Monday, July 30, 2012

Why No Reviews For The Modern Dalek Shows?
              I have to admit that I've really only been deeply involved in Doctor Who for less than a year now. But as with most things,when I first become interested in anything I immerse myself very heavily into it. So far I concentrated primarily on the classic Doctor Who episodes from 1963 through 1989 in terms of this blog.

        Because I have only explored the ninth doctor episodes involving Christopher Eccleston,I felt it would be wise to wait until next year at some point to have a "Dalek week" at which time I'd concentrate on the Dalek episodes of the current version of Doctor Who I've just recently began getting into. What's next up on the agenda for this blog? Well all you have to do is guess which actor who played the doctor is having a birthday in the coming month.
Doctor Who-Remembrance Of The Daleks
                    By the time 1988 rolled around Doctor Who was basically on it's last legs. Today a lot of people agree that the program had begun to steadily improve during the second series of Sylvester McCoy's tenure as the seventh doctor with Sophie Aldred as companion Ace. But no writer or producer could turn the tide of public opinion. So it was up to producer John Nathan Turner to try to bring some enthusiasm back to the show as he'd been looking to do most of the 1980's. Considering the decades penchant for cultural nostalgia that seemed like a good way to go for this new serial. So not only were the stalwart villain the Daleks bought back into the series, but there was also a return to an all too familiar setting.

                      The TARDIS arrives on Earth near Totters Lane junk yard,not too far from where the first doctor had originally departed,a few days after he'd done so in the year 1963. They find the military converging on a magnetic disturbance. The troops are attacked by an unknown assailant who turns out to be a grey Dalek. Turns out the Daleks have come to Earth to find the Doctors Hand Of Omega,the time lords key to space time travel. The Daleks are controlling a local fascist group in order to secure this. The doctor decides to "bury the past" at a very unusual funereal ceremony.  A Dalek vessel is dispatched to Earth to locate these Dalek renegades to their Emperor who is Davros seeking the Omega Device. After a cat and mouse game the Dalek mother ship is destroyed and the threat diminished.

                     Even though this represents the final Dalek story of Doctor Who's original 23 year run, there was also another undercurrent  in this story. The Daleks have an extremely fascist attitude towards other races. On the other hand,Ace's disgust at a "No Coloureds" sign she sees in a window is an important reminder of an unfortunate tendency humans and Daleks seem to have in common during this time period. There's also a little reference to the well documented self promotion of John Nathan turner as,upon Ace leaving the room in the same scene,the theme for the William Hartnell era 'Doctor Who' is seen on a television set behind her. Not only is this a good example of the quirky wit of this program,never above breaking the fourth wall but an excellent send off to the Daleks for the classic series.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Doctor Who-Revelation Of The Daleks
                         Colin Baker's tenure as the sixth doctor would be the shortest lived of the classic series,with only seven proper serials before the series was actually (and luckily temporarily) cancelled. Considering the bad reputation the program was getting at the BBC during 1985 from all sides,from censors to the public itself,it was lucky Doctor Who survived through it at all. Fact is,Colin Baker was scapegoated in terms of being an easy target for why the series was failing. None of the writers and producers at the time were willing to accept any blame for this as they scrambled to retool the show to go over better with the public. Again writer Eric Seward came to the conclusion that the best way to handle this would be to haul forth one of Doctor Who's most reliable old standbys,the Daleks as inspiration for a new serial to try to revive interest.

