Why the Cybermen should be Doctor Who’s best monster
Guest contributor Gary Kingston looks at the appeal of the metal menace.
As we all know the Cybermen have been around for a very long time, with their first appearance being in William Hartnell’s last story “The Tenth Planet” and their most recent being “Nightmare in Sliver” featuring Matt Smith’s Doctor (excluding their cameo in The Time of the Doctor). Obviously the fact that the Cybermen have been around so long proves that they are one of Doctor Who’s better monsters and there are a lot of reasons for that. I’m going to sum up the main ones why I think they are Doctor Who’s greatest monster and why I think they are better than the Daleks and other high ranking Doctor Who monsters. This is purely opinion based so if you disagree with me just write your thoughts in the comments. So without further ado, let’s begin.
One thing I really like about the Cybermen is that their design constantly evolves. Enemies like the Daleks, the Weeping Angels or the Ice Warriors stay the same for the most part, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but change is what makes Doctor Who such a unique TV show. Change is what makes the show great and always moving in a new direction. The same could be said for the Cybermen.
The design of the Cybermen has changed significantly over the years with the only constant similarity between the designs being the handle bars and the silver colour. Everyone has their own favourite designs but I personally like “The Tenth Planet” one and the “Earthshock” design. Why? Because they both remind the view that these creatures used to be human, especially “The Tenth Planet” design.
Which brings me to my next point. The thing that I think makes the Cybermen truly scary is the fact they used to be human (or Mondasians). These metal monstrosities used to be like us until they had their body parts replaced, their personalities destroyed and their emotions stolen from them. The real fear that comes is that they have had the things that essentially make us human stripped away and now they want to do the same to you. And that is truly terrifying.
I think that the Classic series didn’t really focus too much on the horror of Cyber conversion itself but “Rise of the Cybermen/ The Age of Steel” handled the concept very well. The factory scene in “Age of Steel” really is quite disturbing and shows both the physical and mental damage the Cybermen do to people. But by far the most effective scene of showing the human damage is where the Doctor talks to the damaged Cybermen. It’s a heart-wrenching scene where that poor women is begging for her partner and feeling so cold. That scene demonstrates perfectly what the Cybermen do and why they need to be stopped.
The reason that Cybermen stories work better than Dalek stories in my opinion are that Dalek stories are mostly forgettable like “Day of the Daleks” or “Planet of the Daleks” and don’t really do anything except show the Daleks for the most part. This is not to say that they are bad stories, they just don’t add anything significant. Every Cyberman story is unique and due to them not being as common as Daleks it really makes them shine (no pun intended) as villains.
The Cybermen also have a great range of stories that are all very enjoyable and memorable. Stories like “Tomb of the Cybermen”, “The Invasion” and “Earthshock” are some of the best stories Doctor Who has ever produced. Every Classic Cyberman story is memorable mostly for the right reasons. The revived series has produced some decent Cybermen episodes but they haven’t really reached the standard of the Classic series (Really, trying to make James Cordon the Cyber-Controller?). Their most recent story “Nightmare in Silver” also received a very mixed reception. It still feels like we’re waiting for that definitive story in the modern era. Perhaps we’ll get one in the Capaldi era?
My personal favourite Cyberman stories are from the Patrick Troughton era. These include “Tomb of the Cybermen” and “The Invasion”. It’s a huge shame that “The Moonbase” and “The Wheel in Space” contain several missing episodes and hopefully one day they will be found.
So what do you guys think? Comment below if you’ve got anything to say on the Cybermen.