Thursday, October 15, 2009

4E1 - Genesis of the Daleks 1

With the Tom Baker/Philip Hinchcliffe era seeming like a reboot of the programme's directive, why not go back to the very beginning and hit the reset button on the history of the very monsters who launched the show into the stratosphere back in 1963? That's what Genesis of the Daleks sets out to do.

At the heart of this episode is your standard Terry Nation script. There's your usual Doctor and companions arrive on the scene, explore on their own, somehow get separated, one companion gets captured by one faction of soldiers, the other companion and The Doctor meet the other faction, and there's a shock appearance of a Dalek at the end of the episode. Check, check, check, check, check.

However, the desire to do something different on the part of outgoing producer Barry Letts, the casual indifference towards Daleks by incoming producer Philip Hinchliffe, the penchant for pushing the boundaries of horror and violence of script editor Robert Holmes, and the talented direction of David Maloney, made sure that Genesis of the Daleks was something more than your average Dalek story. And, boy, did those gentlemen succeed in making Genesis anything but average.

The opening montage of soldiers being shot in extreme slow motion is a wonderfully grim, Kubrick-esque turn from David Maloney, who revamped the opening sequence from being set in a pastoral garden to a bleak wasteland in the middle of a war zone. The effect is palpable - when The Doctor emerges from the fog to be confronted by a Time Lord offering him his a chance at destroying the Daleks, you know we're in for something special.


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