                     The Doctor and Peri are on the planet Necros where the doctor is planning to contact a scientist acquaintance of his. While there they are attacked by a mutant creature Peri is forced to kill to save the doctor. Then they discover a mysterious stone statue of himself that falls and almost kills him. This all turns out to be related to strange goings on at a fanciful looking funereal home called Tranquil Repose,whose egoist director Jobel and his staff have been putting the dead into suspended animation. Once the curious Doctor and Peri enter the facility they meet up with Natasha and Grigory,who have become suspicious when they find one of the suspended animation capsule that the the man both them and the Doctor were there to see was empty. Soon they discover the man they are looking for,partially transformed into a Dalek. Turns out that the funereal home has come under the control of the Great Healer who turns out to be none other than Davros,to whom Jobel has become something of a pawn.
                 They are all informed the brains of the deceased are being used to create new Dalek mutants. This creates discord and violence among the already tense and sometimes traitorous staff who begin battling each other. Meanwhile the Doctor and Peri are led by Jobel to meet a DJ with an American accent,whose been playing songs and informing those in hibernation of current events while privately reflecting that cures for their ailments were developed years before,due to him reminding Peri of her home. Turns out the DJ himself wishes to liberate the deceased from the Great Healer from the inside. During this time the Doctor asks Peri to return to the TARDIS to hail the planetary president,en route to Necros with the body of the first lady of Davros' plan. The DJ offers his own equipment to make the transmission which is intercepted by Davros who then kills the DJ and captures Peri. In the end Dalek factions loyal to the Dalek supreme and to Davros battle it out. The grey Daleks,loyal to Skaro win and return take Davros to his home planet to stand trial. However in addition to the DJ Jobel's own deceptions have resulted in his death as well.

            This serial is one of the most complex and elaborately written Dalek stories ever. For all intents and purposes Davros has become something of a carnivorous character,in desperation doing so far as to use the brains of the dead to create new Dalek mutants. A lot of the action also revolves around the vain and pompous Jobel, who meets with an unfortunate end do to his own personally conniving ways. One of those most intriguing characters here is the unnamed DJ character. Existing in a warped psychedelic world of sped up oldies and hip Murry The K like lingo he reinforces the concept of the DJ on Earth as an implicit force for social activism,often delivering important messages throughout the story in code. Even before Peri meets up with him,it's easy to become sympathetic with the character you want to be the good guy. And he is. Even perfectly willing to die for the cause. Because the show was temporarily cancelled however,the final scene was clipped off because it referenced an already written episode that would not be produced. But even though the sixth doctor era was about to end,Doctor Who was not over and neither were the Daleks.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Doctor Who-Resurrection Of The Daleks
                   By the time this serial was produced Peter Davison had already announced his departure from Doctor Who. At the same time Davison himself pointed out he didn't feel he could leave the show without facing down his greatest adversaries the Daleks at least once. That was something the fifth doctor had not yet done. At the same time there would only be two more serials to feature the fifth doctor after this anyway. And in between that time there'd be a a couple departures and one new addition to the cast. In this serial the first of these departures occurred with Janet Fielding's Tegan at the conclusion of this serial.

                   The TARDIS sets down in a London alley where a group of futuristic people are being pursued by a police force led by one Commander Lytton. He than transports to a prison space station whose sole occupant is Davros himself. He is in the process of being revived by the Daleks who lost their war with the Movellans. And they are attempting clone the doctor,his companions and any humans involved to join their cause. From this point on it's one blood bath after another involving the Daleks,running in and out of the time corridor that bought the TARDIS there until the Daleks are again defeated. Only having to play witness to these events,a traumatized Tegan elects to leave the TARDIS crew being weary of the mass death she'd witnessed.

                     This serial is probably the most violent and gruesome of the classic series Dalek stories. More than half the characters in the beginning parts of the serial are dead and lethally injured by the time the serial comes to a completion. It was probably this intense level of violence that led many to complain of Doctor Who becoming too violent for it's family audience. There are some excellent scenes,especially where the Doctor tries yet another time to reason with Davros about the futility of his mission. As well as Tegan's emotionally charged farewell. In the end this serial would somewhat set the tone for the more aggressive nature of the next doctors stories.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Doctor Who-Destiny Of The Daleks
                      It had been five years since there had been any Dalek based stories on Doctor Who. The Tom Baker era of the program had developed it's own distinctive flavor,more oriented around gothic horror type plot lines than a lot of overt science fiction. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the program was so successful during this time. On the other hand the season long 'Key To Time' series of serials proved that more purely science fiction plotlines in Tom Baker era Doctor Who could definitely work extremely well. This was also a regeneration story. Not of the doctor but of his time lady assistant Romana. From this point on that character would be played by Lalah Ward,whose close relationship with the Doctor would spill over into their personal lives as well.

