When fighting against machines is man really fighting against himself? How many people have had embarrassing experiences they want to forget, or painful ones, or sad ones? In those moments is it really the experience that isn’t welcome or the unpleasant emotion associated with it? Doctor Who’s Cybermen show us that it is the emotion.
Most telling, however, was that in upgrading their race the Cybermen identified the human heart, sentiment and emotion as one of the weaknesses that was necessary to remove from their race. This would be a recurring theme of the Cybermen over the course of the series, but in this first serial the focus was on the Cybermen’s plot to rejuvenate their planet by absorbing all the energy from the Earth and transport the human race to Mondas to upgrade them to Cybermen. The Doctor engages in a dangerous waiting game, knowing that Mondas is doomed and that upon it’s destruction the Cybermen on Earth will no longer have a power source. The story itself, while not one of the classic series’ best, is a fan favorite simply because it is the swansong of Doctor #1 William Hartnell and the debut of Doctor #2 Patrick Troughton—establishing the concept of Regeneration that would be a staple of Doctor Who and keep it on the air—with only relatively short breaks—into the 21st century.
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