Saturday, 11 May 2013

Skaro's Spoiler Review: Series 7 - Nightmare in Silver

Nightmare in Silver, written by Neil Gaiman is certainly an episode that will be remembered in Doctor Who. To some it may be the episode that re-made the cybermen scary, to others it may be the one that made them look like Iron Man, but to me it is the former. I have to say I loved this episode (although I have loved the majority of this series), Neil Gaiman has worked his magic on each character in this episode, giving the children courage, Clara authority and for once The Doctor, with only 49.881% of his brain.

The Story itself revolves around technologically upgraded warriors, Cybermen on an alien world that has been trashed, Hedgewicks world. Cybermen have been gone for over 1000 years and with a few stompy feet - they're back! This time the Cybermen are more agile, have more abilities and can withstand almost any attacks - even electrocution. The Doctor, for the majority of the episode, isn't himself which adds a strong sense of danger because he isn't around to save the day, possibly this time he's around to destroy it. After a long battle, the planet gets blown up with the activation of a voice triggered bomb, triggered by Porridge, who is revealed to be an Emperor of Space. In summary - the storyline felt Cybermen, felt silver and felt like a nightmare, everything that you expect from an episode called 'Nightmare in Silver'.

The acting level in this episode was on top-form, all the supporting cast played the roles with confidence and great acting ability, except child actor Kassius Johnson (Artie), whos acting I felt was quote Mrs Gillflower, I'd say "tollerable". Porridge played by actor Warwick Davis gave one of the best performances in the episode, giving us a true sense of emotion and sympathy for his character with every word spoken. Another great actor in this was Jason Watkins, who gave a fantastic bubbly performance as Webley and then a cold, sinister performance as cyber-Webley, with hints of the first fading into his cyber form.

The references to the Classic series in this episode is something that should be noted, there are tons hidden with the episode including the ability to be highly sensitive to Gold - which in itself was enough to make me squeel with joy.

It would be wrong of me to do this review without actually speaking of the Cybermen, this time they are superbly designed, baring a less human face shape which shows how little emotion they've got - wanting to convert anything that is not like them, to make the ultimate empire. The Cybermens' voice sound a lot more sinister, emotionless and rough than any other Cybermen ever heard in Doctor Who, which helped emphasize the fact that they are ruthless and bare very little similarities to previous new series Cybermen.

Overall I'd give this episode 9/10, as it brought together so many past elements of Doctor Who, brought together so many new elements and helped bring a near-end to Series 7, with only one episode left you can feel the danger rising. The one bit of improvement I could have suggested for this episode is to have made it a two-parter, although I felt it worked fine as a single-episode, more Cybermen action may have benefited the story of re-introducing them.


Callme11 said...

It was very slow paced. The children were annoying and the girl in particular was bratty. Compare her performance to that of the actor who played Amelia and there is no contest. The girl in this episode cannot act. Even if she was suppose to be bratty she came off as annoying and obnoxious with it, and I think a better actor would have known how to play that with some kind of compassion. I mean Amelia was a bit bratty too but that girl can act, and she wasn't even an actor before The Eleventh Hour! It wouldn't have been so bad but they pinned a huge part of the episode on her and she just failed.

It is nice to see an old enemy and I have always loved the Cybermen, but we didn't really get the Cybermen here, we had a (faux) Doctor being a Cyberplanner (Leader) it felt like a cheat to me. I think the personality has been removed from the Cybermen in the newer series, which is not a good thing.

I did love the call back to gold being the answer and having the Cybermen able to upgrade quicker is interesting as were the mites, or could be interesting if we ever see them again. Or rather this version of them.

Unlike the reviewer I felt no sense of danger at all, I really didn't care about any of the characters and of course I knew The Doctor would survive, never a question, to be honest I kind of hoped the children wouldn't have. *slap my wrist!* There was more fear and danger in Closing Time from the Cybermen than here and I don't much care for Craig!

Matt Smith was and continues to be, the best thing about the show at the moment for me. He really puts himself out there for the performance and rarely stuffs it up. He is fast over-taking my beloved Peter Davison as "My Doctor". Wow, that is a big call for me!

There were problems or leaps of faith. So The Doctor puts Clara in charge and everyone just goes along? WTF! Yes, I know he was acting as head honcho with the physic paper but unless The Doctor really does know something we don't about Clara why would he put her in such a position in the first place? He would know she might have to kill, it felt out of character but no surprises there as Neil Gaiman wrote out of character for The Doctor in his last effort, which by the way I didn't really like so perhaps I bring my prejudice to this one, didn't know NG work and do not plan on looking it up after two middling episodes from him in Whoverse.

This just felt slow and yeah, a bit boring when The Doctor wasn't on screen. Warwick Davis(?) was brilliant, now that is acting!

Just a thought on the whole of series 7 so far; I love Moffat's Who but I do not love this "movie style episode" split series 7. The bottle neck nature of this series feels out of place. I think many of the scripts have been of low quality. For all its faults, I have to say series 6 was better. There was a sense of excitement and yeah, fun! That seems to have disappeared this series.

I don't, as they say in the classics "feel the love" (on pun).

Nightmare in Silver - 6/10

Kevin Fisher said...

I will say it straight off: Nu-Who does not get the Cybermen. Heck even old Who didn't get the Cybermen, at least not since the 1970's. But this latest attempt to "re-do" the mistake of the Cybusmen is the worst thing to happen to the Cybermen since "Rise of the Cybermen".

What is so hard to understand about the fact that the Cybermen are CYBORGS? They aren't just robots with a human brain, something they got completely wrong in "Rise of the Cybermen" and then tried to fix with "Cyberwoman" on Torchwood. They are CYBORGS. There is supposed to be a human being inside that armour.

So why is the new Iron-Man styled Cyberman taking off it's head and sending it's hand running around? Why is it deliberately marching around like the T-1000 (come on, it was obvious).

"Nightmare in Silver" makes it plain and clear: the Cybermen are just robots now. All this talk about how they use humans for "spare parts"...well, how about showing it? Because all they've shown is that they are robots. There isn't anything "cyborg" about them.

And seriously, the writers of Nu-Who need to stop borrowing from Big Finish stories. If they're not going to do a proper version of "Spare Parts" then they need to stop taking bits and pieces from Spare Parts they scanned the Doctor's brain and figured out how to make a "tertiary" processor based on Time Lord brains to improve the Cybermen. In this story they "scanned the doctor's brain" and figured out how to make better Cybermen...etc. Either give us "Spare Parts" or come up with something original.

The super-speed aspect was interesting, but as usual, they didn't try to explain it. Are the new cybermen fast? Or are they just moving in fast-time like the Shrike from Dan Simmon's books? But as usual they didn't bother with little things like "plot"...just more running around and sonic magic wand waving.

Anyway, long story short: 1/10. This episode was awful. I expected SO much more from Neil Gaiman.

lol123 said...

kassius carey johnson (artie) was the star of the show he was the best he is sooo good at acting !!!!!!!!!!!

lol123 said...

I understand that artie (was critisized and I respect their reasons (I lied) however i disagree because he has many talents & acting is definitely one of them !!

lol123 said...

by the way he is a friend of mine