                       The serial starts with the doctor attempting to repair a damaged K-9 while Romana regenerates into the form of Princess Astra from the previous set of serials. The TARDIS lands on a rocky,radioactive planet that is soon understood to be Skaro. While trying to explore the area,Romana and the doctor are separated at which time she finds herself menaced by a pair of Daleks. The doctor meanwhile is rescued by a group of silver haired humanoids called Movellans,whose apparent mission to defeat their enemy Daleks is at first somewhat appealing to the Doctor. Meanwhile the Daleks are attempting to revive Davros,now in suspended animation to help fight this battle. The Doctor soon learns the Movellans are in fact ful androids bent on total destruction of the Daleks at all costs. In the end,Davros is placed back into cryogenic sleep again and sent to Earth to stand trial for his crimes. But not until the Doctor leaves the logic bound Movellans with a little lesson about the fate of those who makes mistakes in war.

                     While a somewhat quirky anti war story for sure,this serial introduces an unusual new wrinkle into Doctor Who. We're never sure if the Movellans are a hindrance or an asset. Especially as they often behave no better than the Daleks,often worse. On the other hand a hats off to the wardrobe department whose glittery suits,silver braids and platform shoes gave the Movellans a funky late 70's look rather like a race of alien robot Rick James clones. In her first appearance Lalah Ward makes an excellent first impression as Romana. She comes off as elegant,intelligent and highly observant. While definitely a serious episode in terms of it's content,it does showcase some of the humor that would define this season of the fourth doctor. This is showcased strongly in a rock/paper/scissors game the doctor plays with the Movellans to show them the futility of war time aggression. While it's mixture of quirkiness,wit and sociopolitical commentary this is a very compelling final Dalek story for the Tom Baker era.
Doctor Who-Genesis Of The Daleks
          Since their introduction over a decade before this particular serial was made the Daleks were presented by and large as a catalyst for the Doctor to interact with other characters,usually another race the Daleks were exploiting. Their history had not been fully explored since they were first introduced. Though the Thals and the planet Skaro had in fact been part of other Dalek related serials before,there were still a lot of questions that fans of the program probably had. How exactly had the Kaleds evolved into the Daleks? Why was it allowed to happen? And was their a single focal point,either a group or individual,who were directly involved with their creation. Well the fourth doctor,Sarah Janes and Harry Sullivan had by this point proved themselves already one of the most popular doctor/companion combinations that Terry Nation almost outdid himself by providing this-the first and probably most compelling and provocative Dalek stories of the Tom Baker era.

         The Doctor,Sarah and Harry are sent sans the TARDIS to Skaro during their thousand years war by the time lords in order to discover a way to keep the highly destructive Daleks from coming into existence. Given a time ring as the only means of returning the TARDIS crew find themselves in the middle of a poison gas attack and dragged into the Kaled dome,with the exception of Sarah. The Kaleds are planning a massive offensive against their enemies the Thals,the Kaleds viewing themselves as the superior race. They confiscate the time ring. The doctor also meets up with a Kaled mutant calling himself Davros,who is in large of developing this last offensive. It comes in the form a mechanical hybrid of Kaled mutants he calls...Daleks. And in an attempt to recapture it the doctor is placed under arrest and questioned by a Kaled scientist. This scientist himself understands the Daleks are a dreadful and terrible weapon and for helping the doctor escape he himself is killed by orders of Davros.

