Sunday, June 30, 2013

TV Series Review: Doctor Who (The Daleks)

Continuing along with my First Doctor watch I'm now on the second serial of the series, The Daleks and I was surprised how early on they were introduced, for some reason I had always assumed that they came later. But nope and, looking at the list of episodes, it appears that they pop up at least once more in even the first season, although my inner cynic wonders if they did that partially to recycle props. Speaking of which, like I said before I don't see much point in devoting an entire section to talking about how a 50 year old tv show looks so briefly, there are a few spots in the very first episode (out of seven, this is a long one) where I think something happened to the film and all the settings and costumes look hideously cheap but if you're going to watch Doctor Who, especially these early episodes, this is to be expected.

Doctor Who: The Daleks

Summary: After escaping the cavemen it's clear that the Doctor still doesn't have a very good grasp on how to fly the tardis and they end up on the planet Skaro. Some of the group are curious about the nearby abandoned city but when they go exploring they find themselves trapped by strange creatures called the Daleks and end up being in a fight between daleks and the thals.

The Good: Oh good, that character development for Barbara I had been so worried about last time started coming through here, heck it's noticeable even within the course of the serial. I'm a little sad to see that she seems to be changing by growing harder and a bit less nice than she started out but, if it means less screaming than the first serial, then I'm fine with it. There's not much change in either Susan or Ian this episode, although I am starting to see some in Ian, but there was also a bit of a change in the Doctor this episode. It's clear that he'll have to start opening up to at least his granddaughter soon, and is starting to regret some of his actions and is starting to get along with Barbara. Although Doctor, were you seriously the one who gave the daleks information on how to time travel? I know you were trying to bargain but that was a terrible idea.

The Bad: So you're on the second serial of your brand new show, no idea how long it's going to be around or (probably) even what characters aside from your main four will be reoccurring later, naturally this is going to lead to some ret-conning of things that happen early on and I think that's partially what happened here. I rechecked the wikipedia page for Genesis of the Daleks and everything does match up better than I initially thought but by this point there have simply been so many dalek stories that trying to keep everything straight and chronological is daunting. For that reason I feel like this serial isn't as necessary for a fan to see as you might first think; sure it's the first appearance of the daleks but again it's not their creation and I just think there are better dalek based stories out there. Now if you want to watch the episode in order to see the characters change then it's more necessary but if you're just looking for a dalek episode to watch I say skip it.

So, if you want to watch this to see how the characters, and the show develops then by all means watch this serial, it's long but it's okay. If you just want to watch a dalek story though, ehhhhh there are better ones. I already mentioned Genesis of the DaleksRemembrance of the Daleks was also a good one (and chronologically it happens within a month of An Unearthly Child I believe) and while I'm not so fond of a lot of Nu Who dalek episodes Dalek was quite good (I want to recommend Asylum of the Daleks as well buuuut it does kind of screw up continuity by existing, there's no way the Doctor should be able to get to Skaro after the time war). Finally I'm way more amused than I should be that it only took until the second episode to bring up nuclear fallout and such, welcome to the Cold War everyone! (no not the recent episode)