The Cybermen return

I hadn't been planning on posting anything today (I've been working--or procrastinating about working--on a grant all weekend), but then I changed my mind when I found out about this. Given yesterday's post, this also seemed rather appropriate, not to mention that it was a great excuse to pull myself away from the tedium of grantwriting for a little while.

I know; I'm bad that way.

Regulars around here know I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, so much so that I've managed to see most of the episodes of the new Doctor, courtesy of my mother, who happens to live close enough to the Canadian border to get the episodes by the CBC and was willing to record them and periodically send them to me. I have no idea why BBC American never broadcast the show, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because Cablevision doesn't carry BBC America around here. In any case, I really liked Christopher Eccleston's take on the Doctor and was sorry to see him go after only one season. I'm hoping the new Doctor is as good.

I've just learned, via Alun, that one of the classic villains, the Cybermen, are slated to return. The Cybermen were a race of cyborgs from the planet Mondas, who had developed the technology to replace their diseased and dying body parts and later bodies, leaving robotic bodies driven by humanoid brains, leaving creatures without emotion but with a desire to claim the Earth for their own. The costumes for the Cybermen were always among the cheesiest of any of the old Doctor Who characters, but, so compelling were they as villains, that somehow the cheapness of their costumes didn't usually bother me. Indeed, they were the featured villains in one of the best Doctor Who stories of all time, Earthshock, and also a rarity in that one of the Doctor's companions was actually killed off, which gave the episode an emotional resonance and depth usually not found in the series.

To give you an idea of the improvement, here are the old Cybermen as they appeared in Earthshock:

Believe it or not, they looked even more cheesy in earlier iterations.

And, now, here are the new, improved Cybermen:


Big improvement. Way cool. The costume no longer looks like the actor's wearing a tinfoil jumpsuit and a helmet. Given what the producers have done with the revival of the Doctor, I'll be very interested in seeing these new episodes.


  1. CP3O on steroids, it looks like to me. But definitely an improvement.

    I liked Earthshock too! I have two episodes of Who on VHS--the first of Tom Baker and Earthshock. I thought everyone else celebrated at the death of Adric. I didn't think he was that bad a companion actually. Not Sarah Jane Smith, but still.

    I also got to see what they had of Shada.

  2. Great to hear that the Cybermen will be back. I've also heard rumours of a visit from a certain Miss S.J. Smith in this season, although nothing about her robotic companion.

    The Cybermen were always evolving in their appearance of course. It was one of the things that separated them from the Daleks who virtually never changed. I suppose it was because they were humanoid brains in robotic bodies; unlike the Daleks, they were striving to improve the capabilities of their bodies rather than accept that they were created perfect.

    Hmmm. Cybermen as Evolutionists, Daleks as believers in Intelligent Design.

  3. Well, the Daleks were in fact the Creation of one Designer, namely Davros, whereas there's nothing in canon to suggest that the Cybermen's evolution was somehow under centralized control.

  4. My dad hadn't seen Trance's assessment, but he came to the same opinion on his own (what he said was "C2PO"). And I agree with Trance that these Mark X Cybermen (so-called by analogy with the "Mark I" through "Mark V" in the Davison-era Technical Manual) are an improvement. That's the way I always imagined Cybermen really looking. (I like that the design incorporates the bell-sleeves and flared turn-ups for old times' sake too.)

    Brent, yes, Lavinia Smith's favourite niece will be back, and so will a girl's best friend (voiced by John Leeson). How much does that rock?


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