I already said back in April 2011’s ‘Inspiration of the Daleks’ that while the Daleks are described as ‘evil’, they cannot help it because they were programmed that way. It is Davros who is the source of that evil; his choices throughout Genesis of the Daleks all the way to Journeys End bear that out. Davros is too consumed by madness and hatred to accept the Doctor’s offer of help, Because Davros is a mirror of that quintessential thug Hitler.
Even after seeing Genesis of The Daleks (GOTD) over a dozen times, I still get tingles up my spine from the opening scene. The Timelord-In-Black is a master manipulator, using The Doctor’s concerns about the Daleks to talk him into interfering in Dalek development, actually meeting at the end of the Kaled-Thal war in the wastelands.
The first two episodes also introduce the First Dalek and Davros, whose status as an Evil Genius is confirmed in his first scene, secretly testing a Dalek weapon for the first time.
The Nazi metaphor, always in the background of any good Dalek tale, marches its way to the front and beats you over the head in a variety of ways throughout GOTD. The plotting is also very typical Terry Nation, a master plotter himself, using many elements here that would be repeated in Blake’s 7. He splits up the TARDIS crew and puts them through the ringer. While The Doctor and Harry are being interrogated by SS-wannabes, poor Sarah Jane spies on Davros, gets set upon by Mutos and is finally captured by the Thals!
Her escape plan fails dismally, but at least she tried something, not just mope around like the other captives, though Sevrin follows her round like a faithful puppy .
While the story follows the regulars round various set pieces, the star of the story is undoubtedly Michael Wisher, who portrays Davros with delicious malevolence. He too is a crafty manipulator who uses both the Kaleds and Thals to further his own schemes. Whenever he doesn’t get his way though, watch out for the ranting and raving, as he goes into a teenage tantrum and bullies, manoeuvres and lies to get his way, even going to the extreme of selling out the entire Kaled Race.
The fact that the Daleks eventually turn on their creator is ironic, another of Davros character flaws, like his paranoia and misplaced superiority complex becomes part of them. You could say he is partly Iago, maybe nine tenths Richard the third, as well as aspects of Julius Caesar. I could trawl through the entire Shakespearian canon looking for analogies and similarities. Claudius, Angelo, Malvolio and other villains share aspects of his personality, many Shakespearian themes also play throughout his stories. Oh I could go off on a tangent, the metaphors are there, as are World War Two ones, but I won’t get side-tracked, at least for now.
Suffice to say that GOTD reinvents the Daleks as the product of a deranged, autocrat, whose death at the hands (or ray gun) of his creations is fitting retribution.
Destiny of the Daleks is a good sequel. A haunting, foreboding feel is present, well, after the bit with Romana changing bodies several times. The arrival of the enigmatic Movellans and Tyssan stalking Romana lead to a predictable cliff hanger. You just know the Daleks are lurking on the other side of the wall, just waiting to burst through and catch her.
Her interrogation and The Doctor knowing what’s going on keep the pace going, even though it is obvious that it is Davros that everyone is after. The revelation of the Movellans as warmongering Robots (Androids really) and all the subsequent running around are typical Nation plotting. The Dalek suicide bombers are a disturbing twist. Once again though, The Doctor outwits Davros and he is returned to Earth for Trial.
So, his second appearance builds on the megalomania and all-consuming lust for power and control, with a complete inability to admit his mistakes. A stand-out performance from David Gooderson moves the Davros story along nicely.
As a Teenager in the ‘80s, Resurrection of the Daleks was one of the few Dalek stories seen ‘live’ as it were, so most of the memories and impressions have stuck through the years.
It was the first four part story shown in two 45 minute segments, so preceded the current series format by 20 years, that was trendsetting!
The story begins with the brutal gunning down of a bunch of escapees and a homeless man by two Policemen with Uzi’s, very controversial!!
The multiple storylines- the TARDIS in the Time Corridor, bomb disposal squad, Lytton’s troops and the station crew keep up the pace, with the large cast being whittled down by the end.
The Doctor also shows an amoral, almost Gung-ho streak, very unusual for Peter Davison’s Doctor. Then again, ‘Dalek’ showed that they bring out the worst in him, which is exactly what happens here. He even says that he must mend his ways after the bittersweet final scene with Tegan leaving.
Revelation of the Daleks is the worst Dalek story ever made, it does not even feature them that much. Even the sound drowns out some dialogue, but none of the supporting characters are even remotely sympathetic. The second episode picks up, with the two opposing factions of Daleks.
Davros manipulates everyone in his latest scheme, once again taken away for trial. It is a bleak and dark tale, with not much to redeem it.
Remembrance of the Daleks, on the other hand, not only heaps lots of development onto the Daleks, but hints at a greater mystery in the identity of The Doctor.
There are a lot of elements in this story that makes it one of the best. The repertoire between Ace and The Doctor, the UNIT-like cameradie of the Counter-Intrusion Measures team, the two Factions of Daleks with their human puppets. Set some time after RevOTD, Davros has somehow gained the upper hand and become Emperor and is in pursuit of the Hand of Omega, a Gallifreyan device the Daleks wanted to gain the power of time travel and conquer Gallifrey. As the last Dalek story of the original series, the destruction of Skaro and the Daleks send them off with bang, though Davros escapes at the last second, he’s definitely on his own. It is another ‘Final end’, though The Evil of the Daleks did the same, this time Skaro goes up in smoke.
Then comes, Dalek/Bad Wolf and the new series, totally revamping the Daleks completely, but how that happened is another essay altogether!
To conclude this one, next week I will examine the Extra Features and Audio stories to see how they add to the understanding of the monstrous mind behind the machines.