Doctor Who

Doctor Who – 2013 Season: Nightmare In Silver by Neil Gaiman (episode review).

Doctor Who: 2013 Season 

observations by: GF Willmetts

As with the SFCrowsnest Forum in recent years and this time there and here on the SFCrowsnest.org.uk, my comments on the latest season of ‘Doctor Who’. These will mostly be impressions – here’s my Doctor one, still ‘Geronimo!’ – rather than intentional plot spoilers. If you’re living in a country that hasn’t seen these episodes yet, read with caution but I’m not going to give too much away. If you can watch it first, that’s even better.


Considering the Doctor is supposed to be in control of his TARDIS, it does seem odd that it takes him, Clara and her two charges (that’s the children that’s she’s governess or nanny to for those outside the UK) to a defunct world-wide fun park rather than when it was populated, but that’s budgets for you.

With elements of cyberpunk, you can’t help but notice touches of ‘Blade Runner’. One almost expects to see J.F. Sebastian’s robots to come out of the woodwork. Well, nearly, as we do get the superb Warwick Davies playing Porridge. Love to see how parents explain to their sprogs that having someone hidden playing the game was how people cheated with early automatons. Until the revelation at the end, I would have loved to see him become a companion to the Doctor, mostly as a voice of sanity.

There’s no big reveal that the Cybermen are back this time, looking sleeker than the earlier versions, but this is one of their ultimate forms, assimilating more like the Borg than before. Sometime someone has to find out what happened to the Telos version and would they have come into conflict with the human version. Makes you wonder how far into the future this adventure happened. More so, that the means to destroy them wasn’t also employed against the Daleks or why didn’t they wipe the Cybermen out themselves?

The Cybermats seem to be have been replaced by the Cybermites. Are we going to see Cybergerms next? Now that would really get under your skin. They are still mostly leaderless. Even the one that tries to dominate the Doctor only gets a little smarter because it locks onto the Time Lord.

Unlike the other episodes in this season, Matt Smith gets a chance to really act, even if it must have driven him crazy to be be…well, two-minded. Any of you people out there work out the chess moves that were being used, let me know. Would be interested to see how valid a game it was.

Clara being nicknamed the Impossible Girl and getting to know a little more about the Doctor’s interest in her should be moving her story along but all she’s really worried about is seeing him the following Wednesday. Doesn’t she realise that in temporal terms, it’s only a moment away for the TARDIS?

Tonight’s reference to the past is to see inside the Doctor’s brain and all his earlier regenerations. Firmly established as ten now, making the Hartnell version the first and no more than a kid, time and relatively speaking, when he fled Gallifrey. Oh, there was also a sly reference to the ‘Tomb Of The Cybermen’ story.

In some respects, scriptwriter Neil Gaiman is getting to grips with writing ‘Doctor Who’ this time around. It’s either that or this story has more flesh and bones compared to the rest this season. He does manage to pack a lot in, even if there is no grief for the victims of the Cybermen attack.

It looks like there was more money spent on this episode which might explain the sparseness of the earlier stories. The trend for no real villainy by the enemy is getting worrying. The Cybermen are mimicking the Daleks as a single enemy with one desire only. It makes the Telos version look far more dangerous. The Doctor really does need some intelligence adversaries. Really needs an upgrade.

GF Willmetts

May 2013




Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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