        Meanwhile Sarah has befriended a group of Mutos,mutated Kaleds and Thals who have learned of a final massive strike on the part of the Thals against the Kaleds that would wipe out their dome. The doctor meanwhile is in the midst of a three prong conflict. First the one was Davros,who openly shows no compunction for wiping out a species in any manner necessary to suit his need for absolute power,his manipulative Security Commander Nyder who presses himself to divide and conquer anyone around him and his main mission. He is in fact given one opportunity to bomb the Dalek lab. But ethically he is troubled by the possibility of himself committing what amounts to an act of racial genocide. In the end of the story the Kaled dome is destroyed,even with Sarah and the Mutos best efforts to stop the attack. And even though they essentially failed in their mission,they do relocate the time ring and  it's made clear that the doctor feels a completely clean conscience in his decision.

          This is probably the most well rounded and morally complex Dalek story ever written. This is the one moment where the doctor is given the opportunity,in one famous scene,to destroy the Daleks before they come to exist with a mere simple bomb. His contention that many species throughout the universe would unite together in peace in defience of the Daleks seems very much motivated by his knowledge that Davros (and many of his Kaled supporters) have become such megalomaniacs they no longer place any value in life aside from themselves. You also see the divisions within the Kaleds,which is very much parallel to the real life gap between scientists and militarists. The Kaled scientists are mostly concerned Davros has gone too far in his creating the emotionless Daleks and unite against him after a time. We are also left to wonder if,though the doctor didn't succeed 100% in his mission by the time lords if he at least changed history enough so the Thals and Kaleds had something important to think about. An very well written and socially aware story.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Doctor Who-Death To The Daleks
                         Since their initial conception in 1963,the Daleks were depicted as a nemesis who,while always defeated in some way,presented a great challenge to the Doctor in order to do so. Being half living and half machine they didn't really seem to have any made to order liabilities that could be used against them in any permanent sense. A lot had changed since the third doctor first encountered them a couple seasons earlier. By this time he had his TARDIS back in working order,such as it was. He also had Sarah Jane Smith as his companion/assistant. It wouldn't be long before she'd become a major character asset to the show. And the pair provided in this serial a Dalek story that was just somewhat left of center to what had gone before.

                           On their way to a resort planet for a vacation the Doctor and Sarah Jane find the TARDIS's power sources all completely drained. They are on a planet called Exxilon,an almost arid planet populated by clocked,seemingly primitive humanoids. After splitting up and being taken captive the Doctor soon meets an Earth expedition looking for a mineral used to treat a pandemic in their colonies that is plentiful on Exxilon. But when a ship arrives they believe is a relief vessel to join them,it's actually a group of Daleks seeking the same mineral. However the same source that's drained power from the expedition and the TARDIS has done the same to the Daleks. And the Doctor is forced to forge an awkward alliance with them in order to find a solution to their problem.

                        The Doctor,the Earth team and the Daleks find Sarah Jane about to be sacrificed by the Exxilon,though pretty soon the doctor is too. After engineering an escape it's realized Commander Galloway who leads the Earth expedition is being co opted by his own ego to use the Daleks to secure the Exxilon as a slave labor force to mine the needed mineral in exchange for his own personal needs. After being menaced by a giant electronic root,the Doctor and Sarah meet up with an alien named Bellall. 
He explains to the pair that the unusual city Sarah encountered upon arrival was a sentient construct able to protect itself like any life form. And it projected a beacon that dulled all external power sources. 

                   The Doctor and Ballell enter this city to destroy the beacon and manage to do so after following a series of intelligence tests set up by it's computer brain. The Daleks,thinking they have outsmarted everyone leave the planet with what they think is their supply of the mineral. The humans tricked them,replaced the mineral with bags of sand and Commander Galloway,in an effort to redeem himself destroys the Dalek ship. With the humans with the minerals they need and the power to their ship and the TARDIS restored,all they can now do is watch the destruction of the Exxilon city which even the Doctor acknowledges as one of the 700 wonders of the universe.

