from somebody's head using a second big bang (or something). I know it has 50 years of continuity to deal with but this is pretty basic stuff.

Under Moffat, the show has lost all right to call itself either sci-fi, or 'Original British Drama', as there's a complete lack of either of these concepts.

Warwick Davis was brilliant. The Cybermen upgraded like the borg, were telepathically linked like the borg, upgraded like the borg and effectively were the borg. As usual there were too many unanswered questions:
- Why does the doctor leave children alone to sleep in an unsafe place? Either let them sleep in the tardis, or even better in their own beds in their own home.
- Doctor slaps himself in the face with a golden ticket which suspends all the Cybermen?
- The Cyber controller decides to play chess with the Doctor when it has an army of Cybermen ready to wake up?
- If you have an army of Cybermen ready to wake up what do you need the children for?
- Why does Clara send inexperienced soldiers out on their own with no backup?
- If the Doctor can use the electric hand to stop the Cyber Controller couldn't anybody have used it on the Doctor at any time?
- Why settle for a "here's the emperor who can blow up the planet and teleport us all to safety" ending when it's barely better than the Doctor waking up and finding it was all a dream
- If the emperor can destroy the whole planet but save the good guys maybe it would have been nicer to have done that before some of the soldiers were killed?

Neil Gaiman did a good jab at the script...not what I expected

Well said. Maybe I came into this with my expectations WAAAY too high owing to my love of Who and my love of Gaiman, but the worst part about this episode for me was the steadily growing disappointment I felt watching it. I went from excitement to bemusement to a reluctant "well, lets see where they go with this, i guess" attitude right down to facepalming at the random proposal and then to facepalming my facepalm at the death threats that followed that (I was honestly so confused by all of the uncharacteristic dialogue left and right that I'm still not sure if that was supposed to be a joke or not).

By the end I just wanted the episode to be over so my wife and I could compare notes on all of the reasons we hated it (and the few things we liked about it). As unimpressed as I have been by some episodes, especially many recent ones, I have NEVER been eager for the credits to roll until now.

I know Moffat hasn't penned every episode, but he is showrunner and it's his vision and ideas the writers have to accommodate. So at the bottom line it is Moffat who is responsible.

Still struggling to like Clara as a character. Her personality just grates - and she never seems to really care about anything - just quipping and smirking all the time.

Glad to know I'm spot on, because I'm rather new to sci-fi too, and I always have the feeling that I'm getting it all wrong hahaha

I see two problems with this season:
- Lack of emotion
- Fast pace

Both are probably connected. There is so much happening, and so quickly, that there is no time to develop the characters or connect with them, at least not as much as in the other series. To "make up" for this, we get the flirting/romantic (depending on who is talking) relationship between Clara and the Doctor. The romantic/flirting stuff gets teenagers and young viewers invested because they like to fantisize, "fangirl" and "ship" all around the show. I'm ok with that, but I think that is NOT the point of this show, and it is becoming far too relevant.

So, summing up, I hope that we get an older doctor after Smith so as to avoid this excess of romantic/flirting interactions and... to get the 2-part episodes back.

I agree completely. Unfortunately I think the demographic has changed and we're gonna get a young doctor again. I too hope for tthe return of the two part stories and I don't understand why Moffat has chosen not to have them this season. The rebel flesh and the almost people were terrificly horrifying.

I think Clara was meant to be TOO PERFECT a companion. I'm sure there's a future plot reason for that.

That will be my bad memory then!
But in this case, they were about to leave. He could have just dropped them home and then come straight back. There was no reason why he made them stay - other than poor storytelling to setup their subsequent capture.

Could be - perhaps she was designed by someone/something to be the companion the Doctor needs at certain moments. It's difficult to know as her character is so underwritten. All we know is that she's generically talkative, brave and motherly. But that hasn't been developed any further since The Snowman/Bells of Saint John?


I think part of the problem generally is that Nu Who never slows down enough to properly build tension. Thus the monsters are never really chilling in the way they should be/used to be.

Yeah, as soon as the kids were put to bed in the exhibit room, my gf was like, "Why don't they sleep in the TARDIS where it's safe?"

