Saturday, May 01, 2010

Doctor Who, "Victory of the Daleks": Cookie, monster

A quick review of tonight's "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as I enjoy a nice biscuit...

Perhaps because I came to the series with the Russell Davies reboot, I've never much cared for the Daleks, and in particular have grown frustrated in how frequently the series appears to kill the entire race off, only to bring them back almost immediately. So I was especially disappointed that Steven Moffat felt compelled to do this again, only three episodes into his tenure.

There were some fun things on the side of "Victory of the Daleks" - The Doctor's friendship with Winston Churchill, British Spitfires turned into space ships(*), The Doctor and Amy helping Bracewell embrace his programmed humanity - but the only portion of the episode tied directly to the Daleks that I found myself interested in was Amy not remembering the events of "The Stolen Earth." I'm assuming that will be part of the season-long arc with the cracks in the universe (which once again appeared as the TARDIS was leaving, making me wonder if The Doctor is somehow causing the cracks).

(*) Last week, there was some discussion of Moffat starting to incorporate a lot of specifically American references into this most British of shows, and here I saw a couple more of those: the Spitfire assault on the Dalek ship looked very much like the climax of "Independence Day," and of course the Union Jack gets raised like the American flag at Iwo Jima. Hmmm... On the other hand, Moffat's understandable Scottish pride continues, not just with Karen Gillan's awesome pronunciation of "Dalek," but the casting of Bracewell as a Scotsman.

Hopefully, the stupid pepperpots - now in their United Colors of Benetton look - will go away for quite a while so Moffat can focus on other things.

Keeping in mind that we are NOT going to discuss episodes that have yet to air here in America, what did everybody else think?

65 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I can't decide exactly what it is, but I actually think I preferred Victory of the Daleks to The Beast Below. I think it is because the idea of the continuing to feed the kids to the Beast, despite the fact that it had never eaten one irritated me so much. It's funny the things that will drive you bonkers in an episode.

Marquis said...

Last week, there was some discussion of Moffat starting to incorporate a lot of specifically American references into this most British of shows, and here I saw a couple more of those: the Spitfire assault on the Dalek ship looked very much like the climax of "Independence Day,

in confidential which is the bbc documentary sort of of each episode, the mention they brought the spitfires into space, because the spitfire was such an Iconic plane and so instrumental for winning the Battle of Britain they felt an obligation to try and honour it in someway.

I personally thought it was more of a reference to Star Wars myself. trying to shoot out one small thing.

Amanda said...

I can't remember a time I didn't watch Doctor Who, starting with Tom Baker and going all the way through to Sebastian McCoy, every afternoon after school. And have also seen all the Who episodes pre-Baker. My mum started watching Doctor Who from episode one in 1963. Davros (creator of the Daleks) was the main figure in all my childhood nightmare. Well, Davros and the *shudder* Cybermen. I grew up making TARDISes and cybermats out of papermache. I'm in Australia and my siblings and many of my peers share this history, and I imagine a lot of Brits do too. The other great villain was The Master and I pretty much hate what the reboot did to that character.

I do understand not getting the Daleks if you came in with the reboot but for the mythology its like taking the Vulcans out of Star Trek. That said, I could agree they should be whipped out only for special occasions. I guess they will make a return for the finale or something which would be fine. For the story of Victory of the Daleks it made it much more sinister to have such a recognisable villain in a supposedly begnign and helpful role, although that tension only lasted a few minutes before the Daleks were exposed. They could have strung that out, I think, maybe with the Doctor being shunned a bit more for questioning the very devices which were going to bring them victory over the Nazis.

M.A.Peel said...

Besides Amy not knowing the Daleks, the other foreshadowing moment came when Amy was talking to Bracewell, who had just found out he wasn't human, and she said, "I understand, I really understand." Hmmm. It's certainly going somewhere.

I find the overall tone less sophisticated than the Russell years. Can't put my finger on it. The music is certainly more exaggerated, not necessarily a bad thing.

Jamie Jeffords said...

The Rainbow Daleks are very disappointing. i preferred the earth-tone, beaten up ironclad versions in the same episode.

In some ways, I am wondering if Moffat made the change in color with the intention of destroying the Daleks' popularity. the only reason i speculate that is because Moffat did not want to bring back many old villains, but the BBC overruled him.

Beth said...

