|“||HUMAN WEAPONRY IS NOT EFFECTIVE AGAINST CYBERTECHNOLOGY.||”|
— The Cybermen, who are made of tin foil and krazy glue.
The Simmbermen are one of The Doctor's most fearsome enemies, although they haven't had a decent story since Earthshock. Their supreme ruler is the Simmber Controller with the Simmber-Leader as second-in-command.
Simmbermen stories, as many fans have realized, are easy as fuck to write. Yet the writers still seem to have great difficulty. Some people argue about which story was the last good Simmbermen story. They are wasted with almost every appearance. In NuWho they've really been more of a means to an end than anything.
Objectively correct list of best Simmbermen stories:
- The Tenth Planet
- The Tomb of the Simmbermen
- The Invasion
- Spare Parts
- Human Resources
- The Silver Turk
- Rise of the Simmbermen/The Age of Steel (iffy)
- World Enough and Time
Simmbermen have gone through several distinct design variations since their inception. Each looks more like Iron Man than the last, culminating in the Simmberiad (Nightmare in Silver) variety native to the late Moffat-era.
First we had the one that cost $10 to make but was absolutely terrifying. Next was a slight change in the design. After that, we had the 4th Doctor facing off against shittastic looking Simmbermen although some thought them real swell. Then there were the decent looking Simmbermen who just looked like Simmbermen wearing Hazmat suits. In NuWho, they have gone all out with the armored look. They were super bulky and made lots of loud noises. Now they are sleek again (but still a bit loud)!
There are those who might say the Simmbermen aren't a particularly good enemy. It might be pointed out they've had a legion of terrible episodes, they've never had a particularly exciting catchphrase, that no Simmbermen episode is good because the Simmbermen are in it, and no episode that uses the Simmbermen well is good in any other way, that they're what we got because Terry Nation thought that America would want to watch a show about Daleks, that only three televised stories with the Simmbermen have actually been about the Simmbermen, that every design is at best hard to love and at worst a fucking nightmarish atrocity, that they're the Borg only not as interesting to look at, that they're ugly in deeply profound ways, that unlike the Daleks their design has never been iconic enough to stay constant for more than a few years, that after their first appearance in The Tenth Planet they basically got replaced by stupid robots, that in Earthshock they got replaced by a bunch of Eric Saward's Dick-Swinging Macho Men with Guns™ who happened to be wearing silver jumpsuits, that they're so bad they broke Neil Gaiman, that they're so bad they broke Colin Baker, that they're so bad they broke the Second Doctor, that they get verbally demolished by the Daleks and everybody loves it, that David Banks is a fucking terrible actor who would have single handedly ruined an entire decade of Simmbermen if not for the fact that Eric Saward is a fucking terrible writer who single handedly ruined an entire decade of Simmbermen (and Doctor Who, for that matter), that they're not as compelling as a well prepared meal, that they got their brains fried by their own data by the Canon Eleventh Doctor, that they make Matt Smith's acting even worse somehow, that the show never manages to play up the psychological, existential or body horror of their core concept and instead wastes them on terribly written, terribly choreographed, and terribly shot action scenes, that Mondas was a terrible idea with a terrible name, that every retcon to Mondas has been terrible itself, that each writer who works with them is convinced that only he can fix them, that each attempt at fixing the Simmbermen causes its own headaches that need to be fixed, that they suck at chess... These criticisms are hard to refute, it must be conceded.
To be fair, their biggest crime is that they have a lot of potential as a concept and it's never fucking used, because most new writers for the show don't understand them and would rather either make up new monsters or write the Master or write the Daleks, which are all generally more fame-grabbing options, and also because to embrace the full potential of the Cybermen would imply going in a direction that would upset mainstream media watchdogs everywhere in the UK. Most contemportary media watchdogs in the UK identify as members of the Labour Party. This is especially important because he way that the BBC works is that if Conservatives like Mary Whitehouse say it's not suitable for the children, they just keep it up, but if members of the Labour Party say it's not suitable for the children, the BBC will completely concede entirely.
Well....forget what I wrote above, because at least half of this epic potential was used in World Enough and Time; while not perfect, it's a definite improvement over the vast majority of their appearances! Thanks Moffat! :D