...a blog by Richard Flowers

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 3393: DOCTOR WHO: Vote Dalek


Typical BBC

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It's another REPEAT

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So these must be the Type IV travel machines, then. Drone, Scientist, Strategist, Eternal (whatever that might mean) and Supreme.

I've been putting off writing this review, using the election as an excuse and writing other, political, stuff because it turns out I've not really got a lot to say.

So let's keep this short.

It was great, like a sugar-rush, pressing all those fanboy buttons, bringing back the Daleks badder than ever, and... that's it, really.

"The Power of the Daleks" is a terrific story, focusing on teh Daleks sinister cunning as much as their deathray weaponry; Doctor Who in World War II seems so natually Who-ish that it's almost a surprise that they only did it once in the first twenty-six years of the series, and then without any Nazis; and the Naboo star-fighters attack at the end of "The Phantom Menace" is an action sequence surely in need of improvement by making it spitfires versus flying saucers.

Making a cut-and-shut episode out of these elements ought not to work... and yet it does.

Admittedly, it's more as a "sketch" of what a proper Doctor Who story involving these bits would be, a colourful splash of comic-art to storyboard what ought to have been a longer story: part one being the Daleks in the bunker, with the "yes we are the Daleks" as the cliff-hanger, and then part two aboard their spaceship. Would there have been enough material for two episodes? There barely seems enough material for the one we have here, with side plots more alluded to than developed. With more time, WRAF Office Breem's doomed boyfriend might have been more than a cursory nod, and we might have seen something to establish the RAF's space spitfires rather than just having Amy suggest, oh I know we can retrofit alien technology onto a flimsy wood and canvas airframe and it's bound to just work rather than just, oh, tear itself to bits.

And Ian McNeice is a great sketch of Churchill.

Anyway, the "new" Daleks. Available in toy stores for Christmas, I bet.

Look there's a reason why the originals were a design classic. But never mind the hunchback, iMac, rubber-toy look, Daleks should be short. Does the fact that every single one of them has a galaxy-class Napoleon Complex tell you nothing?

Taking a guess, based on what we see, the Drone is red (looks like red ones trundling around in the computer game trailer), the Scientist is blue (it's the blue one that identifies the TARDIS self destruct as actually a Jammy Dodger), and the Supreme is obviously the deep-voiced (Barry) white. It does appear that the Supreme names the orange one as the strategist and the yellow as the eternal.

But if they're going to have different functions, couldn't you have given them different appendages too?

Still, good that they are back (like they'd ever really go away).

There's a nice retcon to "Power of the Daleks", where "Victory of the Daleks" implies that the Dalek factory that we see in Pat Troughton's opening story is one of the thousands of "lost" Dalek progenitor machines, explaining how it can start churning out Daleks out of nowhere.

(Or possibly, when the Dalek says "all but one were lost" it means that the one that wasn't lost was the one in "Power..." and that this one is the lucky find, though that seems to be too much of a coincidence.)

The sad thing, of course, is that they don't have Davros on board. Surely, surely if "just one ship" was going to survive the cataclysm at the end of "Journey's End" it should have been his. Even if they just had him in a survival chamber, all burned up and frozen, waiting for them to fix him again (and thus the "new paradigm" Daleks make off with him at the end - now that would be a fun conversation to look forward to...)

Now, please just remember not to wipe every last one out again in the season finale.

Next Time...Well, after reprising the Daleks and the World War II setting of Moffat's season one story, I'm sure it's time for something original. What's that you say, the guest star of his season four story and the monster of his season three story... oh. Still, at this point Russell would have had us return to present day Earth, so at least the Crash of the Byzantium is a bit different. River Snog versus the Weeping Angels it is then, in "The Time of Angels"


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