16 Reasons Why We Love Earthshock
Everybody go, "Way-oh!"
The Death of Adric
It's fair to say that fandom - and, let's be fair, humanity in general – never really took to the Alzarian boy genius. Earthshock takes what we've been begging for since his first awkward amble into frame, and hurls the little wally headfirst into prehistoric earth, cotton pyjamas and all. Not only does dispatching him escalate the potential threat for adventures to come (nobody's safe!), but also allows an essentially cowardly character a dignified, heroic exit. And even if you loved him – he gets the most memorable leaving scene of any companion! Everybody wins (but mostly the people who hated him, yeah?).
The Cyberman Stuck Within the Door
Not since Return of the Jedi has a guy caught in the moment looked so damn cool.
Startling, dischordant chops of angry Roland synth' aurally penetrate this adventure's soundtrack at every juncture, reminding us that, hey, these robot blokes are right scary knobwanks.
Boasting the series' funniest ever commentary, (in which Matthew Waterhouse somewhat uncharitably mocks his fellow thesps without a hint of irony), it also makes room for unquestionably eighties treat, Did You See?, starring git-faced clerk-a-like, Gavin Scott, who's the answer to the question, "What if smug had a spokesperson?" Top of the bill, though, is the terrific talking heads feature Putting the Shock in Earthshock, featuring contributions from lofty future Whominaries such as Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, and leftfield but inspired choices such as some Tory MP, and The Fan Can's very own, Mr Steve O'Brien*! Oh, and Ian Levine.
*Who's probably responsible for the disc's PG rating, thanks to his blurting of the word "shit!" The potty-mouthed fuck.
Lanky bugger and sardonic sod, his cyberleader positively swaggers into that initial confrontation with the Doctor. It's the coolest a Mondasian is ever likely to get.
Solidly acted but variable in tone thus far, it was not until this story that Davison really nailed the part. Thanks to the script's requirement of emotional range, he pelts through his scenes with a breathless persistence and highly-strung manner that would come to typify his often put-upon Doctor.
It Thinks It's a Movie
Director Peter Grimwade squeezes his camera into holes that even John Holmes wouldn't dare to venture. It's an ambitious vision that magnifies each set to its full capacity, with looming monstrous Cyberbastards tramping over kids' nightmares in triplicate thanks to some simple but effective video effects. ECU's, zooms and tight edits present both an economic and visually gripping method of story-telling.
More Specifically, It Thinks It's Alien
Everyone knows that the first, largely Cyberman-free, episode is the best, especially the scene nicked off've Ridley Scott's peerless 1979 thriller, in which Captain Dallas' tragic crawl through air shafts is represented by a laughably primitive pixel VDU. Swap Dallas for Snyder ("Snyder!") and you've got yourself a tense bit of light-fingered, cinematic thievery. RTD even lifted the concept again for Parting of the Ways. Sort of.
Not an STD, but Alec Sabin's treacherous about-turn. Every base-under-siege story needs one of these traitors, and this creepy, nervous stooge adds another layer to this delicious Who-shaped cake.
Screw Temporal Grace
Forget that console-huggin' bunkum, let's choke the worthless life out of the Cybersod right next to where Dodo always bemoaned the fact that she never got any (probably).
Oh! I Get It!
Early 80's Who had a habit of confounding the tits off've its audience (or perhaps it's just us thickos) but here, simplicity sells the story like tits sell a shit action film. Only better.
Furrow-browed fandom can go perm their hair for all we care; Beryl's never less than compulsive on-screen for this adventure's duration. Away with your pre-conceptions – the Captain is a tangerine-haired stick of lippy-wearing dynamite, as short on stature as she is on temper. Don't just deal with it – embrace it.
Danny Kendall Credits
As brave as it is stupid, running the closing scrolling text to uncomfortable silence is weirdly eerie, rather than emotional. Tonally, it's a better accompaniment to an unruly, dead school kid being discovered inside of his tyrannical French teacher's stolen Austin Maestro. However, we'd like to believe that in muting Peter Howell's piercing rendition from the end credits, Dads up and down the country mistakenly believed their sets were on the blink, and gave them a swift slap.
"I realise going down again must be hard"
Pink/White Striped Projectiles
Who needs bullets when you've got tubular candy?
Old Doctor Who clips
Not for the nostalgia factor - God knows we'll have enough of that in the months to come - but because it shows that the Cybermen have a stash of past adventures at their silvery fingertips, and are clearly fans. The Cyber Leader's condescending continuity commentary is the mark of a boorish forum poster, and likely has his own secret copy of Tenth Planet Part 4. Hell, they're probably only so cross all the time because, as Cybermen, they don't have scrotums, and aren't able to squeeze them until they resemble the cloth brain from Time & The
Rani. Something all us humans fans do fairly regularly, yeah fellas?
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