Thursday, September 27, 2012

Doctor Who-The Dominators
              During the late 1960's both America and England were caught up in a great deal of peace demonstrations,focused primarily on the war in Vietnam. This was beginning to effect the way many people were viewing the issues of national defense around the world. Along with that more politically driven movement there was a growing pacifist movement that called itself the Counterculture. On both sides of the pond,this led to a great deal of censorship on radio and television. Songs sung about this issues were carefully examined for subversive content. And on TV,the issues of war and peace were often best addressed in one way only:under the guise of science fiction. Star Trek were doing that in the US with the attitude of "It's happening on another planet so it's okay to talk about it". And while these sorts of ideas had always been explored in Doctor Who,this particular serial faced the issue had on.

           The TARDIS arrives on the planet Dulkis seeking a brief holiday but finding themselves on what turns out to be a former atomic test sight of the now pacifist Dulcian race. But Director Senex and the rest of the ruling council refuse to admit the Director's son Cully's claim that a group of robots have invaded the test island. When the doctor arrives with Jamie and Zoe,they not only confirm what Cully has been saying but that all the radiation from the test island has disappeared. While the Dulcians negotiate,the TARDIS crew goes to investigate,only to find themselves captured by the sadistic Dominators,who use radioactive materials in a storage container to supply the energy for their ships. After their escape the Dominators had  successfully captured the Dulcian council,along with Zoe and Cully as slave labor to build a drill which they plan to use to turn Dulkis into a massive radioactive lava bed to supply their ships. Upon escape it ends up being the job of Jamie,Cully and the Doctor to stop the rockets the Dominators are using in their mission. And in the end,their own weapons are used to destroy their ship and turn a planetary catastrophe into a mere volcanic eruption.

          Although there are elements to this story that,by today's standards,would be considered politically incorrect in terms of the viewpoint of defensive measures,one point is made clear. It is not the idea of pacifism that keeps the Dulcians from being able to defend themselves against the heartless and murderous Dominators. It's the fact that they consider the only true defense to be endless verbal debate and negotiations between each other. While inherently a peaceful person like the other Dominators,Cully is on the side of the TARDIS crew in terms of the best offence being a good defense. It's a little surprising though to see the Doctors delight in assembling a homemade bomb to fight the Dominators. And even the usually logical Zoe to convince the slave laboring Dulciens that the only way out of their situation is to fight. But this represents in a way real life societies struggle during the post World War II generations of what true patriotism was,and in terms of defense what was the proper stand to take. Actually mixing that up with a very real commentary on nuclear weapons testing makes this a compelling and even mildly controversial serial.
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