Oh, thank you--at last I'm not the only person who thinks the Daleks are the lamest villains in the Whoniverse. I get them in theory, but in actuality they just don't do it for me. My exclamation at the revelation of the new-and-improved models: "Daleks by Ikea!" Not scary.

Nicole said...

This episode was okay, but I felt it was repetitive of war movie cliches. I am okay with the Rainbow Daleks as long as we don't see them for a long while. The confidential made it pretty clear that Moffat was doing this because he wanted to trash all the RTD nonsense with the Daleks and start from scratch. Also, more marketing opportunities with the new Daleks.

Obviously the crack in time is going to end up being a finale issue. I wonder if that would explain why Eleven took years to get back to Amy. I have also read speculation that the TARDIS may be the source of the crack in time, but since we are still early in the run, we probably won't get answers until right at the end.

Stellar Drift said...

Russell Davie did not reboot Dr. Who - it was a continuation. For more than 40 years it has been thus; actors, writers, producers come and go - but the doctor is still the same life force, still the same timelord - he just regenerates. No reboot about it.
They even had Sarah Jane back who used to be a companion in the seventies for christ sake (played by the same actress)

KcM said...

What Amanda and others said: If you're an old-school Whovian, the Daleks are to the Doctor as the Joker is to Batman. They're his arch-nemeses, so having them show up once a season doesn't seem too much of a burden to me.

(And I'll take the Daleks every day of the week and twice on Sunday over the Slitheen and other such garbage RTD overloaded the show with. Thank God he's finally gone.)

In fact, seeing Matt Smith up against the Daleks is as much a ritual as firing up the Tardis before the first time.

J said...

The only thing I loved about this one was watching Daleks serve tea. And if someone pitched me an ep and all they said was "Daleks serving tea!" I would have gone "YES" and then realized that, crap, there's like 41 1/2 more minutes to fill.

I know this was said about last week's episode, too, but Amy got assimilated waaaay too fast. I get that breaking in a new companion gets dull, and I suppose you could chalk some familiarity up to her fantasy life with her imaginary Doctor friend, but I keep waiting for everyone to turn to her and say, "Wait, who are you, again?" (Though I think Gillan is great, mostly.)

You're right that the Daleks have been employed waaaay to much in Who 2.0. And I'm surprised, because it at least used to be the case that the BBC only co-owned the Daleks with Terry Nation and his estate. So they cost extra to bring in. They'd be far more special if they used them less and stopped putting them in all the worst episodes. Maybe there was a Happy Meal cross-promotion? Collect them all?

Honestly, I think I've only ever seen a single *great* Dalek serial, and that was Genesis of the Daleks. It might have helped that I was like six, but they do make an impression on you when you're young. One problem with their current aimlessness might be that genetic engineering and Master Race fears don't seem as salt-and-pepper shaker obvious in 2010. It's not as if they've dropped any Daleks in Rwanda or Sudan, and not like they wouldn't seem ridiculous in those places.

@M.A.Peel, I think the music's more or less as bombastic and insulting as it was during the Davies years. I'd hoped Moffat would bring in a better guy, but oh well.

Jackie said...

I agree, this is the weakest of the episodes so far. I've only watched DW since is started again in 2005, so I've only ever known the daleks as RTD envisioned them. For me, they are definitely one of those villians where the less you trot them out to threaten world destruction, the more affecting they are when you do see them. I still think of all the episodes I've seen, the 9th Doctor-era episode "Dalek" is the best use of a dalek and was the most engaging to watch and re-watch.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thought of the original iMac when the new Daleks rolled out?

I too preferred the metal toned ones.

Matthew L said...

I've never much cared for the Daleks, and in particular have grown frustrated in how frequently the series appears to kill the entire race off, only to bring them back almost immediately. So I was especially disappointed that Steven Moffat felt compelled to do this again, only three episodes into his tenure.

The good thing about the episode was that he didn't kill off the Daleks. One of RTD's big failings in the way he treated the Daleks was the fact that at the end of every story he would kill them off, and then have to contrive some way for them to come back. Where what Moffat did was bring them back, let the Doctor stop the immediate threat, but then let the Daleks stay around ready to be called on in future.

(RTD's other problem was that he kept going to them as a season-ending threat - in the first four seasons, only season three didn't have a mass Dalek attack as the ultimate threat. I'm hopeful that that won't happen this year, and the big ending will revolve around something else. If so, that would be good.)

