Slow, deliberate and more than a little bit terrifying. That’s the best way to describe Cyberman – The Complete Series 1 and 2 from Big Finish Productions.
The fact that these series’ script, by Nicholas Briggs and James Swallow, moves at the same pace as the mechanised men and women that are the Cybermen is surely no coincidence. In fact, Briggs and Swallow deserve high praise indeed for pulling off such a clever feat.
This story, originally released in two parts in 2005 and 2009, is bereft of the Doctor and his companions which means the metal gloves are off for any, and indeed all, of the characters that we meet. Anything is possible, anyone could die.
Definitely informed by Blade Runner, and the reboot of Battlestar Galactica of last decade, the androids humankind has built have revolted and are now at war with the good people of Earth. Enter the Cybermen who will alter the balance of power as they join with one side to fight the other.
This is a story with scope that reaches from the Cyberman infested shores of the Isle of Wight to the far reaches of the Orion star system where the replicant/cylon/androids of Earth have retreated to.
The story is told in eight one-hour-long episodes whose one-word titles are foreboding and give a chilling hint, at least to those familiar with the Cybermen, of what is to come: Scorpios, Fear, Conversion, Telos, Outsiders, Terror, Machines, and Extinction.
Stand out performances come from Mark McDonnell as Liam Barnaby, right hand to the president of Earth, whose story is central to the first part. He’s a likeable Scot, which is exactly what android Samantha Thorn (Hannah Smith) thinks. Smith’s android is a tiny bit more Pris from Blade Runner than, say, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but her performance is a little more clipped and controlled than a human would be. It’s a subtle performance that deserves congratulations.
Starship commander Louis Richter, whose actions are critical in the second series, is expertly played by fanboy actor Toby Hadoke who manages to deliver just the right sort of over the top manic performance to send shivers down the spine.
The performances, coupled with an uncredited score that mimics the incidental music from the Cybermen’s early appearances on Doctor Who, made these series a sound to behold.
You’ll want to listen to these all in a row, for fear of losing track of what’s what and who’s who. Resistance is futile.
This re-release packages both series, coupled with extras, as one release.
Blogtor Rating 9/10
“There Is Nothing To Fear…”
Mankind is fighting a long and costly war with its android creations in the Orion System. The deadlock must be broken at all costs. The President of Earth is offered an unthinkable strategy that cannot be refused.
Deep below the ocean, an ancient spaceship has been discovered. One that contains the remains of the great civilisation we could have been if we’d taken another path. A purer path…
Now the Scorpius strategy is in full operation. Silver legions stand impassive in every city; mankind has sacrificed its freedoms and a web of lies and deceit draws ever tighter. Only one choice remains – resist or surrender…
Written By: Nicholas Briggs & James Swallow
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Mark McDonnell (Liam Barnaby/Nash), Hannah Smith (Samantha Thorn/Computer),Barnaby Edwards (Paul Hunt/Comms), Sarah Mowatt (Karen Brett/Supervisor/Welsh Citizen), Ian Brooker (Yan/Hendry/Helliton/Glaust/Protestor/Karen’s Father/Commander/Security/Goran), Ian Hallard (Chessman), Toby Longworth(Levinson/Prime Riordan/Pilot/Public Address/Soldier/Captain/PA Voice/Policeman/Government Official/Studio Manager), Lizzie Hopley(Brinna/Secretary/Comp), Samantha Sanns (SSC Control/Comp/Helm/Operations Officer/Android/Nav Comp/Liam’s Comp/Refugee), Jo Castleton (Hazel Trahn),Andrew Dickens (Milo Taggart), Toby Hadoke (Louis Richter), Martin Trent(Merced), Cal Jaggers (Becca Trahn), Jess Robinson (Janice Webb), Stuart Crossman (The News) and Nicholas Briggs (The Cybermen/CyberPlanner/CyberLeader)