My plan to post Doctor-by-Doctor compilations of my better stuff from Timelash II has gone a bit squinky, mostly because what I tapped in about Seasons 18-20 needs expansion before I’m happy to post it. So, I’m going to skip them for now and proceed to post stuff from later. Here is… well, the clue’s in the title. Season 22. The Nasty Season. Not much new stuff here… but some great quotes from excellent Gallibase contributors, who said what (I think) needed to be said. Enjoy, Constant Reader, enjoy…
‘Attack of the Cybermen’
Objectively, this is bad. Padded, garish, unstructured, naff, continuity-porn. Subjectively, there’s something interesting starting to happen. The perverse, off-colour, queasy, brutal, resolutely uncool vibe that runs through Season 22 is already in evidence… and it’s kind of fascinating.
The hand-crushing scene, for instance, has real balls. Unsuitable for kids? Well, I remember watching it as a kid and loving it. Not because I was bloodthirsty (if anything, I was – and still am – rather wussy about gore and violence) but because it suddenly seemed to raise the dramatic stakes (not that I could’ve articulated that at the time).
The story also scores big points for remembering something that most other Cyberman stories forget: the Cybermen are technologically reanimated zombies. Amidst all the stuff they get wrong, they remember that the defrosting cybertombs would smell.
‘Vengeance on Varos’
A bit like an episode of Fame Academy directed by General Pinochet.
More topical than prophetic. More interested in the at-the-time current “video nasties” thing than in investigating the territory of The Year of the Sex Olympics, upon which it draws and which turned out to be more prophetic.
Still, it’s hard not watch this and see foreshadowings of the way we live now. Reality TV of increasing nastiness keeps the impoverished and sweated workers of an austere ‘Big Society’ preoccupied with schadenfreude. Meanwhile, democracy is a media sideshow that entails a succession of men being briefly trusted and then spurned by disillusioned masses… and no matter how well intentioned such men may be, they’re all drawn from one class and all find themselves trapped in an insane system that allows them no room for manoeuvre.
Moreover, Varos is a client state of a huge corporation. Sil could be one of those oil company execs who ends up as a politico in Washington and visits the dictatorships that are important to American imperial interests, shaking hands with the Justice Minister and praising the enterprise and initiative of the local exporters.
Sadly, there’s little sense of public resistance. We hear a reference to unionisation, but the public are personified in the useless, reactionary and passive Arak and Etta.
And can the Varosians really expect things to be okay now, simply because they’ve got a better deal and a good, reformist leader?
Actually, there’s a hint of reactionary sneering at the square-eyed, apathetic drudges lurking beneath the apparently angry satire.
‘Mark of the Rani’
Oh dear. I hate this one.…