I'm not sure how I feel about the new Daleks. I love the bulk and size of the new look, but think the bold and varied colours feel like too much of a throwback to the Peter Cushing movies. (I much preferre the golden-brown colour of the RTD-era.)

Nicole said...

I agree with Jackie that the episode "Dalek" with Christopher Eccleston is probably the best Dalek episode out there. Another level was added to the pepper pots who yell "exterminate", but unfortunately RTD undid that excellent episode with all that followed, especially Daleks in Manhattan.

OleNelson said...

Bleh. Didn't like this one.

In addition to being yet ANOTHER Dalek retread, the whole thing felt rushed. I kept wondering if this one was initially planned to be a two-part episode but was condensed down to one when it became clear that it wasn't working. It was all plot-plot-plot-plot-plot, without much development of the Doctor/Amy relationship or of the non-Winston Churchill secondary characters.

And I agree with the iMac reference. Hee.

Mo Ryan said...

Why is the music so damn loud and insistent? To me it's usually a danger signal that a show doesn't have much substance when the soundtrack KEEPS INSISTING that there is SOMETHING EXCITING going on, when really, a lot of the time, there isn't.

For the third week in a row, a frenetic pace but not much of a story. I really enjoy Smith and Gillan but I found every element of this week's episode a bit overdone and frenetic but not all that creative or interesting.Though I don't typically mind a Dalek go-round, I found myself missing Davros. I mean, *he* was a Dalek villain. Bigger pepperpots in Benetton colors? Eh.

So far I'm just finding myself liking the central performers but as far as the show itself goes, I'm generally underwhelmed. Moffat isn't stretching himself. It's almost like the Moffat/Smith version of the show is doing victory laps before it's earned some victories.

I'll keep watching, and keep hoping the stories begin to get a bit more interesting. It may take some time to build up a momentum in the season. And as I said, it's that the episodes have been terrible, but they've been far too spazzy and they generally appear to have been constructed out of spare parts from previous seasons.

Alanna said...

When I watched this a few weeks ago, I mentally tuned out once I saw the Daleks. I liked them the first few times, but now it's overkill. I tuned in tonight hoping to watch the episode with fresh eyes since I hadn't paid much attention last time, but nope, my brain went elsewhere. I agree with other commenters that they're very scary for children, but I wonder if they now feel so cheesy because of our familiarity with CGI and artificial intelligence. Granted, Doctor Who has a very small budget, and a skillful director can make even the silliest things seem terrifying. But when I watch the Daleks, I see big hunks of metal being pushed around on casters.

Any idea why BBC America insists upon showing snippets of the opening credits before each commercial break? Quite annoying. The Moffat episodes actually clock in at around 40 minutes, so I know BBCA has more time to fill, but they do the same thing with the RTD-era repeats.

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly certain - based on interviews I have read as well as reading between the lines of those interviews - that Moffatt and Co. had no interest in returning the Daleks (or any other classic Who villians - this season, but BBC Enterprises made using the Daleks a condition of receiving additional production funds (or rather, that the budget would only be trimmed slightly, instead of being slashed). Apparently the beeb feels that shoehorning in the pepperpots will sell some toys and bring in cash, which is presumably a concern when the license fee is under fire in the UK in the run up to an election.

Mark S. said...

As a newbie to Dr. Who, I enjoyed the episodes this season. The Daleks seemed...cheesy and out of place. But I enjoyed the episode. And I do like the fact that the Dr. is facing more ethical questions and scenarios than physical issues. That is a welcome change.

I my review of the season so far, I noted that Dr. Who is probably the best science fiction show on TV right now. Unfortunately it doesn't have a lot of competition.

Nicole said...

For those discouraged about the quality of episodes so far, I can say that the next two episodes are significantly better than these past two episodes.

These felt a bit like placeholders in comparison.

James Bow said...

You can see my full review here:

http://bowjamesbow.ca/2010/05/02/oh-what-a-lovel.shtml

And my fear is that we will see the Daleks again for the season finale. Yeah, I had enough of showing up for the big finish even before "The Stolen Earth" appeared. But the fact that Amy no longer remembers the Dalek invasion of Earth circa 2008 connects the pepperpots to the cracks in her wall, leading me to believe that they will put in an appearance.

belinda said...

Nicole, I came here to basically post the exact same thing. I also wasn't a fan of this episode (or even last week's episode), so, just want to let you know that if you're going to give up on the new season, do that after the next episode - if you didn't enjoy it. It is, thankfully, much better, and the story and even the dialogue is much more in line of something Moffat-esque.

