Thursday, January 1, 2015

Death to the Daleks - "Human prisoner has escaped. I have failed. Self Destruct!"

BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Death to the Daleks - Details

Season 10, Story 4 (Overall Series Story #68) | Previous - Next | Index

This bit -- when the Doctor is solving a maze puzzle (Children's Level - Easy) posed by the living city on the planet Exxilon, and very near the end announces, "Yes I think we've got it," long after the path to the end of the maze is clearly in sight -- encapsulates the experience of watching Terry Nation recycle his previous stories with apparent indifference to anything like crafting an interesting narrative. Yep, it's got Daleks in it, so if that's a reason to watch a story, then you can justify it; but, if any story in Season 11 feels like it's running out the string, it's this one. (And the oft-maligned "Monster of Peladon" came next, so that's really saying something.)

How in the world was "Planet of the Daleks" not a clear enough signal to the producers that Terry Nation needed a new idea transfusion before being allowed near the series again? And yet, despite the ample evidence that he would deliver six episodes of drudgery and self-loathing Daleks unfit to scare even the most delicate of children into seeking cover behind a sofa, here he is again beating the same old drum.

The dads (in the 'skimpy-outfits-on-companions-are-there-for-the-dads' context) must've been crushed that Sarah elected to quickly find garb more suitable to the climate than her tastefully conservative swimwear. We can grudgingly, perhaps, admit this was the right thing for the character to do, but it leaves the remainder of the story absent anything like a thrill.

Well, at least we know next time out the history of the Daleks will be revised/enhanced to include Davros and some of these sins will be atoned for. It's worth imagining what Pertwee might have done had Nation delivered "Genesis of the Daleks" for him, how he would've played the scene with the two wires wondering, "Have I the right?" instead of pretending to be challenged by a maze ...

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