Thursday, April 2, 2009
(...but not THE Rescue - that comes later.)
So we finally reach the end of the first of many Dalek epics, and it's about time, too. I've enjoyed the story as a whole, but there's not much reason for it to span seven episodes. Perhaps an interesting subplot featuring the Doctor would have made the time pass a little more easily. And the fact that I have to suggest even a subplot for the lead character of a television programme goes to show how different the focus was on The Doctor back in the early days. It may have been because of William Hartnell's age affecting how many vigorous scenes he could partake in, or his inability to remember pages of script. It may have also been to enhance the mystery of the character. By not having as many scenes with The Doctor, you needn't delve into his back story much.
Personally, I blame Susan. Carole Ann Ford portrays The Doctor's grand-daughter quite well, but the character is just a naive teen-aged girl at this point, and it would be irresponsible for The Doctor to not protect her at all times. Thus, since Susan can't be depended on to do much and must be relegated to the sidelines, and The Doctor must keep her safe, then The Doctor must remain on the sidelines, too. Thankfully, the character of Susan develops a bit in the coming episodes to alleviate The Doctor of his paternal duties, but in The Daleks, it hasn't happened yet.
Thankfully, the increasingly dependable Ian is there to save the day. Once again, the Thal/Ian and Barbara expedition captures the bulk of the screen time in this episode. Interestingly, the cliffhanger ending of the last episode is resolved rather darkly. As you'll recall, The Ordeal ended with Antodus hanging off a cliff (tee hee), with his weight threatening to pull both he and Ian down into the crevasse below. How are they going to get out of this one, you may ask? Well, they don't really - Antodus has to sacrifice himself by cutting the rope, and he falls to his death. In most cliffhangers in the show's history, death is averted, so Antodus's demise comes as a bit of a shock, and it further shows how remarkably adult the show was in its early days. (It's also worth noting that in the cinema adaptation Doctor Who and the Daleks, Antodus somehow manages to survive the fall.)
At the end, The Daleks are defeated, only to return time and time again, with better weaponry. The guns must have been the first thing altered by the Daleks after this adventure. At one point during the final battle between the Thals and the Daleks, a Thal is shot point black by a Dalek, but still manages to pull himself off the floor and keep fighting - remarkable!
All in all, The Daleks is an interesting viewing experience if only because of the historical value. The viewership almost doubled over the course of the seven episodes, virtually assuring the epic run that the show would enjoy throughout the years to come.
Posted by Steven at 8:28 AM