Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story (except, aren't they all?)!
Today I shall tell you why Silver Nemesis is one of my top three Doctor Who stories, ever. No, really!
Bear in mind, I was probably all of seven or eight years old when I first saw this story (on PBS, before the Cleveland PBS station decided to follow the BBC's lead and exile the TARDIS from the airwaves, boo hiss). I watched Nemesis with a child's glee...and still do, even to this day. The Seventh Doctor and Ace are my favorite Doctor and companion, respectively and as a team, and here they're in top form.
The Doctor is playing chess, manipulating Nazis, Cybermen, and Elizabethan nutters to to win the day...yet he does so with whimsy, and hardly a touch of angst. When he confounds the Cyberleader by preprogramming the Nemesis to 'understand, and disobey' its orders...to my younger incarnation this was an utterly brilliant twist, and still today it feels triumphant. It is the essense of the Doctor, I would argue; he's one of those rare heroes whose best weapons are their wits. We also see quite a bit of the so-called 'Cartmel master-plan' at work here, an attempt to restore some mystery to the Doctor. In addition to Lady Peinforte's babblings about Gallifrey and the Dark Time, we have the Doctor's own conversations with the Nemesis. The statue asks when she shall have her freedom...
"I told you when. Things aren't perfect yet..."
Combined with his actions in 'Remembrance of the Daleks' (which has a rather same-y plot, in the broad outlines, but I never noticed until it was pointed out, and frankly I still don't mind!), this Doctor seems to have a far grander plan for the universe than ever we'd imagined. The author Neil Gaiman, on his commentary track for the 'Neverwhere' DVD, talks about creating a character with the early Doctor Whos in mind...with a sense of danger about him, a sense of his own agenda. The seventh Doctor here brings that back in spades...yet without ever crossing the line into anti-hero territory. He remains firmly on the side of the angels, and his companions. He remains our lovable, magical, silly uncle. (I've always felt the New Adventures novels lost that balance, should not have crossed those lines, but that's a debate for another day.)
Ace, meanwhile, kicks some major cyber-bottom. Pinned down by three of the argent adversaries, she cleverly shoots one (with a gold coin) and ducks, so the other two miss her and kill each other...and okay, its the oldest trick in the book, but at the time it seemed novel to me!
Although many fans decry the Cybermen being turned into weaklings in Silver Nemesis, a poor joke, this is the very story which made me fall in love with them. I loved watching Ace racing about the warehouse, dodging laser blasts, and picking them off one by one with her 'catapult'. I loved their ridiculous cyber death screams. I've never really been particularly worried if they were 'scary' or not. In stories like 'Tomb' they're creepy, in Earthshock they're diabolical...but in Nemesis, they're just plain fun.
Then there's Fiona Walker, of "I, Claudius" fame, as the twisted Lady Peinforte, an Elizabethan sorceress who's managed to meddle with Time Lord technology, and even to learn their secrets, the Doctor's secrets (or so she claims). In less able hands she might have been a poor caricature, but Walker's performance is marvelously subtle, a delight to watch, and a worthy foe for the seventh Doctor. She is so carefully composed...utterly ladylike, despite her ruthlessness, even viciousness. Even in the raving phase of her madness, she is measured, her passion bubbling beneath the surface yet never boiling over the top. Her megalomaniacal musical number is hilarious, yet strangely pitiable. Her scenes in the limo with Mrs. Remington are beautifully played, and cleverly scripted...
"Now let me see, there WAS a Dorothea, she died in 16--"
21. 'Twas a slow poison..."
Lady Peinforte also displays an intriguing self-awareness, perhaps even pangs of conscience, when confused by Richard's insistence on saving her life, despite years of ill treatment. Richard, in turn, is another wonderful character. A simple archetype, the sinner with the heart of gold, but played with such feeling by Gerard Murphy that he transcends the trite. Instead he rings true, and his single-handed destruction of the Cyberleader is another of the story's triumphant moments; the good heart wins through.
I have always considered it one of Doctor Who's great strengths that it is a show for ALL ages, that it is as ridiculous as it is meaningful, as whimsical as it is thoughtful. In what other show would you find our heroes taking a break from their pursuit of the enemy to lie on a hillside for a 'jam session'? I would argue that few, if any, series have that breadth of imagination...that ability to take itself utterly and not at all seriously, all at once. In Doctor Who, as in life, there are times to philosophize, and times just to sit back and enjoy the ride. And so for me, Silver Nemesis really was a perfect anniversary story, a Who for all seasons, the quintessence...and whatever anyone says, I shall proclaim it proudly!