                  This is a very excellent episodes,with a lot of twists and turns of plot surrounding the concepts of power over consumption. In this episode the usually invincible Daleks are almost completely vulnerable,often times failing at simple tasks they'd have once been invincible in dealing with. Also all power sentient structures fail,power mad leaders fail. Usually in cases like these the Doctor ends up showing them the error of their ways in order to defeat them. In this story their own failings of ego do themselves in even better. It's a rather complex story,in particular all of the parlor games and puzzles the Doctor and Ballal must solve to get to the brain of the sentient Exxilon city. Even though the Dalek's aren't as significant a plot point in this as other stories,it's one of the few that points out their vulnerabilities as opposed to their seemingly indomitable nature.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Doctor Who-Dalek War
                         In terms of DVD releases it's cases such as this where the continuity of Doctor Who gets somewhat murky. This set actually encompasses two separate third doctor era serials. Both are related to the other to a degree. But it is treated as one epic 12 part serial here because there is one connecting thread between the two of them. And that's the Daleks. In their last appearance on Doctor Who they were shown trying to manipulate peace on the planet Earth to their own advantage. But it had been quite awhile since we'd seen the Daleks matched up with their original adversaries the Thals. This also marked the every important first collaboration between the Daleks and the doctors other nemesis The Master. As such,this marks Robert Delgado's final appearance in the role he originated. Since these are actually two separate stories,I'll describe them as such.

                           In 'Frontier In Space' the TARDIS materializes inside a 26'th century Earth cargo ship in the middle of a very unpleasant situation. There is a conflict arising between Earth and a race called the Draconians. Both parties are perceiving that the other party is attacking them. Each time the doctor and Jo Grant appear to be the most likely culprits in elevating this conflict and are taken prisoner by humans. This eventually leads the doctor and Jo to be separated when he is sent to a penal colony for political prisoners upon learning the attacking Draconians are actually Ogorons using a hypnotic device to appear that way,in order to assure the conflict. Upon jury rigging an escape from the prison the Doctor learns the entire affair was orchestrated by The Master,who is trying to capture his opposing time lord to curry favor with those on Gallifrey. He is assisted not only by Ogorons but new companions the Daleks. During a conflict with them the Doctor is severely injured during the ensuing conflict with the Master. Before he loses consciousness he manages to send a message to his people about what is happening.

                     In 'Planet of The Daleks', Jo finds herself nursing an unconscious Doctor as the TARDIS is sent,apparently by the time lords to this jungle planet where Jo only finds plants that emit a sap like spray. Upon being hit by some of this she soon finds herself covered with a yellow fungus. And it's growing. After locating another derelict space craft further along she finds two humanoids who soon reveal themselves to be Thals.  They manage to find the Doctor,revive him and despite being skeptical of him being a now legendary figure in Thal lore,they explain the situation at hand. The planet is apparently called Spideron,where the natives are mostly sentient plant life. Including one who have the ability to make themselves invisible. The Spiderons themselves are being manipulated by the Daleks into helping them produce this. So the Thals, with advice and help from the Doctor and Joe manage to thrawt the Daleks operation against them with the Doctor again leaving the Thals with the message not to glamorize these events to others,and therefore war itself.

                Together these stories are an elaborate set of events that does form a strong epic flavor to them. Particularly in the final six part serial. The doctor helps the Thals to understand the importance of tactical cunning and the occasional necessity of armed conflict with the Daleks,who are again up to their usual heartless and amoral tricks as they attempt to exploit the abilities of the Spideron. Jo Grant,known for getting herself and the doctor in trouble by leaping before she looks,seems to have little choice in the matter in this episode due to the Doctor being incapacitated in the beginning. So this sometimes irksome quality of this character is perfectly justified here. Of course this would not be the last time the third doctor would encounter the Daleks before the end of his run. He only did so because,after all he spent a large part of this particular regeneration confined to Earth. But that's another story.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Doctor Who-Day Of The Daleks
                   Something changed about Doctor Who when Jon Pertwee took over the title role. The entire personality of the show changed,and it became quite a bit more popular. One of the things that defined this new and improved Doctor Who was not only that it was transmitted in color. But that the serials now emphasized it's sociopolitical themes a lot more strongly. Especially when the third doctor was confined to Earth working as the scientific adviser to UNIT HQ and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Therefore Terry Nation had a lot to worth with on this episode,which would be the first Dalek story for the third doctor. Historically this would also be the first time us in the audience would be seeing the Daleks in color so there was a lot to be excited about.

