Tomb of the Cybermen – Opening Shots

The Cybermen are also good at branding.

Possibly the most interesting aspect from the production side of Tomb of the Cybermen is that the story was incomplete until 1992.  Before that magical day, episode three existed as audio, and what an audio it seemed to be.  A Cyberman manhandled Toberman like a rag doll.  An army of Cybermats attacked the archaeological crew.  There was a daring escape from the catacombs of the Cyber city.  With only the audio and the imagination, this episode seemed the crowning jewel on the best Cyberman story Doctor Who had ever done.  That was the fan opinion, at any rate.  Imagine the excitement when episode three was found in a shed in Hong Kong.

Unfortunately, the production quality was about the same as the other three episodes in the serial.  Imagine that.  In addition, the Cybermats seemed to have extreme difficulty moving at times.  The wires on Toberman were grossly visible, and the direction the action scenes in particular seemed less effective than the dialogue heavy scenes.  Tomb of the Cybermen became the model of high expectation meeting extreme disappointment.  Even today, when a story is considered high quality based on nothing more than the audio and a few stills, the disappointment of Tomb is invoked as the bitter point where imagination meets reality.  Which is a bit unfair, as I think Tomb is still a good story.  But then, I don’t have the baggage that many fans do.  I didn’t see Tomb until 200-whatever, so I didn’t have my expectations dashed.  Sure, I would love to see more menacing Cybermats, but the story largely worked for me.  Okay, I guess I’m giving my opinions away too soon.  Full review will be up Thursday.

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