- Cybermen II: This Time, It’s Personal -
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Doctor Who Spin-Off Guide Appendix O' Outside the Terrifying Machine of Extinction.
Meanwhile, in the future that never was of the past that cannot be, the Earth is ruled by Paul Hunt and his armies of Cybermen and, even though human society has advanced so much in 300 years, not a single person on the planet thinks there is ANYTHING remotely suspicious about martial law being enforced by giant silver cyborg perverts.
After six months waiting for reinforcements, the Cybermen decide this is getting lame and it’s time to start kicking some serious fleshkind butt and abandon all this tedious behind-the-scenes manipulations. Immediately they start rounding up all the women and children and carry them off to be probed and finally turned into more Cybermen.
Coz that’s kind of their "thing", really.
With the aid of their exasperating offspring, the naughty Cyberbrats, the Cybermen are letting the peak of human resistance (a couple of taxi drivers lead by a gormless woman called Hazel TRON) wipe themselves out attempting to attack Cyberoutposts of no value whatsoever. Ah, those whacky silver bastards, you gotta love em!
On the other side of the galaxy, Barnaby and his Pokémon girlfriend Samantha are trapped on a derelict android warship waiting for someone halfway competent to rescue them and passing the time with lots of disturbing cross-species sex. Typically it is during just one sex session when human astronauts arrived to rescue them and since Pokémon are now the ultimate enemy of mankind – did I not mention that? – this is TWICE as awkward as it already would be.
After a depressing amount of time, the human soldiers lead by incredibly violent Scotsman Jock O’MacTaggart finally realize Samantha’s true nature and go apeshit just long enough to provide a cliffhanger moment in the plot. So Samantha dives into an escape pod and leaves Barnaby behind to face the bagpipe music of the vicious O’MacTaggart, who gets more irritating the more screen-time he has.
But it seems that O’MacTaggart’s mindless hatred for the Pokémon might be justified as the furry little pocket monsters have decided they are completely bloody sick of this ongoing story arc and intend to use a complicated and sophisticated blend of supernova, asteroids and an ice bucket to destroy everything on the Earth. Ostensibly to deal with the Cybermen but by now the audience are so sick of all the morons on Sol 3 that we couldn’t care less if humanity lives or dies!
God these spin-offs bring out the nihilism in me, they really do.
Anyway, Barnaby cunningly defeats O’MacTaggart by telling him that O’MacTaggart HIMSELF is a Pokémon spy. Totally convinced by this, O’MacTaggart immediately hangs himself in shame. The gullible tosser.
This is all deeply ironic as, although O’MacTaggart isn’t really a Pokémon spy, his easily-overlooked sidekick Kiff is actually a Cyberman spy who blabs all this to the Cybermen on Earth. Paul Hunt immediately thinks of the popular votes he’d get for publicly capturing a terrorist like Barnaby, then realizes he’s in a veritable dictatorship with full control of the media and he doesn’t need to actually do anything at all, just lie to the press and claim he has! Doofus.
Kiff summons a phalanx of Cybermen to the human spaceship to capture Barnaby and slaughter lots of nameless redshirts because... well, it breaks the monotony, to be honest.
Meanwhile, Samantha crash-lands on Earth within spitting distance of Hazel and the underground taxi drivers of the revolution and despite how utterly suspicious the whole thing is and Hazel having "serious trust issues", Samantha immediately becomes a trusted ally. Dear God, what morons mankind are!
Samantha decides to use an internet café and a few hotmail accounts to try to spam the Cybermen into submission working on the (reasonable) assumption that their firewalls will be as shitty and pathetic as everything else in this spin-off miniseries. Unfortunately, her FaceBook status reveals her true Pokémon heritage to Hazel and the others, who are hurt and a little bitter about the nature of friendship in this jaded, modern age.
Nevertheless, simply buying everyone a donut is enough to overcome their decades of indoctrinated Pokémon hatred and they all skip off, hand-in-hand, to the local football stadium where Barnaby is going to be publicly executed in the most hideous way possible: fighting a wild pig to the death while dressed as ancient celebrity figure Ray Martin.
This inhuman treatment leads Sam and all the taxi drivers to storm the podium and rescue Barnaby, and leads Kiff to decide Paul Hunt is getting far too camp and stages a coup de Cyber that kills lots of regular characters I never bothered to mention before now. Paul’s secretary, for example? She gets zapped. Does that detail help? No? Well, shut the hell up then and let me tell this in my own time, my own way and my own trousers.
There’s a gigantic massacre, but Samantha, Barnaby and Hazel escape easily... prompting Samantha to kill the mood rather, by reminding them all of the imminent apocalypse that will annihilate the Solar System. Samantha tries to lighten things but explaining that IF her insanely optimistic spam email scheme defeats the Cybermen and IF they convince the Pokémon Horde of this they MIGHT just stop the destruction of all life on Earth. Kind of. Possibly.
Needless to say, it doesn’t work.
Finally, the Cybermen decide they are wasting their time on a doomed mudball like Earth and need to start afresh away from a bunch of anthropoid prick-teases who enjoy dying of old age. The Cybermen abandon the entire planet and head off to find someone else to have sex with, possibly some sexy black killer androids...
