Anything written by author Neil Gaiman can be recognized by his great fondness for mixing horror with whimsy — which means he is the perfect writer to tap for an episode of DOCTOR WHO. Approached by executive producer Steven Moffat to pen another episode of the beloved science fiction series, Neil hesitated at first to try to top his prior episode “The Doctor’s Wife” (a fan favorite around the globe). But when Steven proposed that he make the Cybermen scary again, Neil leapt at the chance and the end result was this week’s episode “Nightmare in Silver.”
It starts like most innocuous fairytale stories do: two young children exploring an abandoned amusement park. If only that were all it were. Under Neil’s crafty pen, an amusement park is never just an amusement park. There is the wax museum of oddities, which includes a Cyberman or two – relics from an old war. Yet in a world where there were once Cybermen, perhaps they are truly never gone.
In an episode initially seen through the eyes of children, we are then taken on two simultaneous adventures: one with The Doctor and another with Clara. The Doctor has his own war to wage against the Cyberman and when faced with the enemy literally inside himself, The Doctor begins a battle of wills and a fantastic game of chess with stakes so high that literally the universe is at stake. Then for Clara, after being left in charge under The Doctor’s strict instructions, it is up to her to keep the enthusiastic locales from pushing the button and collapsing the universe around them.
DOCTOR WHO gives us an adventure infused with all the proper fairytale elements, including a castle with a moat, a brave knight, a damsel in distress, and a “dragon” or two in bright shiny armor – as well as a few sneaky creatures slithering through the darkness when no one is looking. The Doctor may call them “funny insects,” but as everyone will soon see, there is nothing funny about them and they are not insects at all.
Finally, as if that were not enough to bring a fairytale to life, in the end there is a romantic proposal. Love is unexpectedly in the air all throughout this episode. Neil Gaiman did not just seek to remind everyone that Cybermen are incredibly scary when they want to be; he wanted to bring sprinkle in a little dose of love into the story. The end result is a delightful concoction of thrilling adventure. With nods to Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and a few more classics, DOCTOR WHO presents fans with another breathless episode.
So be sure to tune in for the “Nightmare in Silver” episode of DOCTOR WHO this Saturday, May 11th at 8:00 p.m. on BBC America – and buckle up for a wild ride!
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