And count me in as one who kinda hates these multicolored Dyson vacuum cleaner power ranger Daleks on top of the story. I also wasn't a fan of RTD bringing them back in so often - But I really liked that first episode he did bringing the Dalek back in the reboot series - "Dalek". It's too bad it didn't stop (or at least appear so damn often!) there. :D

BigTed said...

Last week I mentioned that as a relatively new viewer, I don't really get why "Doctor Who" is purposely using cheap, creaky-looking special effects. And the Daleks -- which look like a cross between Robbie the Robot and a trash can (and have more annoying electronic voices than the Black Eyed Peas) -- just seem ridiculous. (And now these new colorful coatings -- which somehow came about through "DNA"? -- make them look like designer teapots from Target.)

I can see why people who've been watching the show for 10 or 20 or 40 years wouldn't want the major elements to change. But maybe because minor alterations are built in (as when the Doctor changes form or gets a new companion), the show hasn't had to bother with the sort of major reboots that have allowed other franchises (such as, say, "Star Trek") to remain relatively current over time.

So while there's a lot to enjoy about this version of "Doctor Who," it still seems to be getting by as much on nostalgia as on its own merits.

Anonymous said...

"they do make an impression on you when you're young."

Isn't that the point? I mean, it is, on at least one level, especially in England, a show for kids.

Matt said...

You know, I really like the Daleks. I do. But the Moffat/Davies series has been driving them into the ground with many nearly-identical plotlines: The Daleks return, they attack Earth and/or try to increase their numbers, then they're in some way defeated. Lather, rinse, repeat. I would've much preferred that they go absent for at least one season, so I'm very disappointed to see Moffat wheeling them out again so quickly, not to mention setting them up for plenty more stories. It didn't much help that this story was kind of ridiculous (even for Doctor Who) and pretty darn weak.

Anonymous said...

I don't particularly mind the Daleks turning up in some capacity: Moffat apparently said that a year would be a long time for a kid to wait to see the headline villains, and I'm OK with that. But...

I hope they aren't *the* villain for this year. That would be too much. And I really don't like the redesign. I get that they needed to be taller, so that Smith and Gillan (who are both v. tall) wouldn't tower over them. But the bright iDalek colours are a blatant toy-selling manoeuvre.

@BigTed: The show uses "cheap, creaky-looking special effects" because that's all it can afford. There's no purpose in it.

Joseph Thomson said...

Alan - this one wasn't even written by Steven Moffat, it was written by Mark Gatiss, who isn't exactly known for writing/being in the best episodes of Doctor Who.

But even if you're not a fan, this episode really is just a blip on an otherwise awesome as hell radar.

Karen said...

I, too, have found every Dalek episode since the original Eccleston one pretty tiresome. This one was no exception. I don't think the colorful Daleks were supposed to make me laugh when they rolled out. And the music! Geez! The big saccharine swell during the Iwo Jima flag-raising scene almost gave me Type-2 diabetes.

I did like Amy saving Bracewell, though. The Doctor tried to raise Bracewell's humanity using pain; Amy succeeded in raising it using love--something the Doctor doesn't entirely understand.

I hope the new episodes are as good as some commenters say. I feel like the season needs a shot in the arm after this week...

Alan Sepinwall said...

this one wasn't even written by Steven Moffat, it was written by Mark Gatiss,

I know that. But Moffat is the showrunner. Even if the Daleks were forced on him by the BBC, as some suggest, he could have tried to get Gatiss or whomever to write a more interesting episode with them (or rewritten it himself).

Kayvan said...

I too really hope the Daleks don't show up again this season, i'm really hoping for some other antagonist to take center stage with the whole "cracks in the universe" idea.

Like Alan, only coming to Doctor Who through the 2005 revival, i'm just not very interested in them. In fact my favourite season finale was the third, mostly because we finally had a relatable enemy, someone with a face and a personality.

I know the Dalek's aren't actually robots, but they may as well be, and hence they're just not interesting. Same with the Cybermen.

dark tyler said...