                  There's a vital peace conference occurring in the United Nations to prevent a third world war,which would use nuclear weapons. The doctor,Jo Grant and UNIT are called in when Stiles,a key delegate begins talking of ghosts at the country house where the conference is to be held. After staying the night to investigate the Doctor and Jo find themselves the captive of a group of guerrilla soldiers possessing a rudimentary time travel device and weapons from two centuries in Earth future. In a botched escape from them and menacing alien henchmen called Ogorons,Jo Grant winds up in the 22'nd century and it isn't long before the Doctor is disposed to go located her.

                Upon arriving he discovers that in the future,humanity has been enslaved by the Daleks,forced to work as slave labor for them aside from a select group of privileged human collaborators. They at first insist the guerrilla army that captured them were a deviant subgroup,when it turns out they are freedom fighters attempting to save humanity from the Daleks rule. Upon escaping with Joe and the help of sympathetic humans they learn that the Daleks were able to invade Earth easily after a war that ensued following Stiles' apparently failed peace conference. Upon returning to the 20'th century to set things right,the Doctor learns it's the freedom fighters who have created a paradox;that there time frame was created by their own botched attempt to save the conference. Luckily the doctor managed to get everyone out of the building and the conference back on track.

                True seeing the Daleks in color,especially the vivid mustard gold one is quite spectacular. In this episode Terry Nation also gives the Daleks a more living and complex flavor as well. Obviously always compared obviously to Nazi Germany in their goals and manner,the Daleks in this story behave more like very conscious soldiers of a totalitarian regime than unfeeling and partly robotic villains. With the collaborator relationship between the humans and Daleks in the future, the link between the Daleks and it's origins in despotic human behavior is cemented. This story has a lot of excellent action-adventure sequences with the Doctors Judo abilities and the confrontations between UNIT soldiers and Ogoron troops. But more over the plot of the serial more heavily emphasizes that strong political flavor of third doctor era Doctor Who. And considering the heated events on the real world stage at this point it couldn't have been more appropriate. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

                            Doctor Who-Three Lost Dalek Stories
                          As many classic Whovians and Wholigans are aware,three classic series era Dalek serials are part of a collection of episodes missing due to the old BBC policy of recycling old video tapes. Therefore I have never had the privilege of seeing any of these serials needless to say. Nor has anyone else. But the original audio still exists for them all. And via YouTube many fans of the program have mixed still photographs and some of their own animations to recreated parts of these lost serials. It's a labor of love for sure. And I can only hope these three episodes will resurface somewhere and people cans see them as originally intended.

                         The first of these is the final William Hartnell Dalek story "The Daleks Master Plan". At a whopping 12 parts,this is the longest Doctor Who serial along with 'The War Games'  four years later.  Only three episodes of these serials-parts 2,5 and 10 are currently known to have survived. There's of course the late 1966 second doctor regeneration story 'The Power Of The Daleks'. This also introduces new companion Victoria. Due to the second doctor stories being the hardest hit in terms of missing episodes,this entire serial remains missing. The only other second doctor Dalek story 'The Evil Of The Daleks' fared only slightly better,with only the second part of the serial still being available.

                            I am sure there are better and more thorough fan reconstructions of these episodes. But I felt the ones you see here,constructed from some surviving footage,audio and in most cases still pictures will do the trick for now. Happily every Dalek story from the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who onward have survived intact and,as of August 10'th,2012 will all be available on DVD world wide. I am hoping one day,as was the case with the once legendary lost episode 'The Tomb Of The Cybermen' in 1991 that the three missing 60's era Dalek stories will be recovered in full for future generations to see.
Doctor Who-The Chase
                             For anyone keeping score there were several first and second Doctor stories involving the Daleks that did not survive. This by the way is one of only three first doctor era stories involving the Daleks that has survived. Where at first the Daleks were probably considered as little more than bit characters for their debut,they quickly evolved into characters around whom rather epic stories were built around. This was one such story. In fact it was even quite a bit grander in scope than the previous Dalek story. Also as with the previous story this is an important historical story in the sense it also presents an exit for companions,in this case Ian and Barbara. 