I agree, but I fear we're both showing our age!
I found the 70s era corridor lumbering and steady plot pacing very effective, but today's kids (passim) would probably soon be hurling things at the screen.
It's too easy to criticise it as being produced for the "sugar rush" generation, though. Modern Who is meant to be consumed in one great chunk - and then rewatched. I believe a lot of what is criticised as padding in the classic stuff was actually necessary recap for a format where stories spread over 4-6 weeks.
Of course, post-reboot they've tried to redress this by the introduction of arcs. I can see what they're trying to do, but I'm not sure I think it always succeeds...

Yes, I'm afraid that will be the case. I'm 22 and I write fanfiction, but really, this is NOT a romantic show. It may get its moments or its romances (as with Rose and Tenth), but it should never depend on that to attract or keep its public. This is sci-fi. Romance and fanservice are not important.

Getting rid of the two part stories was just a stupid decision which just got worse with the absolute lack of a proper continuity in the main story, whichever that is, because I'm not even sure at this point... Clara? River? The name of the doctor? The Silence? Something unknown that will be introduced, developed and done with in 45 minutes?

I'd love to see Gary Oldman as the doctor. I think he would be known by enough young girls (after all, he played Sirius Black in Harry Potter, and Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Gordon in Nolan's Batman, fairly mediatic things) and he would make an awesome older Doctor.

Responsible for what though? Coming up with an idea that was turned into a script by someone else and it turned out you didn't think it was incredible?? Not much of a crime, really.
The thing that people seem to agree on with this episode is that it was a bit choppy scriptwise and that they disliked the kids. Hardly the showrunners fault, really.
Much love <3

I completely agree about the fast pace and lack of emotion. I'm less sure about the flirting thing, but I agree we need an older doctor next time. Seems like Dalek Clara and Victorian Clara and the Doctor flirted a lot. But now the real Clara that we are dealing with now- I don't remember she and the Doctor flirting. They have sort of a teasing camaraderie, and of course she thinks he's the cat's pajamas (most companions do) and he thinks she is pretty ('cause come on, she is) but I don't recall them really flirting or hinting at any progress towards a relationship. In my opinion, in the lighter moments, he is playful with her. In the more serious moments, he is sort of paternal. But everyone keeps talking about the flirting so I'm probably not seeing something.

Well, sometimes I don't see it either, but sometimes I do. A weird kind of flirting, because after all Eleventh is more... allien than tenth and ninth, but there is something. Or maybe it is just the great chemistry between Matt and Jenna.

Granted I don't know what a showrunner does exactly, but I would think he was in charge of accepting or rejecting a script if it's sub par and also be responsible for any changes there would have to be made to the script.

Well, to be honest, I'm probably somewhere in the middle. A LOT of old Who is very, very slow. Somewhere in between those 7 episode-long stories and Nu Who's frenzied pace would be quite nice, please!

How odd, because...
The inner-struggle of the Doctor - the best part of the episode.
The acting of Warwick Davies - oddly, the least convincing part of the episode.

Please tell me someone else feels the potential foreshadowing of Porridge's speech about sympathy for the button pusher and where (SPOILERS) the plot could go with the Time War/John Hurt/50th anniversary.

Sorry, but any season where the writer has flat out rejected two (or more) part stories can not possibly be said to feel "more like Dr Who, again."

see: deus ex machina

yes... But when did the cybermen upgrade to the ability to use the Doctor's mind?
The last cybermen (the ones stranded on this planet) went dormant waiting for children, So at this point, they still could not engage a non human. Suddenly, Children show up, they wake, and immediately can now take over a time lord's mind. Kinda missed an upgrade there, didnt we? I mean... if they could take over an alien mind at this point, why sit on a dead rock waiting for children?

Tiresome camp rubbish. It's all going a bit Sylvester Mccoy. I suppose this is what happens when the show thinks it's a kids show and not an adult show which kids also happen to like.

Beginning of the end I think it'll slowly run out of steam as it fails to maintain a prime time adult audience. A good run in this regeneration but Doctor Who has lost its bite.

Not a good idea to write sci-fi for children and expect adults to be enthralled. Much better to write for adults and the children will be enthralled.

Why not be aspirational?

Why are all women in Doctor Who lately dour and stroppy? What is with that?