And for my next trick, a rave review of 'Timelash'...
You think I'm kidding.
Filters: Television Seventh Doctor Series 25
Before I begin this review proper Ill first point out that what Im reviewing here is the 1993 video release, and not the original 1988 broadcast version. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, being five years old at the time of broadcast, it would be impossible for me to review that version (until a special edition DVD is released, containing the original and extended versions a la The Curse of Fenric). Secondly, the video release is one mostly likely seen by most fans more than fifteen years after broadcast. Not that it would make a whole lot of difference, as I gather the added footage doesnt change the story a great deal. Anyway, on with the review
Ill get straight to the point with this one. Silver Nemesis has a reputation for being utter tripe, without a single redeeming feature. Many would have you believe that Silver Nemesis is in fact one of the worst Doctor Who stories of all time. And, in many respects they are right. But for some reason, I cant help but enjoy watching it. Shoot me. Now that Ive got that out of the way, youll understand why Ill spend the next four paragraphs ripping into the story, only to recommend it as an entertaining diversion at the end. And rip into it I shall.
Let me first deal with the similarities in plot this has with Remembrance of the Daleks. It has to be said that the two are basically the same story told in slightly different ways. To summarise the plot, various groups are fighting over a super weapon, with one of these groups being one of the Doctors oldest adversaries, the Cybermen. The Doctor manipulates the various factions into wiping each other out, until only the orbiting Cyber fleet is left. He then uses the weapon against the Cyber fleet, completely obliterating them. Replace Cybermen with Daleks and Cyber fleet with Skaro and you have the basic plot outline for Remembrance of the Daleks. This might have been excusable if these two stories were spread out over different seasons or if Silver Nemesis actually tried to hide these similarities, but they were broadcast far too close to each other and at one point during Silver Nemesis Ace says, Just like you nailed the Daleks. Its almost as if the production team were proud in some way to be recycling plot lines.
Silver Nemesis is full of some of the most obvious padding of any Doctor Who story. The encounter with the skin heads and the limo ride with Delores Grey add absolutely nothing to the story and are, please forgive me for lowering the tone, shite. These are two prime examples, but one could also mention all that nonsense with the queen and her security guards. These scenes are so excruciatingly bad they border on the cringe worthy. If these pointless little diversions (which are clearly meant to be humorous, but arent) were removed then youd have a half decent story. McCoy and Aldred are both a joy to watch, from their first scene enjoying a jazz session, where Courtney Pine guests as himself, to the scene where the pair jam the Cybermen signal for reinforcements with one of Pines cassettes. The battle scenes are well handled and the English countryside is well used as an exceptionally pretty backdrop. Furthermore, the supporting cast, which includes Anton Diffring and Fiona Walker as Her De Flores and Lady Peinforte respectively, all give decent performances, despite being poorly served by the script. But even with these plus points, Silver Nemesis seems more than able to shoot itself in the foot and back all at the same time with one element to the story they really should have tried harder to get right. I am, of course, referring to the Cybermen.
Now, no review of Silver Nemesis would be complete without commenting on these deadly adversaries. For a monster or creature to work and be scary within the confines of an early evening family show, then it should all be taken deadly serious by the cast and crew. It shouldnt be played for laughs. But laugh at the Cybermen I did. You see these buffoons are so weak, stupid and incompetent that half of their number is wiped out by gold tipped arrows, and the other half by a teenage girl with a slingshot and some gold coins. I do realise that gold is to these creatures what garlic is to vampires, but here it is taken to ludicrous extremes, with them fleeing in terror at the slightest hint there may be some gold nearby. Yes, the costumes look great and the effect on the end of the Cyber guns is rather nifty, but they appear unable to shoot straight and are easily defeated. Im also confused as to why the Cyber fleet only sent down one small group to retrieve the Nemesis, when in orbit we are told they have thousands of ships.
It has to be said that it doesnt start off too bad. In fact, episode one is quite promising. Its only when all of the main players are involved does it begin to fall apart. And that is perhaps the biggest flaw with Silver Nemesis. Far too many things are happening, and the whole thing jumps around far too much.