                             In the beginning the doctor is trying to perfect a time-space viewer,sort of a television into history. After viewing into the doings of Abraham Lincoln and Shakespeare,Barbara catches notice of a group of Daleks on the prowl. The TARDIS had arrived in a mysterious desert planet and is now the "enemy time machine" to the Daleks. When Ian and Vicki go to investigate an underground tunnel they are menaced by creatures called Mire beasts. They have basically enslaved the humanoid natives called the Aridians,helpless creatures who soon come under orders from the Daleks as well to hand the doctor and his companions over to them as prisoners in return for the Aridian's safety from the Mire beasts. 

                                  After managing to escape to the TARDIS a chase through time ensues. First to mid 1960's New York where both the TARDIS crew and the Daleks confuse a befuddled tourist. After this a journey to what turns out to be a mid 1990's haunted house even the doctor believes is real. And from there, Barbara is almost taken in as a stowaway on the ill fated sailing ship Mary Celeste. The end up on the planet Mechanus and,after being menaced by giant fungi find themselves prisoners of the Mechanoids,spheroid robots who according to fellow prisoner Steven Taylor were sent by Earth to excavate the planet for human colonization. In the end the Mechanoids fight a losing battle with the Daleks,on both ends and while Taylor makes a noble sacrifice the doctor and his companions find themselves in possession of the Dalek's TARDIS. Ian and Barbara cease an opportunity to use it to return them home,much to the Doctors reluctance. In the end he and Vicki are sent out to wander time and space together.

                                   This represents some important firsts for Doctor Who. As presented in this six part serial,the Daleks are depicted as cunning and manipulative as well as hostile,even going so far as to fashion a robot Doctor who winds up dueling with the real one to his own end. They are not above using clever tricks to get their way in these episodes. The departure of Ian and Barbara at first has a different and profound effect on the Doctor than Susan Foreman's exit a year earlier. The Doctor is quite vocally disappointed at their wishes to depart him and needs prodding to help them do so. Upon viewing their return the Doctor,usually portrayed in this incarnation as mildly self involved,actually shows strong emotional attachment towards Ian and Barbara,vocally claiming to "miss them". Overall this serial represents an important evolutionary step in the series and the lead character himself

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Doctor Who-The Dalek Invasion Of Earth
             With Doctor Who in the beginning of it's second series in 1964,it was felt there was a time for a change in the flow of the series. In the beginning the first Doctor's companions reflected the theme of the show as educational programming: two teachers and a (seemingly) teenage girl. But the nature of the program was changing. The settings for the stories were becoming more diverse and less set around historical themed serials or ones that were set in a future time. With the creation of the Daleks,and the concept the Doctor was not the only creature in the universe capable of space/time travel the program was on the verge of deeply broadening it's storytelling range. Further more this episode would wind up being the first ever farewell story for one of the Doctor's companions and perhaps the most pointed one at that.

             Upon the TARDIS arriving in London Ian and Barbara believe they have returned home. After some sleuthing on the part of Ian and the Doctor,it's found that this London is a wasteland in the mid 22'nd century. Earth has been invaded and the few humans left are planning a revolt,with others have been transformed into zombie like Robomen. It isn't long after this that the reason for all this chaos is found: a group of time travelling Daleks have invaded the Earth. It's up to the Doctor,his companions and the few remaining humans to keep the Daleks from bringing down re-enforcements and quell the infestation of the Robomen. In the meantime Susan has become smitten with one of the humans. And while in the end the Doctor successfully stops the Daleks invasion,he deliberately locks Susan out of the TARDIS,to allow her to grow and continue her adult romance with her human companion.

