Reviewed By: TCar96
Review Date: 10/5/16 8:54 pm
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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.