I said I would recommend it, and I shall. You see, for all its flaws and shortcomings as a piece of TV Sci-fi and as a Doctor Whostory, I always enjoy the experience of watching Silver Nemesis. Maybe its the so bad its good element. Perhaps Silver Nemesis is really a classic Doctor Who adventure, its only when you attempt to pull it apart and analyse it does it transform into the polished turd that most think it is, Im not sure. But what I am sure about is that every time I watch Silver Nemesis and come away from it knowing it was pap and knowing there are far more productive ways to spend my free time, Im also aware that Ive thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
And isnt that the point?
Filters: Television Seventh Doctor Series 25
For Doctor Who's twenty-fifth anniversary season, the production team commissioned a story that still divides fandom to this day; a story in which the Doctor uses an ancient Gallifreyan super weapon to destroy an old enemy, which appropriately enough is one of the series' most popular and enduring monsters. The story also tries to reintroduce mystery to the character of the Doctor with hints that he worked with Rassilon and Omega, and features a Nazi who forms an alliance with the monsters, only to be killed by them in the final episode. In fact, the production team considered this plot to be so good that they then commissioned it again
I love 'Remembrance of the Daleks', as I stated when I reviewed it. Given then that 'Silver Nemesis' has the same plot, one might be forgiven for expecting me to hold it in equally high esteem, whereas in fact I consider it to complete and utter shite. For obvious reasons, I can't really condemn the basic plot, but whereas 'Remembrance of the Daleks' is a fast-paced exciting story 'Silver Nemesis' somehow makes use of its shorter length to be far more padded and tedious. Which is, in a sense, impressive. I should probably note at this point that I haven't seen the broadcast version since its original transmission, and am instead reviewing the nineteen ninety-three video release, which contains extra material. In keeping with the story, it was packaged in an unusually gaudy and tasteless cover. In general, I welcome extended versions of televised Doctor Who stories for interest alone if nothing else, but 'Silver Nemesis' is a story I need more of about as much as I need a swift kick to the testicles.
Anyway, to drag myself back to the point, why is 'Silver Nemesis' so crap? Let us begin with the Cybermen. With the exception of the flawed but entertaining 'Earthshock', the Cybermen have become increasingly weakened during their colour television stories and although 'Silver Nemesis' doesn't quite plumb the depths of either 'Revenge of the Cybermen' or 'Attack of the Cybermen', it comes perilously close. Initially, they seem well served by the story; their appearance at the end of Episode One produces a cheap fannish thrill, and they have been slightly redesigned to give them a sleeker, shiner look. This is possibly because 'Silver Nemesis' is the silver anniversary story and the Cybermen were allegedly included because they are silver, although this can't possibly be true because if it were it would mean that writer Kevin Clarke is an idiot and a hack. Anyway, the Cybermen look rather good here. I also, as usual, enjoy David Banks's performance as the Cyber Leader, and he particularly benefits here from the fact that the Cybermen are less emotional than they are sometimes portrayed. Happily, they are also once more bullet proof, striding through a hail of high-velocity rounds from Nazi machine guns without the slightest difficulty. Unhappily however, the spectre of their old gold allergy reappears to a ludicrous degree. I could almost cope with Cybermen that carry special gold detectors and recoil from the stuff with a noise that makes them sound as though they've sat on their cybernetic knackers, but I can't cope with gold-tipped arrows and gold coins fired from a catapult penetrating chest panels that bullets ricochet off. Luckily for everyone present, not only do their chest panels crumple like tissue paper when struck by gold, but also Lady Peinforte has arrows with gold heads. Since these would be pointless under any other imaginable circumstances, it is fortunate that amongst her main opponents in her quest to regain the Nemesis, she happens to find herself fighting aliens that are vulnerable to gold. But not bullets. That would be silly.
With only three episodes available for his story, Kevin Clarke decides not merely to use the Cybermen as villains, but also some Nazis and a time travelling madwoman accompanied by a nincompoop. If this sounds unwise, bear in mind that 'Silver Nemesis' still manages to be both padded and tedious. Largely this is because the characterisation of every single character including the regulars is appalling. The Nazis in particular suffer; having obtained the services of an actor of Anton Diffring's calibre, John Nathan-Turner unwisely casts him a story, which sees him aiming longbows at parrots and asking aliens if they are familiar with Wagner. Just in case we don't realize that these are Nazis, they are listening to "Ride of the Valkeyries" when we first see them in Episode One, immediately making it clear to anyone who has ever seen Blues Brothers that they are very naughty men. De Flores and his henchmen, especially Karl, are awful characters; having arrived in London they travel to Windsor to obtain the Nemesis in full uniform, which strikes me as conspicuous to say the least. De Flores tells the Cybermen that the Doctor is no ordinary foe, despite having only met him very briefly and seemingly having no foreknowledge of him. Later, he throws strolls casually out of Peinforte's tomb as though enjoying the weather despite having a group of armoured Cybermen behind him who are about to kill him. More on the weather later, by the way.
