Saturday, January 10, 2009

classic who: genesis of the daleks

Back from winter hiatus and starting in slowly! We missed a month of Classic Who, but we're back with the place all Daleks come from.

Which turns out to be pretty bland and grey and more than a little Nazi-ish. See, there's this war between the Kaleds and the Thals (who we met on that weird planet with the spitting plants), and it's been going on for centuries, using up resources and becoming more hopeless and more prinitive as it goes. The Doctor is dumped there with Sarah Jane and Harry by the Timelords who are being all pompous and imperial and telling him he needs to stop the Daleks before they happen, one way or the other. They're immediately gassed and separated, and, of course, wind up on different sides of the battle, with the Doctor and Harry helping the Thals and trying to find a way to stop Davros and Sarah-Jane taken as a POW and put to work with a mutant who might be cute except for his desperate need of a bath, who goes all sweet on her because she's pretty and he's tired of destroying anything beautiful.

There's running about, being captured and escaping, political struggles, and the usual arguement between science as a weapon and science as a tool for betterment, and the Doctor eventually gets the scientists to believe that Davros and his need to weaponize things is a bad idea. 

There were neat things here:
- the Daleks were originally invented because the Kaleds realized that they were mutating (because of the war?) and their ultimate form would need a sort of encounter suit to continue existing-- but Davros took it to the next level and 'purified' the test subjects into the Daleks we all know and hide from, free of pity and full of raging and unstoppable belief in their own superiority.
- the Doctor is faced with the necessity of offing all the Daleks while they're still being formed-- mass alien infanticide-- and he can't do it. He's paralyzed in Tom Baker's tensest moment yet by the horror of being such a destroyer. And, having watched the new series religiously, I know it won't be the last time.
- Davros makes the daleks pitiless... and then they figure out that he's flawed and too swayed by emotion and turn on him in one of those ironies that are so great on TV.
- Sarah Jane's Muto friend is sweet, always putting her safety before his, and being very brave for the people he's only just met, even when it means going against his own people, and against the resistence the Doctor drums up along the way (I just hope he gets together with the cute pixie-girl that led the resistence; that's be a sweet and openminded way to rebuild the civilization after the Daleks are distroyed-- this time).

The cheese-factor was low, and it was fun seeing Sarah-Jane climb scaffolding like a monkey and encourage the Doctor to be ruthless. Overall, a good serial, though a little slow in the beginning, and needing a coat of paint in some color other than grey on both sides.

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