The Cosmic Hobo

Thoughts & reviews about the science fiction series Doctor Who.

Serial Review: Silver Nemesis (Season 25)

“Silver Nemesis”
Written by Kevin Clarke, directed by Chris Clough
Featuring the Doctor, Ace, and the Cybermen

Rating: C+

I’m a bit out of order, but after watching for review and absolutely adoring “Remembrance of the Daleks” on the podcast, I’ve been in a Sylvester McCoy sort of mood. Having already watched (and enjoyed) “The Happiness Patrol,” it was “Silver Nemesis” time. I’m a big fan of the Cybermen as Doctor Who villains, but rather negative reaction to this serial made me a little nervous going in.

I think by this point in the series they should have been able to go beyond the formula of having the main villain’s appearance as the cliffhanger at the end of the first part. Unfortunately, “Silver Nemesis” does use this standard method, with the Cybermen landing in their ship (which strangely resembles a snow speeder from The Empire Strikes Back) and shocking everyone except the viewer. Cliffhangers in classic Doctor Who are often very irritating, and this continues the tradition.

That being said, as it turned out, I don’t think this was quite as bad as everybody else does. Sure, the Cybermen here die from a simple bow and arrow, or a gold coin, and sure, the mediaeval-ish people are pretty hammy, but I still found this to be a delightfully fun little romp. There’s something about the on-screen chemistry of Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace that makes just about everything they are in at least mildly enjoyable and entirely watchable. And call me crazy, but I love the music. It’s so terribly 80’s in every single way, and that’d kind of what I like about it.

By the point in McCoy’s run, the Doctor is becoming more and more dark and manipulative. I love this. This is really my first experience with a Doctor that actually changes in his character of the course of his run (not counting audios, in which both the Fifth and Sixth slowly become different people), and I think the character development is great. The Seventh Doctor is in serious danger of unseating Patrick Troughton as my favorite.

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6 thoughts on “Serial Review: Silver Nemesis (Season 25)

  1. This is definitely the worst McCoy story. Time and the Rani is poor, but this is worse.

    Lady Peinforte is good, but her servant Richard is terrible- his personality constantly changes from one episode to the next.

    I think this story would actually work better without the Cybermen. They should have tried to make the Neo-Nazi characters a bit more menacing and saved us the lame Cybermen. Bringing back old monsters for the sake of it only works if you have a strong story to put them in.

    • There is no f’n way that this is worse than “Time and the Rani.” That serial has absolutely zero redeeming qualities whatsoever, aside from McCoy itself. Every scene is bad, the premise of every portion is bad… The Rani is a mess, Mel is the worst companion since like Dodo. I can’t stand “Time and the Rani.” I would sooner put a nail through each of my eyelids and self-immolate than watch it again.

      • Come on, what about the Rani’s impersonation of Mel? Nothing in Doctor Who cracks me up more than Kate O’Mara doing Bonnie Langford’s powerwalk and imitating her squeeky voice.

      • Then again, I suspect you are not a fan who does not care for the camp stuff.

      • Yeah, definitely not a fan of the overly campy moments. This will perfectly illustrate to you that I am an abnormal person: I hated “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

  2. Kevin Clarke is one of the worst writers of the classic series… if not the worst ever full stop. His ‘idea’ came during a lunch with JNT in which he floundered by saying we’ve been asking one question for 25 years… ‘Doctor WHO?’ and the answer is that he is God. And the inclusion of the Cybermen came because it was the silver anniversary, so why not. Ugh…

    All that said, including the crap Cybermen, comedy neo Nazis and all… McCoy and Aldred are just scintillating in this one and almost pull it off. I remember when I first saw Silver Nemesis I was just over the moon. In 1988, the program just felt so new and full of life that it was an exciting time to be a fan. The following year built on these strengths, but I still prefer series 25 for McCoy. It’s a shame that he didn’t get one last series on screen, but we are getting that planned set of stories in audio format and it’s neat that his reign is still growing in the Big Finish releases.

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