Then we have Lady Peinforte. Like Diffring, Fiona Walker does her best with the character, a thoroughly evil woman who knows the Doctor of old and is potentially rather interesting. As things transpire however, she isn't; the temporal displacement of her and Richard is an excuse for some woefully attempts at humour, most notably the execrable scene with Dolores Gray. And also the scenes with the skinheads, who mistake Peinforte and Richard for social workers and end up hanging nearly naked from a tree. By Episode Three, she then becomes a stock raving lunatic, uttering lines such as "All things shall be mine", "Oh, glorious evil!" and generally crooning and cackling. The single occasion on which the dubious humour involving Peinforte and Richard manages to amuse me is the scene in Episode Two, when Peinforte, surveying the battle between Cybermen and Nazis, turns to him only to find him praying in terror, and hears him say "I will look after the sick, which reminds me, I will return to Briggs his money". Speaking of Richard, he starts out in Episode One as a willing and loyal accomplice of Peinforte, who looks cruelly at the mathematician and notes that they need human blood for Peinforte's potion, and later becomes a comic relief buffoon whom the Doctor gives a lift home, whereupon Richard happily plays music to entertain him and Ace. Draw your own conclusions.
Thus, 'Silver Nemesis' has three sets of villains, and the net result of this is that they all spend Episodes Two and Three meandering around Windsor in search of bits of the Nemesis. And it is so very, very boring. Added to this, is the fact that it all seems very sloppy and unconvincing; a large meteorite lands near Windsor and three policemen are sent to investigate. They are overcome by Cyber technology, but no other policemen turn up to see what happened to them and nobody else comes to investigate the crater. The script tells us that the story is set in England in November, but everybody is wearing t-shirts and Mrs. Remington tells Richard and Peinforte that they must be very hot having been standing in the sun. There is also a twee suggestion that the Nemesis is responsible for the evils of humanity every twenty-five years, which is just crass.
As if all of this rot weren't bad enough, we can't even turn to the regulars for solace. I quite like seeing the Doctor and Ace relaxing and listening to Courtney Pine in Episode One, but this is spoiled by the apparent contrivance of the Doctor's alarm reminding him of danger; he can't remember what it signifies, or which planet is in danger, but as luck would have it, it turns out that he needs to be on Earth in the exact time and place that he has already landed in. It's established later on that most of what happens is part of an elaborate trap to finish off the Cybermen in much the same way as he finished off the Daleks two stories previously (in an attempt to brazen it out, the script includes the line "Just like you nailed the Daleks"), but his confusion over the alarm seems genuine. The extra footage included on the video release also highlights the fact that at best McCoy's performance here is half-hearted and at worst it is simple dire. The scene with the Queen and her corgis is not only facile in its own right, it also results in McCoy uttering the lines "quick - after her!" and "Ah-ha!" in the most stilted way imaginable. This is as nothing however, compared to the extra scene in which the Doctor hypnotizes the security guards by peering myopically throw some spectacles and barking feeble dialogue at them in an unconvincing manner. Ace fares even worse, save for a single scene in which she confesses that the Cybermen terrify her, which is a nice character moment, but isn't enough to compensate for lines like "Now you'd better listen to him weasel features, 'cos he's the Doctor" and "Let them kill me Doctor! Don't surrender!", and of course, Aldred's usual tepid performance. I also find it highly annoying that she keeps going on about the Cybermen saving her life, which they blatantly didn't do on purpose.
In summary then, 'Silver Nemesis' is a right load of old toss. And on that note, I'll leave it be.
Filters: Television Seventh Doctor Series 25
Ah, for a return to the heady days of 1993...
It was a simpler time, pre-Sky (well, for me at least), pre-disposable income (again, this may not apply to everyone), I was only 13 and guess what? One of my friends received Silver Nemesis for his birthday (I'd received The Keeper of Traken) and he was popping round to put it on. Fantastic, eh?
Not feverish with excitement yet? No? Well let me tell you that it's "extended!" Can you not feel your palms sweating in anticipation?
Oh well, bully to you!
