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Old February 25 2013, 04:03 AM   #116
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Re: Classic Who on BBC America

Semi-live-blogging the episode:

Oh, this is ghastly. The edition of "Tomb of the Cybermen" they're showing has been altered to fit a widescreen format. The middle of the image is normal, but it gets stretched out toward the edges. And in some shots there's some kind of digital processing error that's making things flicker and change shape. I think it's making me nauseous.

I'd forgotten how confident, brave, and resourceful Victoria was in this one. That sure changed over the course of the season.

If the Eleventh Doctor were Cyber-converted, would he become a CyberMatt?

I've checked the credits online and there's no composer credit for this serial. Which is odd, since it has some rather distinctive music. It has kind of a Dudley Simpson sound to it, but I'm not sure. ...Wait a minute, on second thought, I think it's tracked music from "The Moonbase." But that doesn't have a composer credit either.

Oh, thank you, Kleig, for killing Viner. His constant panic was really getting on my nerves.

The Doctor really played with fire here. He manipulated events and allowed Kleig to get to where he could awaken the Cybermen, despite all his insistence that that shouldn't be allowed to happen... just because he wanted to see what Klieg's plan was? I think he let his curiosity get the best of him there.

Oh, and brilliant suggestion, Doctor -- lock up the crazy power-mad logicians in the room full of prototype weapons! How could that possibly go wrong? Is it me, or is the Doctor basically just making everything worse?

The Cyberman voice treatment here is interesting; I'd assume it's the sort of thing where they put a speaker emitting a buzzing noise against the actor's throat, so the sound resonates in his vocal tract, and he then mouths the dialogue to modulate the sound with lips and tongue. The problem is that many of the consonants don't come through very well, so it's hard to understand the dialogue. I'm watching it with the closed captioning on for clarity.

I really like the scene of the Doctor and Victoria talking about the loss of her father and the Doctor's memories of his own family. It's an unusual degree of character insight for the original series.

And I like the Doctor's gun handling technique right after. He takes the gun to stand watch, but just holds it loosely and absently as if he's just holding onto it for somebody else -- and the moment danger materializes in the form of Cybermats, the first thing he does is to put the gun down on the table and forget about it completely!

The actress playing Kaftan needed some work on her death-scene skills. As she fell "dead," you could see her shifting around to get comfy on the floor.

The portrayal of Toberman is quite an unfortunate racial stereotype, a product of the period. Yet nonetheless he's allowed to be somewhat heroic toward the end, which redeems it somewhat.

But the Doctor choosing to re-electrify the doors seems uncharacteristically vicious for him. Killing Cybermen is one thing, but he set it up to kill any hapless archaeologists who might come across the tomb again -- and he does get Toberman killed as a result. Again, practically everything bad here is the Doctor's fault. Why not just have the expedition use more of the blasting equipment they used at the beginning and re-bury the tomb?
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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