Alan, as it's already been pointed out, Moffat (along with Gatiss) must get credit for not treating us like idiots in regards to the continuing presence of the Daleks. Obviously the Beeb would never ever in the history of forever, let them go away, and they have to always be there, every single season. So, instead of going the same silly route every single season (They are gone forever! No, there is one left! No, there is a whole ship left! They're destroyed again! But wait, there's A WHOLE EMPIRE FORGOTTEN IN A BOX! Oh, now they're gone! Oops, sorry, there was another one left behind, and it's sort of half-human, and it unlocked the Time War and now THEY ARE ALL BACK ALONG WITH THEIR CREATOR! But wait, the Doc pulled a lever so they're gone for good this time! Oops, sorry, one ship got away-- Seriously?), Moffat decides right out of the gate to respect the audience and go "You know what? This time, they're back. For good. The end."

That said, this was the weakest of the season by a mile, as Simon Cowell would say. The next two are amazing, you won't even care for this one by the time episode 5 has aired.

Damien said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kayvan said...

^I second that. The next episode is fantastic, and I hear the fifth is too, though I haven't got round to watching it yet.

Damien said...

Why was my post removed?

Benjamin said...

I felt this episode was about on the same level as all of Gatiss' other episodes. Mildly enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable. The Unquiet Dead and The Idiot's Lantern aren't particularly great episodes of NewWho, but they aren't egregiously bad either. While RTD and Moffat both had to trot out the Daleks each season, at least RTD and Moffat realized that doing the same damn present day earth invasion wasn't that interesting (until RTD forgot it again during Stolen Earth) so they thought maybe they'd spice it up with a change of scenery.

My main disappointment is that the first fourth or so is intentionally reminiscent of one of the best stories of the old show, with Daleks acting subservient while nefarious plotting. The ridiculous other 3/4ths though...

Peter D Bakija said...

Damien wrote:
>>Why was my post removed?>>

Presumably because it was discussing an episode that hasn't aired in the US yet, and not discussing episodes that haven't aired in the US yet is strictly verboten.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Again, folks: no talking about episodes that haven't aired here yet.

Kayvan said...

We can't discuss the plots, but we can discuss the quality of future episodes, yes?

Peter D Bakija said...

So I was a big DW fan when I was a kid but missed out on most of the recent shows till now (I watched the first half of the Eccleston season and virtually none of the Tennant seasons). I really liked the premier, the Beast Below was a completely reasonable story that reminded me a lot of standard 1970's Dr. Who, but this one was clearly the weakest of the three so far.

The early part of the episode was fun, and I found the undercover Daleks actually kind of creepy as I kept waiting to see what was actually going on (and the scenes of stuff going on in the foreground and then a Dalek driving by in the back ground looking completely innocuous, but then turning to look sinisterly at the Doctor was a really effective visual gag, considering the wonky Dalek robots...). But once the jig was up, it all kind of fell apart--the plot didn't make a huge amount of sense, and once again, you spend a lot of time just saying "Why aren't the Daleks just disintigrating him?"

Granted, the only recent Dalek episode I have seen was the first Eccleston one ("Dalek", which was pretty good), so I don't actually know how they got resurrected and/or destroyed again, but whatever their angle was this time just seemed kind of silly, especially when they got reborn looking like evil Ipods. My wife, who has seen almost no Dr. Who in her life but for these last 3 episodes, was very unconvinced by the Daleks as anything other than silly.

If Moffat was kind of operating under protest (i.e. he didn't really want to use the Daleks, but got forced into it), the episode kind of makes more sense (conceptually, not story wise), and hopefully, we won't see the Daleks again for a while.

Damien said...

Peter D Bakija said: "Presumably because it was discussing an episode that hasn't aired in the US yet, and not discussing episodes that haven't aired in the US yet is strictly verboten"

I understand that, but I didn't discuss any plot points whatsoever about upcoming episodes. I merely alluded to their relative quality, as have others before me and after, so you can see why I'm miffed.

Kayvan said...

^Your post gave away the villains of the next two episodes, Damien.

vortexgods said...

Hmm... I think everyone who has only seen the Eccleston onward Daleks ought to consider firing up their Netflix queue and ordering "Genesis of the Daleks" with Tom Baker as the Doctor.

Mainly because it's the best thing that has ever been done with Daleks.

Mo Ryan said...

Meant to say in my comment, "it isn't that the episodes have been terrible..."

And that's pretty much where I stand. The episodes have had a lot of OK elements, Smith and Gillan are good, but in their entirety, the first three haven't had much substance to them, which has been a letdown. I certainly do hope things improve.

