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Earthshock

Rating Votes
10
24%
26
9
34%
37
8
18%
20
7
14%
15
6
7%
8
5
2%
2
4
1%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.4
Votes
109
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
2
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: HexagoraDalekReview Date: 2/10/19 4:43 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A story which earns its place as one of the most famous doctor who stories. As is inevitable these days I knew the ending in advance and still cried which is an achievement the creators should be proud of
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 2/6/19 9:57 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This story remains one of the most important in all of Classic Who history and especially for the Fifth Doctor and his team. I won't spoil the reasons entirely but the 'shock' of the title is very well earned in more ways than one giving viewers not only the return of the Cybermen after several years but also ending on one of the most tragic events in Who canon that would affect this incarnation of the Doctor for the rest of his life. The ramifications of this story are enormous even if they wouldn't be explored immediately and even if you don't like the character associated with the big moment like me, it's still a massive gut punch that knocks the wind out of you. It also nicely reinforces how travelling with the Doctor doesn't always end well which is something that the New Series has had a decent try with but doesn't quite handle as well as I'd like.

But in general, "Earthshock" does well on all accounts even without the massive moment it's most known for. It's very much the first big heavy hitter of the Davison era with the Doctor facing down a classic monster in spectacular and surprisingly cinematic fashion. It's full of intense battles, action galore, and fantastic shots that make it feel utterly cinematic. The interior shots of the spaceship in particular where most of the action takes place look especially good and feel like something out of Star Wars at their better moments. The acting is also really good with A plus performances all around including from Matthew Waterhouse as Adric. This is easily his best story by far and it really tries to make you feel some strong sympathy for him although it does feel like it's too little too late after the previous stories where he's been horrid. Sarah Sutton as Nyssa gets to again play the calm voice of reason and Tegan gets to play action girl against the Cybermen in a surprise move that was really fun.

But of course the main powerhouse is Davison as the Doctor who has never been better. His strong sense of humility combined with a sense of warmth and compassion works well at the beginning in getting you to sympathize and feel for him even as some of his bigger flaws work against him the further it goes. But he also gets a fantastic monologue on the importance of human emotions and how the smallest moments in life can make all the difference that remains a true highlight for him and his character. There is also a nice variety to the side cast that comes into play, the plot while a little flimsy does the job well, the pacing exactly what it needs to be in terms of pushing and pulling, and the bigger picture as to how it all ties into history is a lot of fun and a nice touch even if it is a tad pointless.

It does have minor problems in how crowded the whole affair gets and how the Cybermen are portrayed in that while they work, they almost display a little bit more emotion than they should be characterized with. It also doesn't help that some of the problems with their costumes in this era of the show are a little distracting. But these are small flaws in the core of what is essentially the biggest and best story of the season. "Earthshock"  feels like a Fifth Doctor movie in the best way possible with lots to love even as you sit in silence (or loud jeering depending on your mood) over the quieter end credits. 
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
NR
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/9/17 11:54 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A companion's departure is always sad, although Adric wasn't exactly the most popular one. It doesn't help when the Doctor doesn't seem to like him either. It's almost like when writing him the writers realised he wasn't working and wrote their opinion into the way the Doctor treated him. In fact, that probably is what happened. It's what the writers of Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain did when they didn't like Elmyra's inclusion so there has been evidence of it happening within the industry.

It's a surprise, then, that we care so much for Adric during his departure story. We can't help but feel sorry for the way the Doctor treats him at the beginning of the story and
Hide SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
when he dies it is so gut-wrenchingly sad that it is easily one of the best companion exits that Doctor Who has ever done.
Whilst the narrative is always important, it's more the tragedy that befalls one of the lead characters that's the most essential here rather than what the story is about. Not to say that it doesn't have a good story. The idea of the Cybermen trying to crash a space freighter into the Earth and
Hide SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
their plan consequently becoming the reason behind the dinosaurs' demise
is an interesting one and a solid appearance for the Cybermen.

The Cybermen would likely have had more impact at the time of broadcast though when their return was kept a secret. It would have been a nice surprise for the audience...which would then have immediately been followed by a nasty one (if you want to know what I mean by that and don't mind spoilers, look at the first spoiler tag). The problem with watching this story now is that we know that it's the Adric departure story and we know it features the Cybermen. It will never be able to be exactly as writer Eric Saward intended the audience to feel. That doesn't stop it from being a brilliant story though and it is still hugely enjoyable to watch.

A lot of it comes down to the performances from the leads. Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse totally sell their TARDIS crew as the dysfunctional unit. You really feel for the Doctor when he sees
Hide SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
the spaceship crash into the Earth with Adric onboard. It's especially tragic due to their argument about Adric wanting to return to E-Space happening not long before his death.
. This wasn't the best TARDIS crew the show had seen but they did feel like a unit. The choice to cut to silent credits is also a wide decision by the serial's editor Peter Grimwade as it helps add to the emotion intended from the viewer.

Oh, and isn't it great to have a strong female character in the form of space freighter commander Briggs? Beryl Reid is brilliant in the role and feels naturally authorative. In fact, she's so great that I couldn't possibly imagine a male actor in the role. This is a great example of a strong female character in the classic series; she's so good, perhaps, that maybe even showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat might have used her as a template for their female characters? There's not one female character in the new series who isn't a strong character in my opinion after all.

Overall, Earthshock is one of the show's best companion departure stories with great performances from the main cast and Beryl Reid as Briggs. It is a hugely recommended story, even if it no longer has the impact it probably had during its broadcast.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
4
Plot Rating:
3
Acting Rating:
4
Replay Rating:
4
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 10/5/16 8:54 pm
0 out of 3 found this review helpful.

For the life of me I don't understand the cult following Earthshock has achieved. In terms of meta-elements: the surprise of the Cybermen and the closing sacrifice; I can empathise, but as a serial taken on its own merits I'm at a loss.

After the remarkably post-modern directed Kinda, Earthshock feels more plodding than Peter Moffatt's serials. Whilst for Moffatt, I have little issue, namely due to calm camera work capturing the beautiful locales, hilarious performances and witticisms of the Visition - in Earthshock there's nowt. To my recollection, Earthshock must be one of the most morose Doctor Who serials ever produced, devoid of the hammer horror camp charm of other 'dark' tales.

With little humour or light touches, we're left with a tedious space opera plot that is remarkably empty of any twists or turns after the Cybermen reveal. Bomb plot foiled, Cybermen hijack a freighter to use as a massive space-torpedo in an act of terror. The tying of the two appears to be pretty tangential if not for Saward's need for some heavy foreshadowing and break-up from the monotony of spaceship sets.

As we plod without brevity through the usual corridors we're not even treated to much in the way of effects. Light on camera-on violence, most bits and pieces happen off screen and beyond some model work and one great wall meld shot, there's nothing too memorable.

The serial feels poorly cast with Beryl Reid sucking the tension off the screen. James Warwick is given nothing to work off. Tegan suddenly switched from screaming and howling wreck to Alien commando. Nyssa as ever, cruelly delegated to the console room.

Beyond the 'shock', ruined for those watching for the first time post-transmition, there's just not much Earthshock does that creeps above average, and in a season with Black Orchid, Kinda and the Visitation, it feels like a big step back into mediocrity.