It's easy to forget over a decade later just how exciting it was when new videos were released - this was generally the first time I'd seen the serials in question. No Sky, remember? But what was doubly exciting about Silver Nemesis that it was one of only the 8 serials I'd seen on their original transmission. Happy times and places.
As a result I always think of the extended edition as the proper one - this being the one to which I have been most exposed, and the one on which I shall cast my critical eye in this review. My memories of the original, and of which bits are the added bits are less than accurate, but of the original I will say this - if Remembrance laid the foundations of my fandom then Nemesis filled them with cement.
Now, let me say that Silver Nemesis is sh*te - completely and utterly. It's always best to get that ambiguity out of the way first of all. It does however, have a few redeeming features that I'll mention first so that I can get to the criticism.
There's the Cybermen themselves - all spruced up for the anniversary year. I don't think they've ever looked more solid than this - gone are the jumpsuits and moon-boots and not a piece of vacuum attachment in sight. The ability to see the actors jaw moving is a lovely touch and I defy anyone not to feel a thrill as they exit the Cybership at the end of part one when their shiny new masks reflect the murky green light. Like the Daleks two serials previous, the design teams have made subtle innovations to the design and I think they deserve to be applauded. These were the kind of adaptations that used to go on every time the Cybermen appeared in the Sixties but ground to a halt in Earthshock. Plus ca change?
Lady Peinfort - she's hilarious beyond measure. I sometimes wonder whether it's intentional or not, but there's no denying that it's laugh-out-loud funny. It's always great when guest cast members seem to be really enjoying themselves and we should be grateful that this is an all location serial because the scenery of Television Centre would not have survived this performance. "Twas a slow poison..."
"Who did this to you?" "Social workers." Well I laughed.
Sylvester and Sophie put in another good shift, and I'm particularly fond of the "Am I beautiful?" exchange between Ace and Nemesis. And just how glorious is it to see Sophie and Sylv lying in the grass enjoying some jazz? The rapport between them is lovely - and so far removed from the Saward era bickering that I'm retrospectively sympathetic to Peter Davison for getting lumbered with the man. Never mind.
But that's it, really, isn't it?
From 75 minutes of television these are the only things for which I can find praise - and even then some of you will think I'm being generous. (Although, not as generous as some of the other reviews here.)
Again we have a serial suffering from the fact that the summer of '88 was rather glorious, all told, yet we're being asked again to believe that this is November. I defy anyone to sit on plastic garden furniture in short sleeves in the open air in November and not turn an unhealthy shade of blue. You see, BBC, there's a reason why music festivals are held in the summer months in the UK and it's not because the heating bills are cheaper... but I digress. At least the brief scene set in South America looks nice.
I remember listening to Anton Diffring saying in an interview that he only came over because it meant he could watch Wimbledon at the same time - and you know what, I absolutely believe him. He certainly didn't come over to do any acting. His is the most arse-clenchingly poor performance on display here - say what you like about Delores Gray or those skinheads, their characters are undeveloped comic support, not one of the major antagonists. He's bored; he's clearly got no idea what's going on (although he's hardly alone on this point); he delivers lines like he's reading from a cue card just out of shot with a leadenness that would set off airport alarms. Which begs the question - just HOW was he allowed into the country?
For Doctor Who to work there must be a clear and present threat to the protagonists to drive the drama. Without that threat you end up with a rather empty fantasy with a few jokes thrown in. In fact, you get season 17. And of course you get Silver Nemesis. The ineffective Nazis, coupled with the Cybermen on display here - beautifully designed though they are - who react to gold like it's "anti-plastic" (my first new series reference and oh it felt good) leave the Doctor with little or no threat at all. The Doctor does his best to talk them up and the gun-fight makes them look good but once 17th Century time-travellers start taking them out with arrows then you're on a hiding to nothing. And I swear Sylvester tickles a Cyber-tummy when he's in the ditch by the Nemesis comet.
If the Doctor and Ace had drowned at the beginning of the serial when they fall acrobatically into that river, the combined ineptitude of the other three interested parties would've still seen them all fail. The flaws in the plot are endless and in the hands of the ever-unreliable Chris Clough with his point/shoot mantra it's dull, too. And considering Inferno can take you all the way to part five before your bum starts to twitch then this is surely unforgivable.
"Who did this to you?" "Social workers." While I was laughing two million viewers switched over to watch the end of Corrie.
