Monday, May 25, 2009

V1 - The Nightmare Begins

For the first time ever, we get a Dalek story not completely bungled by the monsters' creator, Terry Nation (he only wrote half the episodes) or director Richard Martin. Instead, Dennis Spooner would write about half the episodes (although his contribution wouldn't start until the fifth installment), and the wonderful Douglas Camfield was chosen to direct this 12-part epic.

Camfield's inclusion pays off from the first shot we see of a Dalek. In a film sequence that thankfully has been recovered in recent years and returned to the BBC archives, the camera looks up past a terrified Kert Gantry and up at a Dalek, seconds before it exterminates the Space Security agent. That Dalek might as well have been staring down at every young viewer in England and scaring the pants off of them. After the travesty that was The Chase, the Daleks were back - threatening, scheming, and allying with others in their bid to take over the galaxy.

An interesting event occurs in this episode when Bret Vyon breaches the TARDIS, intent on hijacking it, but he instead gets captured and is imprisoned by The Doctor's special gravity chair (for lack of an actual name of the device). This is the first time that a non-companion has entered the TARDIS in the series' history. Just a few episodes previously, in The Time Meddler, The Doctor's TARDIS was shown to no longer be unique, and now, it's interior is no longer impermeable to outsiders as, in Season 1, even when one had the key, according to Susan, it had to be turned in just the right way or it would damage the lock forever. Bret Vyon doesn't seem to have this problem. The TARDIS is not the place of sanctuary that it once had been.

This installment actually makes me want to watch eleven more episodes of this, which is an impressive feat unto itself.


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