Now it's time to return to Classic Who, and I'm taking the opportunity to dive back to Hartnell and start a third march through Space and Time. However, the articles are only up to Pertwee, and I managed a bit of Baker the First and a lot more of McGann, so you've got that next week. But first, Big Finish's Cyberman 2?
I honestly only listened to the second Cyberman series simply because I hate leaving things unfinished. Plus I had more driving to do which meant I could get two of the episodes listened to without much trouble.
Thankfully this series was a bit more like I expected. Certainly more Battlestar Galactica influenced, and better for it. The reasons humans grew to hate the androids is sold far better here, and it's more in passing than anything. Swallow is just showing how awesome Sam is. He also makes the androids feel a lot more human too. Previously there was posturing about not needing sleep, and being stronger and faster, but never any proof. It was all tell, not show. The closest we got was the humans talking about how the Androids took a planet by causing a nuclear accident which didn't effect them, something that came into play later in the plot.
In the first episode alone we have Sam running low on power, and after getting caught juicing up she is able to make it across a large room and silence a guy in the time it says for him to utter a word. Then she immediately fakes his voice in vain attempt in not getting caught. Combined with her also willing to brave freezing cold temperatures that Liam couldn't. The androids are now a force to be reckoned with, and the listener can finally understand how humans could learn to fear them. And as Yoda said, fear leads to anger, etc etc.
Swallow also manages to sell the human cost of the whole setup more too. He introduces us to a everyday taxi driver who sees first hand just how bad the Cybermen and Paul Hunt are, and stumbles her way into working with the resistance. The first series felt so isolated just being about Hunt, Liam, Sam and Karen. We were meant to be seeing a galactic conflict and it felt like a battle of four people. Then again, Swallow does a good job of shrinking the conflict just down to Earth, but have the Orion War still a factor.
It is a lot better than the first series, but I still couldn't recommend it to anyone, mainly because of that first series. This is very much a continuation. It picks up all the surviving characters and dangling plotlines and runs with them. The fact Cyberman 2 does such a good job doesn't make up for what it was given. A meal can only be so good considering how bad the ingredients were. Which is a shame, because the ingredients sounded amazing after The Sword of Orion.
Both series suffer from being overly long, though 2 makes it work far better than 1 ever did. But each clocks in at nearly four hours. Your average Doctor audio is just between one and two. It stinks of Big Finish stretching out a story to these lengths just so they can call it a series and hype it. Hoping to copy the success of their Dalek Empire. Not the right reason to create an epic by any means.