Revenge of the Cybermen Review

Continuing on with the Great 2009 Doctor Who Marathon, I’ve finished watching Revenge of the Cybermen. Time for my review.

Continuing along at my pace in the marathon, I watched Revenge of the Cybermen this morning. As this was Tom Baker’s only story with the Cybermen, I was looking forward to a good story. What I saw was….well, find out in my review.

The Cybermen had been out of the series for quite a long time. In fact, their last appearance before this story was The Wheel in Space, unless I’m mistaken, which was a Patrick Troughton story (Jon Pertwee, while having a lot of Dalek stories, didn’t have a single Cyberman story (although there was a Cyberman seen in Carnival of Monsters)). As such, this is the first Cybermen story presented in color. For me, the Cybermen lost a lot of their menace in the transition to color; there was something quite eerie about the black-and-white Cybermen stories.

Anyway, this story brings to a close the story arc for Tom Baker’s first season. Previously, the Doctor, Harry, and Sarah had finally used the Time Ring to return to Space Station Nerva, although they arrive at a much earlier point in time than when they were in The Ark in Space. Thus the TARDIS isn’t there, and the three must wait around for the TARDIS to float back in time to them.

So we’ve got a station where a plague is apparently going around. Thankfully it’s wiped out all but four of those aboard the station (fewer characters to keep track of in the proceedings). Turns out the plague is simply a Cybermat going around attacking people. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I’m just not that fond of the Cybermats as enemies. Maybe it’s just that their physical design is quite laughable. Although, I much preferred their “mousey” look in Tomb of the Cybermen as opposed to their slug-like form in this story.

Anyway, besides the space station, there’s an asteroid floating around, an asteroid of gold called Voga. As far as I know, this is the story that introduces gold as a Cyberman weakness, a story element that would keep coming back in future Cybermen stories. I can’t help but think that that’s a silly weakness; the Cybermen are supposed to be unstoppable machines, and gold can apparently kill them?

So we’ve got the Cybermen trying to kill off the humans in the station, so they can load the station up with explosives, and use that to take out Voga. Except Voga has its own inhabitants. Essentially we’ve got three groups going at each other here: the humans, the Vogans, and the Cybermen. And then there’s the Doctor, Harry, and Sarah.

We don’t exactly see the Cybermen until the very end of part two (and the very beginning of part three), but their arrival is quite cool. It’s good to see them actually using those lasers on their helmets.

This is an enjoyable Cyberman story, but it’s not my favorite Cyberman story. The Cybermen just don’t seem that smart of a foe here. I mean, after all the talk that Voga is deadly to them, the Cyberleader sends some Cybermen down to the asteroid with the prisoners. And there was a funny line from the leader of the Vogans about one day going to the surface. You’re on an asteroid out in space, I don’t think going to the surface is the wisest idea.

This story does have one of my favorite lines in classic Who. After Harry tries to remove the explosive from the Doctor, an act which would have set off an explosion, the Doctor shouts, “HARRY SULLIVAN IS AN IMBECILE!!!” I love that bit.

Anyway, for what it was, this was an enjoyable story, even if it did a lot to downgrade the Cybermen as a terrifying villain. There was that scene with the Doctor yelling at the Cyberleader about skulking around the galaxy in an ancient spaceship. Tom Baker puts in an excellent performance as the Doctor in this one.

I give Revenge of the Cybermen a 3 out of 5


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