I didn't expect "Blink" every week, but I surely didn't expect this much predictability.

RTD's Doctor Who tended to operate in two extremes -- really, really good episodes could be followed by really, really atrocious ones.

Moffat is aiming down the middle, but so far his Who is occasionally mildly entertaining without being memorable at all.

Ransom said...

A mediocre episode, I thought, but one with some fun moments. A few comments:

1. Did anyone else have the impression that a subplot involving the female military officer from Winston's war room may have been cut? Special attention was paid to her, yet there was no meaningful purpose, other than to add some detail to a background player.

2. I agree with most of you who note the silliness of the Dalek retread. It seems to me, though, that in a show involving time travel, there are some alternative ways to depict the Daleks. Here, the events of "The Stolen Earth" are clearly in the past of the depicted Daleks, but why not have the Daleks existing in the 1940s be from the past, i.e. Daleks for whom the events of "Dalek," "Daleks in Manhattan," and/or "The Stolen Earth" are in their future, perhaps their very distant future? I'm not certain why each time we encounter the Daleks, they have to be from the current Doctor's present, rather than the present of whatever time period the doctor happens to be visiting.

3. The rapid assimilation of the new companion is also of some concern to me. Here, we have a new companion who may well have suffered some emotional problems or abandonment issues as a result of the doctor's early appearance in her life. One would think that she would be a bit more troubled or introspective about the sudden reappearance of the magic space man from her childhood.

4. To Mark S., who commented that Dr. Who may well be the best science fiction show currently on television, you're forgetting one.

Michael said...

After this one aired in the UK, I was convinced that I was the only one who liked it...and still am.

But than again, I've been a Dr Who fan for 20 plus years now and found the Daleks here reminiscent of how they were used in the Troughton era Dalek stories (alas, they're lost so you can only hear them but not see them).

The Daleks in the beginning, acting as servants to humanity all concealing a greater, darker plan was reminiscent of "Power of the Daleks" and I liked seeing the Doctor being on the outside for a bit with his obvious mistrust.

In many ways there are two ways the Daleks were shown on the original series--the hellbent on destruction and conquest Daleks and the evil manipulative Daleks. I prefer the second and that's what we got here.

Paul C said...

For purely selfish reasons I wanted a green Dalek, so it could slide alongside the white & orange ones to make the Irish flag.

Alas, yeah it gets pretty irritating whereby they follow the same plot device with all the Daleks getting blown up, but oh wait, a few survived and escape to start up an army. The rinse-repeat cycle gets a bit tired after a while.

I'd agree with Jackie & Nicole that they Christopher Eccleston 'Dalek' episode has probably been the best with those baddies since the relaunch. Which hurts all subsequent Dalek episodes as there is a really high bar set for them. It'd take a very special episode to top that one I think.

I agree with others who have read that Moffat was contractually obligated to use the Daleks, so he decided to get them out of the way early. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they just disappeared until Christmas with a brand new rebuilt army.

The "would you like a cup of tea?" and The Doctor holding them off with a Jammie Dodger scenes were just so absurd that they just about worked.

I do wish they would have made the 'cracks' more subtle like the Bad Wolf or Torchwood references. It takes a lot of the fun out of it whenever the camera just zooms in on them.

rachelmed said...

"Ransom said...

1. Did anyone else have the impression that a subplot involving the female military officer from Winston's war room may have been cut? Special attention was paid to her, yet there was no meaningful purpose, other than to add some detail to a background player.


I thought the same thing. I expected her to have more of an impact. It seemed like they were hinting that she knew more about the Daleks but it just came down to her worrying about someone in war. Seemed very random in the end and almost not worth the time to be featured at all.

I agree that this was the weakest so far. I'll echo that if you aren't really feeling this season so far DEFINITELY stick through at least the next two episodes because they are quite good!

I like the Daleks but also agree that they are better when used less and not as the go-to for a finale.

Craig Ranapia said...

Last week, there was some discussion of Moffat starting to incorporate a lot of specifically American references into this most British of shows, and here I saw a couple more of those: the Spitfire assault on the Dalek ship looked very much like the climax of "Independence Day," and of course the Union Jack gets raised like the American flag at Iwo Jima.

And I'm still not getting it, Alan. I don't mean to sound like some tiresome Yank basher, but Britian does actually have a history and pop culture that does not revolve around its former colonies across the sea. Really.

