Only two episodes to go of this seventh Doctor Who series, and this is both the penultimate episode and written by geek idol Neil Gaiman. Oh, and trying to make the Cybermen scary again, after a long dark spell – the shiny ones have struggled since they were spanked by the Daleks at the end of their first year back.
The episode features the Doctor and Clara taking those kids she babysits to an alien theme park, which turns out to be the starting point for a Cyberman resurgence. The Shinymen duly resurge, hi-jinks ensue, and no, this isn’t much like previous Gaiman episode The Doctor’s Wife at all.
The lack of indepth character work and sobbing may disappoint some, but you have to give him some credit for trying a different type of story entirely, rather than replaying past hits. This is a manic fun-for-all-the-family alien adventure, a similar type to last week’s The Crimson Horror to be honest.
Inevitably, a frothy action episode is less likely to hit as hard as a huge emotional one, so there’s an inbuilt disappointment factor – I found it entertaining enough – moved along well, took the Cybermen seriously as a threat (even if it did make them a bit Borg-like in the process), fun guest appearance from Warwick Davis and dual role for Matt Smith.
TV Children – Should They Be Seen Or Heard?
But I didn’t feel like I was watching anything memorable or lifechanging either. Didn’t help that the kids managed to be irritating even by child-on-TV standards – and its easy to snidely blame the child actors, but the older girl was pretty annoyingly written as well. That wasn’t a total dealbreaker, as the plot helpfully shut them up for a while, but still.
More fundamentally, there didn’t seem to be any emotional stakes. Even though The Crimson Horror was a similar runaround funfest, the villain’s daughter got me invested, whereas Nightmare In Silver was just watching action.
Not awful, I stress – by general Doctor Who adventure standards, above average, but if you expected some amazing experience, that didn’t quite happen. And next week: The Name Of The Doctor and The Secret Of Clara. Just for the record, I don’t think we’ll find out his name, it’ll be said off-screen or whispered or something. Happy with any resolution to Clara as long as she doesn’t turn out to be River Song.