When the ninth Doctor encountered the last surviving Dalek in last season's aptly named "Dalek", the weight of their previous encounters was impressively tangible. Setting aside any complaints about sensitive Daleks getting in touch with their emotions, the reunion in the early stages of that episode was, for many, an event. The general consensus of opinion seems to be that it did not disappoint, either.
Sadly, I can't help but think that the return of the Cybermen won't be regarded as such a huge success. That's not to say that this episode isn't enjoyable enough, but perhaps in service to its two-part nature, it feels terribly flimsy.
The episode starts in much the same way as last season's "Boom Town"; an evil mastermind with a dastardly scheme eliminates a particularly troublesome scientist whose intent of jeopardising said scheme by revealing it to the rest of the world. It's a clichéd, unimpressive opening to an episode that should have had better. Disappointingly, the script doesn't ever really move beyond such tired clichés.
There are one or two nice touches; the idea that every member of the populace would be equipped with an ear piece which acts as both a telecommunications device and a information link is a pleasing, if terribly heavy handed, dig at today's mobile phone dependant culture. I just don't think that they'd look that silly. The alternate universe, in which Zeppelins float above London and Rose's father still exists is another nice touch, but somehow still doesn't feel at all original. It does permit the ever-impressive BBC techies to show off some more nice visual effects though.
The lack of originality is further demonstrated by Rose's desire to (once again) reach out and touch her family, and the inclusion of alternate Earth versions of characters whose personalities are polar opposites to the ones we already know - complete with CGI effects to allow the same actor to appear in the same shot twice (just like Jean-Claude Van Damme in the "classic" Double Impact). Even our friendly neighbourhood mastermind is such a deeply hackneyed character that the whole episode feels like it's just building up to the first dramatic appearance of the Cybermen.
Except, there's no drama. We've already seen them. In this day and age, it's virtually impossible to keep anything out of the eyes of the media, but when the BBC's own TV guide Radio Times features a front page picture of the new-look Cybermen, does this episode's dramatic ending actually have a chance of working?