Tuesday, September 22, 2009

SSS1 - Planet of the Daleks 1

After the fantastic wild goose chase that was Frontier in Space, an epic set on spaceships, moons, and alien planets, we get the second half of the unofficial twelve-part story with Planet of the Daleks. Everything looks like it's shaping up to be a winner - David Maloney directing for the first time since The War Games in 1969, Terry Nation writing for the first time since 1966, and the resolution of the Dalek army plot revealed in the waning moments of Frontier in Space.

And what do we get? 25 of the most unoriginal minutes in Doctor Who history set in some of the more claustrophobic, yet overlit, sets ever seen. Nation returned to the fold to write for his treasured creations, the Daleks (you weren't expecting me to say the Voord, were you?), and it seems he hasn't happened upon one original idea since he last wrote for the show. There's your typical TARDIS scene featuring aspects of the TARDIS we would see for the first time and never again. There's a Murphy bed in the console room now. For the first and only time, The Doctor uses his last breaths of consciousness to tell Jo to record her every single thought on the TARDIS log. And since when does the TARDIS suddenly run out of oxygen? (All these incidents remind me of similar one-offs from earlier Nation episodes, like the food machine and the fluid link problem in The Daleks).

Another pair of typical Nation standbys rear their heads, too. Jo and The Doctor get separated, and there's a "shock" appearance of the Daleks at the end of Episode One. The latter standby bothers me. The Doctor knows the Daleks are on Spiridon, and he even instructs the Time Lords, telepathically, to send the TARDIS after the Dalek ship. So why he is so surprised to see them at the end of the episode? And why does Nation think he's so clever in disguising the identity of the Daleks by having the Thals go out of their way to not mention them by name. Did he not name the story Planet of the Daleks?


ChrisWDP said...

I have been looking forward to your review of Planet of the Daleks. Mainly due to see what your thoughts are on the sets. Years back I met the set designer, John Hurst. He would later return to be the set designer for the Caves of Androzani. It has been years since I've seen Planet of the Daleks, so my memory of the sets is not so great.

A side note, I've enjoyed all your reviews and give you great credit for being able to sit through all the episodes. Especially the hard to watch ones.

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