Perhaps because I came to the series with the Russell Davies reboot, I've never much cared for the Daleks, and in particular have grown frustrated in how frequently the series appears to kill the entire race off, only to bring them back almost immediately. So I was especially disappointed that Steven Moffat felt compelled to do this again, only three episodes into his tenure.

Yes and no, Alan. I was one of the people who wouldn't have minded seeing the Daleks take a rest for a couple of seasons, like the Borg in the Trek-i-verse Who hasn't always resisted Iconic Big Bad Overuse Syndrome. But you just watch the internet implode if Moffat ever exterminated the Daleks for good. Just make sure you're wearing dark glasses and SPF infinity sunblock. :)

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

I agree with others who have read that Moffat was contractually obligated to use the Daleks, so he decided to get them out of the way early.

I'd love to get a source for that, seriously. because I'ce seen Moffat say, more than once, RTD was absolutely right when he said that, from the very beginning, he couldn't imagine Who without Daleks, the Cybermen or The Master coming back in some form. About as likely as JJ Abrams deciding his Trekkie-enraging move will be to wipe out the Klingons...

And if Victory of the Daleks was contractual obligation filler, then I've got to wonder why Moffat had outlined the story before RTD wrote The End of Time. According to Davies' book The Writer's Tale, he originally planned to have the Time Lords forming a last ditch alliance with the Daleks in the last days of the Time War to prevent the end of both races at the hands of The Doctor, but dropped it after Moffat told him he was planning a Dalek story for early in the next series.

Nicole said...

I agree with Craig regarding the so-called use of American imagery in this episode. There was Churchill and the London blitz, so I really don't think it can get more British than that. The spitfires and raising the flag are fairly common war images that I think are in most war movies, not just American ones. Everyone brings their own cultural baggage when watching a show, so I can see why certain viewers see images a certain way, but I honestly don't think Moffat has inserted anything explicitly American in this episode, especially since this would be happening in 1940.

Gavin Bollard said...

I didn't really think this was the weakest episode thus far - I preferred it to the space whale.

Victory of the Daleks had little to offer "new" (post 2005) viewers but it had lines which were very similar to Power of the Daleks.

One thing about the Daleks. They work BEST in small numbers, not armies.

The bunker scenes in this story were fantastic, (as with Christopher Ecclestone's single-dalek story). As soon as you bring lots of daleks in, they stop being scary.

The ikea daleks are a little weird but I guess they're trying to get back to the ranked/purposed daleks of the Peter Cushing films and the old series.

I just hope they don't feel tempted to kill them off utterly (again!). Just leave them and find something else to be the villain for a while.

Fendahl anyone? A real post-2005 fendahl would scare the pants off anyone.

Craig Ranapia said...

Nicole:

Fair point, and I should apologise for being excessively snarky. Of course, Alan (and North American) viewers are going to see Doctor Who through their own pop cultural/historical frame of reference and the iconography of the Blitz and Battle of Britain won't necessarily register.

(Also very easy to forget that I've been watching this show for almost thirty years. The Daleks aren't any more "silly" to me than green Orion slave girls or Robbie The Very Camp Robot would be to American geeks of a certain age.)

Perhaps I'm guilty of the very artistic myopia I'm complaining about? Oy... :)

Craig Ranapia said...

Isn't that the point? I mean, it is, on at least one level, especially in England, a show for kids.

Well you're not going to get BSG/Caprica levels of genocidal angst, sex and violence (or SGU gratuitous boobage) at Saturday teatime on the BBC's flagship channel. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Anonymous said...

This episode was horrible. I did not enjoy the acting by the major characters nor did I enjoy the plot line. This episode is my fear for the new show. I don't know how anyone can enjoy this episode. It felt long. I was bored. I drifted to sleep.

JWIII

vortexgods said...

The Daleks can't ever be eliminated completely, neither can the Timelords or the Master, or anyone else.

I remember the Master was utterly completely killed once (well, actually several times), and the Doctor runs into him later, much to his shock. The Master just says, "Come now Doctor, you know I'm indestructible."

The Daleks don't have a sense of humor, but if they did, they could say something similar.

Karen said...

I'd love to get a source for that, seriously. because I'ce seen Moffat say, more than once, RTD was absolutely right when he said that, from the very beginning, he couldn't imagine Who without Daleks, the Cybermen or The Master coming back in some form.