                It's this episode that concludes with the first doctors famous "Yes I shall come back" speech to Susan. It's a coming of age story for her character,as she is no longer as clingy to her grandfather and develops another type of relationship on her own. So on that front,again the soulless,aggressive Daleks create a set of circumstances that lead inevitably to Susan's departure. Not only does it allow her to have her independent love interest (the first time the idea of romance was strongly emphasized in the program) but the Dalek's planned conquest of Earth and it's view of the human race as utterly worthless on it's own strengthens that state of independence for Susan. With it's epic scope,compelling camera work and location shooting as well as that whole coming of age concept make this one of the major triumphs of the first doctor era serials.

Doctor Who-The Daleks

                             Following the very first Doctor Who serial,the program was perceived as educationally oriented with families in mind;something intelligent for adults and providing a lot to grow on for children. Because it's themes were based in history and science, it seemed almost impossible to be able to introduce any type of villainous characters to the show. For one that would've adopted the perceived cliche of B-movie type "rubber monsters" interfering with the programs more intelligent qualities. This posed a challenge to the shows writers and and producers to come up with an adversary for the doctor and his companions that provided as much insight as they did a genuine threat. Thus came the introduction of the Daleks.

                        Picking up where the debut serial left off the doctor, Ian,Barbara and Susan find themselves trapped on a planet high in radiation.  Using the ruse of the TARDIS's need for Mercury as a ruse to explore this planet they find a domed city and evidence of an atomic war. While exploring this city Barbara is the first to be tormented by an army tank like creature referring to itself as a Dalek. While off to the TARDIS to retrieve anti radiation drugs Susan encounters the Thals,a now pacifist race who had once fought a war with the people who eventually evolved into the Daleks. Upon meeting up with Ian,Barbara and the doctor it is Ian who convinces the Thals to set aside their pacifist ways to help defeat the cold blooded and merciless Daleks.

                          The completely militaristic Daleks are ideal adversaries for the doctor. And although they were primarily to have been for the first doctor,they remain the central villain of the program to this day. Why? Aside from their distinction,the Daleks provide an opening for many important sociopolitical points to be made. Ian,while describing the bigotry between the Thals and Daleks as "the dislike of the unlike" is also quick to remind the Thals that,as it was during the very real WWII,there are times when aggressive action is needed to thrawt an enemy that knows no compassion or mercy. As TV science fiction first notable hybrid of the biological and technological the Daleks provide the other characters a window into their own morality. Not to mention the Doctors own questionable act of endangering his companions for the sake of exploration. These factors alone make this a key part of the early years of Doctor Who.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dalek Month On Tardisriffic
                                        For many years one of the only things I knew about Doctor Who had to do with the Daleks. Even though I did not know them by name,they are one of science fiction's most famous villianous characters next to Darth Vader or the Borg on Star Trek. Introduced in the second serial of the series at the end of 1963 the Daleks introduced something very new to the world of televised sci fi: the concept of the merging of the biological and the technological. It would be massively influential as a science fiction concept for years to come.

                               Within the context of the program the Daleks backround story was as wibbly wobbly as time itself. Created on the planet Skaro after a milennia long war between the Thals and the Dalek's father race the Kaleds they were designed to be the idea soldier. A solider that would only kill or "EXTER-MIN-ATE" anyone who wasn't a Dalek. One orgin story had the Daleks created by a Doctor Mengele like figure named Davros,who created the Daleks to satisfy his on meglomania.  The Daleks,in the words of the Ninth Doctor are the ultimate vision of racial supremacy. And at a time when between Nazi Germany and the Cold War, that concept of the ultimate wielding of power was a very powerful one.

                                  This month I am going to be doing reviews of all the Doctor Who stories concerning the Daleks that I have seen. Important to note I am not fully versed on the relaunced series. And a lot of classic Dalek episodes from the first and second doctors era are missing along with many others. But that is going to be an overriding theme here on my Doctor Who blog this particular month. I also invite all readers to join this blog,subscribe and comment. I thought by concerning this month of blogging with one of Doctor Who's most famous elements it might give it a better chance at getting attention. Not to mention my own interest as well.