Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ClassicWho Reviews: The Time Meddler and The Tomb of the Cybermen

The Time Meddler:

     Immediately following the events on Mechanus, the Doctor and Vicki discover Steven Taylor, who is not from Alabama, is on the TARDIS and a wee bit disoriented. When they arrive in England in the Middle Ages, Steven can barely believe it, even though they find a Saxon helmet. The Doctor can barely believe it, but that’s because a monk in the nearby monastery has a gramophone, toaster, and teapot. He promptly gets captured after this, while Steven and Vicki are taken in by local Saxon villagers. However, when they search for the Doctor the next day, some Vikings land, and they discover that the Monk has plans for the current king to defeat the Vikings with bazookas, utterly altering the timeline of the world.

"I think it belongs to that Avenger over there..."

     This was a pretty good one, given that they had to transition after the loss of two beloved companions. Steven’s skepticism is a bit arbitrary, but it’s good to keep in mind how one would react to time-traveling.

     It continues the theme in Doctor Who about not altering history, but even more than that, it gave us another Time Lord for the first time. The Meddling Monk never really took off the way the Master would, but it gave us yet another Time Lord that had gone renegade, and it also showed us that, as much as the Doctor is a free spirit, he still adheres to some rules for the good of essentially the whole Universe. (It also shows the hypocrisy of the Time Lords when, later on in the series, they call him out on his meddling while doing nothing about more egregious and dangerous offenders such as the Meddling Monk and the Master.)

This was, alas, the last of the First Doctor serials I could find.

The Tomb of the Cybermen

     This was actually the first of the Second Doctor serials I could find. I missed a whole season!

     As a side note, I did find the partially finished version of The Evil of the Daleks on YouTube, and dear Lord the Daleks playing trains is the most adorable weird thing ever. See, the Daleks feel something is missing in them…some hole in their hearts…clearly they need to understand why humans cry at sad movies, and stuff like that. So they get the Doctor to send his companion Jamie on a series of dangerous adventures to capture the essence of the Human Factor-the reason humans just seem to keep on going in this series despite constantly being attacked by aliens. When three Daleks are injected with said Human Factor, they become playful and kind…then return to Skaro and start a violent revolution. YAYYYYYY! (One returns in an Eighth Doctor comic, having becoming even more awesome than ever. Yeah, Children of the Revolution…read at the risk of all your feels being punched at once.)


     Ahem. All that aside, this was the following episode. The Doctor, Jamie, and their new companion Victoria (whose dad took an extermination for the Doctor) arrive in the middle of an expedition on the planet Telos, where they have discovered Cybermen on Ice, which would make a hilarious ice skating musical as well. However, it appears shenanigans are afoot, with a crazy leader who has delusions of grandeur and his treacherous second-in-command. (Treacherous to everyone else, not him, oddly enough.)

     This was quite enjoyable. The sight of the Cybermen ripping out of their tombs was actually kind of creepy (the music they use helps-they’ve kept that theme in the new series as well). Also, it gave Victoria more to do than be the damsel in distress. She manages to hold her own pretty well despite the complete weirdness of the situation. It also gives her a sweet moment with the Doctor, where he speaks of his family to help ease her grief over her father.

They were a bit cranky when they realized no one had made them coffee first.

     It must be noted that this started something of a trend with the Doctor undergoing a rather noticeable personality change with each regeneration. The First Doctor was something of a gruff old git. The Second Doctor is positively playful, and something of a “clown” (as the First Doctor himself calls him later on). One of the remarkable things about the writers for this show is that, despite changing the Doctor’s personality, some elements remain steadfast-his love of using his wits to save the day, his ego problem, and his inability to simply walk away from a situation-he has to save the people! It’s no wonder this show has lasted so long. With such an infinity of ways to take the story, I think they’ll have plenty of ideas for a good long time.

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