Tuesday, March 26, 2013

7K3 - Silver Nemesis 3

There is only one thing worse than the broadcast version of Silver Nemesis, and that is the extended version of Silver Nemesis released on VHS in 1993. That special release had extra scenes soldered into the broadcast version, sans incidental music (which some might see as an improvement), but viewers were disappointed to see that the previously deleted scenes contained no dramatic confrontations or exciting story developments. No, the only added bonus was seeing interminable dialogue scenes between Nazis in a van, ludicrous pantomime involving The Doctor and the Queen's guard, and seemingly countless extra scenes involving Lady Peinforte hitching a ride with a wealthy dowager, played by aging film icon Dolores Gray.

That so many scenes involving Gray's Mrs. Remington were scripted and shot, let alone the few that were actually included in the finished programme, is a testament to the sheer overindulgence on the part of the production team. They thought they could do no wrong when everything was going wrong. The scenes in Mrs. Remington's limousine are among the very worst ever shot for Doctor Who, and certainly the most pointless. Kevin Clarke wrote the script for this story, his first and (thankfully) last effort in Doctor Who, but producer John Nathan-Turner was keen on getting Dolores Gray into the programme. Director Chris Clough seemed to be just along for the ride. Even script editor Andrew Cartmel, who was on his way to shaping a fairly notable era in Doctor Who history, apparently suffered amnesia as the basic plot of Nemesis is the exact same as the Cartmel-commissioned Remembrance of the Daleks two stories previously. Ace even states in this story that The Doctor defeated the Cybermen "just like he nailed the Daleks"!

Everything in Silver Nemesis seems to be thrown in for either cheap laughs or cheaper thrills. Ace slaughters an entire division of Cybermen armed only with slingshot and a bag of gold coins. The Cybermen die spectacularly, frequently, and completely unrealistically. Lady Peinforte becomes increasingly deranged and useless as the story moves to its limp climax, and her only line of dialogue seems to be "All things will soon be mine!". The Nazis are stupid and ineffectual. Everything looks like a slightly higher budget fanfilm, and the script has been written to match those lofty expectations.

When I started this blog far too many years ago, I already knew that The Caves of Androzani would most likely remain my favourite story ever, and I was fairly sure that the award for my least favourite story would go unreservedly to Timelash. But this entire blog has been an eye opening experience for me, forcing me to see things in stories that I had watched dozens of times but never picked up upon until it came time to put my thoughts down in an episode review. Intended to celebrate 25 years of Doctor Who, Silver Nemesis feels nothing like Doctor Who. Despite being only three episodes long, it is remarkably padded. It's cheap, tawdry, and a slap in the face to everyone who worked on the show for the previous 25 years.

I can honestly say that my vote for not only my least favourite, but the worst classic series Doctor Who story of all time, is Silver Nemesis.


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