Friday, 11 May 2012

Doctor Who & Star Trek Assimilation 2: The Cybermen Rise Again

from WhatCulture

Dramatic structure generally puts a story in one of a very few categories—Man against Man, Man against Nature, Man against Himself, Man against God, Man against Society, Man caught in the Middle. These “conflict narratives” provide the backdrop for every story you’ve ever seen and lay the groundwork for what makes the man vs. machine mythos discussed previously so interesting.

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.

Debuting in 1966 in the serial The Tenth Planet, the Cybermen are part machine and part human originally from the Planet Mondas—which was a mirror of Earth travelling in an orbit that kept the sun between it and the Earth explaining why it was never discovered. The race of cybernetic beings, having used all the resources on their own planet fled to Earth with plans to conquer. The Doctor—then in his first incarnation, portrayed by William Hartnell—along with his human companions learned that the Cybermen were once humanoid but adopted cybernetic implants as their bodies began to wear out.

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.

Later this month The Doctor will visit the crew of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D commanded by Jean-Luc Picard in a story that fans have been looking forward to since its announcement. Assimilation 2 (read: Assimilation: Squared) will see Doctor #11 (portrayed on the BBC by Matt Smith) along with human companions Amy Pond (portrayed on the BBC by Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (portrayed on the BBC by Arthur Darvill) on board the Enterprise working along side Captain Picard, Commander Riker, Data and the rest of the crew as the Cybermen join forces with the equally conquest driven Borg. Though the basis of both the Cybermen and the Borg are similar, there are enough inherent differences that one has to wonder if the Borg will be upgraded or if the Cybermen will be Assimilated. Either way The Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise have their work cut out for them as they show both races that resistance is, in fact, not futile.

Read the full article here...

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