Well, it's one thing to bring them back into the new Who-niverse, which I can understand being an imperative, and another thing entirely to bring them back season after bloody season.

jules said...

Not a fan of multi-colored Daleks, mostly because it seems to go against their uniformity. Why have colors at all? They aren't supposed to have personality or emotion or any kind of differentiation. Though maybe this will play a role in their future story, down the line. A change like that has to intentional.

I like the idea that the Doctor/TARDIS could be causing the crack. Or maybe whatever the crack is is simply following the Doctor. Or, it all ties back to Amy, since that is where we crack originated (or at least where the Doctor's interaction with it originated).

Ed said...

Not liking the Daleks because you don't know anything about their history is like admitting you don't like something because it's easier to remain willfully ignorant.

They are the quintessential Who-villain.

The new Daleks are great. First off, the last strain of pure Daleckness in that urn-thingy wouldn't even believe that the current Daleks were really Daleks to begin with. Then after the "New Paradigm" showed up, they did exactly what pure Daleks would do, exterminate the unpure ones.

And now the new Daleks are specialists. Drone, orange; Scientist, white; Supreme, blue; Strategist and yellow; Eternal.

Just imagine what destruction purely evil specialists can rage against time and space. And I'm dying to know why one is named an Eternal.

Tracey said...

Is no one else going to say it? OK, I'll have to: "Oh my God, you killed the Daleks! You BASTARDS!!!"

OK, now that I've gotten that out of my system... I'm an old-time DW fan, but I never much cared for ANY of the traditional villains: Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans. They all just seem too cartoonish to me, no nuance. And the idea of a robot who thinks he's a human... wasn't that done to death in the Battlestar Galactica reboot? And when I saw the multi-colored Daleks, all I could think was, "How very toyetic. Bet they'll sell lots of those."

But overall I did enjoy the episode. Oddly, the moment I liked the most was the propaganda poster with the Dalek, which looked very authentic WWII poster-y. I liked the Bracewell character, and had a lot of fun with their Churchill, liked the idea of the Daleks using the Doctor's testimony to prove their identity.

Kevin said...

Marquis said:


in confidential which is the bbc documentary sort of of each episode, the mention they brought the spitfires into space, because the spitfire was such an Iconic plane and so instrumental for winning the Battle of Britain they felt an obligation to try and honour it in someway.

I personally thought it was more of a reference to Star Wars myself. trying to shoot out one small thing.



Myself, I saw this as a reference to Warren Ellis' "Ministry of Space" mini-series which is basically a what if the British held onto the German rocket scientists from WWII and used the race into space to rebuild the empire. The spitfires looked similar to what he used.


What I found interesting about the epsiode is how the Daleks are the one thing that makes the Doctor become irrational/illogical and in this case it was his own actions, predicted by the Daleks, that caused the earth-threatening situation. It shows that like us, even the Doctor has something that push his buttons and lose focus.

Craig Ranapia said...

First off, the last strain of pure Daleckness in that urn-thingy wouldn't even believe that the current Daleks were really Daleks to begin with. Then after the "New Paradigm" showed up, they did exactly what pure Daleks would do, exterminate the unpure ones.

Certainly. In the 'classic' show, Davros never got any respect from the kids. Which is a pretty damn big design flaw, if you ask me: Psychopathic bigots with the personality of bratty teenagers. :)

Tyroc said...

My last post on this site!

Yeah, I'm no Daleks fan either. So this episode was quite boring.

As is my post!

Good luck on the new site. See you there, Alan!

policywonk said...

Daleks have been overused on Who 2.0, no doubt about it. Even the Vulcans don't surface that often on Star Trek. But what gets me is that Rose looked into the heart of the Tardis and was supposed to have wiped the Daleks from history completely, from all timelines -- and the fact that they resurfaced after that was never satisfactorily explained. One too many maguffins, that -- and I'm STILL waiting for a credible explanation. As for the rainbow Daleks, why would they care about color? They already have minimal rank divisions and have handled that to their own satisfaction, so what could possibly be the rationale for that?? No logical reason whatsoever. And I'm underwhelmed with both the new showrunner AND with Matt Smith, tho his Scots sidekick is a hoot! She promises to be a lot of fun and has the requisite who-sidekick spunk. Haven't seen anybody with the backbone of Leela in more than a decade, however, and I miss that: the Doctor needs a competent partner for a change (one who isn't shagging everything that moves, that is -- sorry, Jack!).