Tiresome camp rubbish. It's all going a bit Sylvester Mccoy. I suppose this is what happens when the show thinks it's a kids show and not an adult show which kids also happen to like.

Beginning of the end I think it'll slowly run out of steam as it fails to maintain a prime time adult audience. A good run in this regeneration but Doctor Who has lost its bite.

Not a good idea to write sci-fi for children and expect adults to be enthralled. Much better to write for adults and the children will be enthralled.

Ah, I merely outlined the logic of the story as explained to the Doctor by cyber-Webley. The burden falls to the screenwriter to defend it. :-)

But here's one attempt at it: The Cybermen had the upper hand until The Emperor destroyed the Tiberian spiral galaxy. They are in recoup and regroup mode throughout space, hence the need to lay low. The Cybermen haven't had the upper hand in a thousand years not for want of trying! Recall that the Emperor's standing order is to destroy any planet if even one Cyberman is discovered and not terminated. So, we come to the part in this long story where the Cybermen had concluded that their next move is to generate a new Cyberplanner from a child's fertile brain.

Critical comments censored and deleted? Hello Big Brother. Not much point then is there if only 'supportive comments' get shown here?

You ought to be ashamed. LAME BITCHES.

The first thing Webley asks when we meet him is whether the Doctor was from the cheap-o transport service he called to get himself out of Hedgewick's World of Wonders since the planet was shut down. He had been waiting six months for his ride to no avail. Porridge appears to have an agreement with Webley (who probably didn't recognize Porridge as the emperor) to get out with him.

Webley wasn't planning to stay there; he was waiting for his ride out. Unless they have developed a new way of moving cargo, I have to wonder why Webley's "collection" of oddities wasn't packed up. It would have made his situation clearer to viewers.

I refer you back to the 'more than one dwarf in the universe' comment above.

Deus ex machina indeed! Doesn't fit the description by a long shot!

Well we were waiting to move house and the sale got put back by over a year - in the end we just unpacked everything again as we were not sure when it would be. It is certainly no fun living out of boxes.

Ah, but inside the TARDIS is a dangerous place to be unsupervised.... especially when it comes to impudent to children. It's arguably as dangerous as anything they could encounter outside.

Yes. Its is quite possible that the hole was create for another dwarf... but this still makes no sense.
Lets understand the order of things:
First: "The Children stopped coming." This would inidcate that park was built before the great cyberwar devastated the planet (causing much of the park to now be ruins).
However, The Cyberman Chess exhibit would have been created AFTER the war from the remains of a soldier. So the Exhibit was built (for some reason) with a "dwarf hole" more recently, despite that the children had already stopped coming.
I will point out that we Know the Children stopped coming FIRST because otherwise, we would not have dormant Cybermen waiting for children. The Cybermen came for children, but there were no children.

So yes... despite there not being children, Hedgewick builds an attraction out of derelict cyberbody complete with Dwarf hole for Porridge. None of this makes sense!

yes... you unpack your clothes and dishes. You unpack your TV and DVDs. You do not unpack your entire amusement park when you have no customers :P

You are over complicating it and tying yourself in a logical knot. I will let you work it out for yourself. Come back when you've figured the much more sensible and less convoluted answer to your question.

Well , to be fair his from a race that master all of Time and Space . I'd say thats about as close to god like as you can get . Upgraded cyborgs moving a bit quickly arn't really a threat to someone who bends the unverse to their whim.

I didn't like the children in Nightmare in Silver. On the other hand, I thought the young Amelia Pond was wonderful and I loved it every time she appeared. Her scenes with Matt at the start of the Eleventh Hour are one of my favourite things in 32 years of being a fan :)

This season has been increasingly disappointing. It seems that a new style is substituting for substance. It is very choppy and cuts quickly from scene to scene in order to not have to explain logical inconsistencies. The cybermen had been put out of action and a whole galaxy destroyed to end them, yet in a few moments there are 3 million of them marching on the planet? Please. And they can upgrade - without any external input! - on a moment's notice? Give me a break. And can anyone explain what kind of software upgrade can make them impervious to electric shock? There's been way too much of this kind of stuff. Making things happen faster doesn't help; it's just a way to trick the viewer. Dr. Who deserves better.

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