Earth is left to fall into ruin with its population gutted and resources used up on a pointless war, whereupon Samantha suddenly drops dead of a venereal disease that, ironically, she would have been completely immune to had she been converted into a Cyberman.
This is, also, apparently a happy ending.
Book(s)/Other Related – Doctor Who: Kingdom of Arnickleton
Doctor Who: Bored of Ironing
"Cop-Out Endings That Make Me Blush" by D.E. Machina
Fluffs – The cast seemed autonomous in this spin-off audio series.
"Technically, Commander, it’s only 'mutiny' if a ship’s enlisted men oust the captain. If officers do it, the term is 'buggery'. No, wait, it’s barratry... that’s what I meant to say. Oh dear. How Freudian..."
Fashion Victims –
Paul Hunt has resolve, focus, control and neon pink hot pants.
Goofs – Um... didn’t Barnaby die in the previous series?
Come to think of it, doesn’t he die in episode two when the spaceship he’s on explodes before it can enter hyperspace? Yet the next episode begins with it traveling happily in hyperspace distinctly un-exploded? Just what the hell happened there?!
Dialogue Disasters -
HAZEL: In Cyberman Augmentation Nexus, you don’t wear the silver suits, the silver suits wear you!!
Dialogue Triumphs –
BARNABY: What sort of person volunteers to be neutered and wrapped in plastic? Are you lacking something? Is that the only way you can get an iron will, by having them cut off your -—
KIFF: You are a eunuch! Frail meat, brittle bones and no noticeable sexual endurance!
BARNABY: You can’t talk to girls though, can you? You’re not man enough!
KIFF: Not yet...
BARNABY: So, still a little bit of penis envy in there, eh?
KIFF: Soon to be expunged! Humanity no longer is a turn-on, we are a species that has been too clingy, cybersex is the only way forward, a climax in a superior form! A Cyberman form! Your path, the foreplay of flesh, leads only to disappointment and long-term neuroses!
BARNABY: You still won’t score!
KIFF: You will never know.
CYBERMAN: PAUL HUNT... IS THAT RHYMING SLANG?!
Viewer’s Quotes –
"You know, spying on a Pokémon in the shower is just one of those things you really can’t convey over the audio medium. And, believe me people, I’ve tried." - Nigel Verkoff (2009)
"Hazell Versus the Cybermen?! I am SO getting that!"
- a soon-to-be-very-disappointed Dave Restal (2008)
"Mein gott. Hazel is actually more of a load, millstone and scrappy damsel in distress than Kate in Robin Hood. This revelation rocks my soul to the core with the inherent injustice."
- TVtropes (2009)
"After Gallifrey 90210 and Sarah Jane and the various Dustbin Umpires, I just vowed never to buy another series unless it had a proper end! If there is a Cybermen 3, I may have to kill someone. They’ll be locked in the grip of agony because of that sequel. Cool, wet blood will flow and chill through open wounds AND IT WILL ALL BE THE FAULT OF THE BASTARDS TRYING TO STRETCH THIS OUT TO A THIRD SERIES!!!"
- Ewen Campion-Clarke (2009)
"'Down and safe?' HOW DARE YOU MOCK BLAKE’S 7 WITH THIS SHIT?!?"
- a well-past-the-point-of-annoyed Dave Restal (2009)
"Lovely packaging! Four stars." - Myles Barlow (2010)
Following Nicholas Briggs’ disturbingly mysterious and enigmatic disappearance from the world of mortals, it was left to all-round happening dude James Swallow to write the grimmer, darker, grittier and even more mindlessly depressing sequel to Cybermen I. Since Swallow’s previous work, the Seventh Doctor and Cyberman bitch-fight The Kingdom of Arnickleton, was not only amazingly well received but did more with the Human-Cyberman-Pokémon conflict in three minutes than Briggs had managed in ten years.
It was Swallow’s decision to try and make this most-least-well-known of all Doctor Who spin-offs a big hit. He did this by
- abandoning that pretentious Spooks-style "no cast credits or information about the story beforehand"
- releasing all four episodes at once with a definitive ending
- creating a special Cybermen II: This Time It’s Personal box set with loads of exclusive extras and novelty artwork
- simultaneously releasing the entire thing as an internet download
It goes to show just how unpopular Cybermen was that not a single of these factors got a SINGLE LIVING PERSON to actually buy, steal or even LISTEN to the damn things. Even though Cybermen are actually part of the plot this year, and Kingdom of Arnickleton actually had absolutely nothing to do with the series so you didn’t need to hear that in order to understand a single damn thing that was happening.
I guess it just goes to show that trying to do stories about "The West Wing IN SPACE!!" never work. Believe me, I know. It doesn’t matter how many times you replace terrorists or CIA for Cybermen, it doesn’t work. Especially when the remake of Battlestar Galactica does it SO MUCH BETTER in a much more accessible, cheaper and less-embarrassing manner.
Home please and don’t spare the turbos!