I consider this to be the nadir of the McCoy era - and I think this is in part due to the fact that my expectations were being raised by the steady upward curve that I felt began with Paradise Towers the previous season. However, with seasons reduced to only fourteen episodes and with a nine-month gestation period between seasons Doctor Who couldn't excuse/afford to be transmitting such substandard fare. This would however prove to be the last time the series seriously misfired, Cartmel by now had a good grip on just how far the budget would stretch and this time it is the script's horrendous lack of ambition that lets him down rather than that of his design teams.
Back in '93 it was great, but even those warm feelings of nostalgia cannot disguise what a shoddy mess this really is.
Filters: Television Seventh Doctor Series 25
As usual, the reviews I read in here really surprise me sometimes. After having heard so much fan-bashing of this particular yarn, I'm amazed so many of you actually stood up for it here.
I try to be of two legitimate minds regarding Silver Nemesis. I try to see the flaws so many critics have pointed out regarding this story and, at the same time, see all the fun and enjoyment there is out of just sitting back and enjoying the adventure. I fail miserably at the "seeing the flaws" aspect of the equation and just enjoy this story for what it is. An action tale that actually plays out pretty good.
Yes, the weather is inaccurate for November. Yes, the humour is a bit hackneyed in places. Yes, it tries too hard to just play up being a "25th anniversary tale" (the whole "25th anniversary schtick" never sat well with me - I really preferred it when the show just celebrates the decades and that's it). I can see all that. I can even see the Cyberman not being able to hit the side of a barn in that one scene where Ace runs off.
But still, overall, I really think this is a pretty good story. A bit weak by the standards of most the McCoy stories, but still pretty damned good overall.
Obviously, the action sequences are some of the best parts. With the "Mexican stand-off" with Ace and the three Cybermen at the end being truly magnificent stuff that really re-inforces Ace as one of the great sci-fi heroines of the ages. In the old, sexist world of Who, this would have been either the Doctor or a male companion handling this. So great that it's a teenaged girl instead!
The "deeper mysteries" that the story dwells upon are another excellent strongpoint to this story. The hints made about the Doctor's origins in "Remembrance" are so bloody subtle that you really almost don't catch them. It was nice for the mystery of the Doctor to get played up as much as it does in this story. Although I just stated a paragraph or two back that I wasn't a big fan of the whole "25th anniversary motif" that they were going for in this season, I do like that part of this plan was to re-invent the Doctor's past again and change him back into a bit of an enigma. And the emphasis on this in Nemisis is strong. It is still a bit of a crying shame that the "Cartmel Masterplan" could not be completed onscreen. "Lungbarrow" was an okay read but I would have liked to have seen at as a T.V. episode.
Next, we have the "players in the game" for the Silver Nemesis. The Nazis are a tad wooden (but then, Nazis would be, wouldn't they?) but I really enjoyed Peinforte and even the extremely gold-vulnerable Cybermen. The way the Doctor plays them off each other and manipulates them to his ultimate goals (he knew that Peinforte absorbing herself into the Nemesis would get the Validium to destroy the fleet even though the Cybermen cancelled his orders - did you catch that?) shows off, again, just how truly deadly he is as the "cosmic chess player". And shows it off in a different way than he did in Remembrance. By the way, in my book, there are enough differences in these two tales to say they're not entirely the same even though some of you love to harp on this idea. To me, the reason why there are so many similiarities between the two is because the Doctor wanted to set some things up that would "take a good chunk" out of his two worst enemies. And he knew that to entice them with some highly powerful Gallifreyan artefacts would be the best way to do it. And I can't believe how many of you love to bitch about these two stories resembling each other. Re-watch Season eight and see how each story is just the Master tampering with something he can't truly control, almost getting destroyed by it at the end and the Doctor steps in and saves the day on the spin of a coin! This was five stories in a row, more or less, plotted exactly the same. Why do I never hearing bitching about this?!
Anyway, I digress. There are many truly wonderful moments in this story where I find myself in "geek paradise". The Cybermen hearing jazz on the transmitter, Ace and the Doctor stopping to enjoy the jazz themselves', the glorious moment where the Doctor "plays chess" with the Cybermen and activates Nemisis with the bow and then charges off. Those are just to name a few. But, what stops this story from being a true classic like Remembrance is that it also "clangs" quite badly in places too. The Nazis not bothering to see if the bow is still in the box being one of the worst ones. A bit reminiscent of Guy Crawford and the eyepatch in "Android Invasion"!
Overall, I consider this a story with some very "classic moments" in it that don't quite come together properly enough to give it the rank of a "classic story". But, by no means do I consider it "shite" like some of the others on this page have!
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