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Continuing the Dr Who review thing - now with audiovisuals! New…

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Doctor Who
Continuing the Dr Who review thing - now with audiovisuals!

New review: "Death to the Daleks", an episode which lives up to its promise beautifully. I don't know if they were getting rid of old props, or if someone in production was violently sick of the things, but the Daleks take a massive (and hilarious) beating here. I've included a video montage of Dalek antics ...

- Doctor Who has always been plagued with crazy music, but I cannot get over how oddball this Dalek theme is. It has this loopy baby elephant quality to it that is utterly bizarre and inappropriate.
- Maybe go a little further than "the other side of the rock" before you start making your evil plans at full volume, Daleks.
- Why I think this episode was born out of pure anti-Dalek aggression: the incredible chumps taking them out. If Daleks aren't getting whaled on by sand people, they're being gently kissed by the tube monster - both of which result in explosion. I think my favorite is the Dalek nervous breakdown towards the end of the serial. Damn, Davros, you need to work that glitch out - if Daleks short circuited everytime they failed ... well, we wouldn't be coming up on 50 years of dealing with them.

Things that I did not make a video out of ...

- It's the opening where Three looks like a magician!
- The Doctor and Sarah Jane do some nice "stunt falling", as William Shatner calls it. I wonder if you have to demonstrate that when you audition for a sci-fi show.
- The Doctor plays "ditch the companion" a lot in this one. He barely gets her in the Tardis door before he's wandering off, then she gets sidelined for quite a while when sacks of burlap try to fume her to death. I think she actually calls him out on it after the 3rd or 4th ditch in the computer city, not that that stops him.
- No one watches Dr Who for the effects, but the monsters in this one look particularly like dumpster-dive finds. The shambling piles of rags and longbows, the vacuum pipe, those guys made out of mud ... it's an exceptional crowd. Sarah and the Doctor get a little pal in the city who appears to be entirely made out of bog.
- The burlap guys' lingual skills zigzag all over the place. They're completely silent, except when they're hooting like cavemen or expounding on their goofy religion.
- Re: the burlap guys some more - if you were looking for a Halloween costume at 10 pm on Halloween night and couldn't do better than a 99 cent store, you'd still be disappointed to find these masks.
- So the computer city is putting out some kind of power-dampening field that strands the Tardis, one of those Ed Wood Dalek ships, and one of those vaguely Starfleet-ish crews you get a lot in Dr Who. The Daleks going about their business during the blackout confused me for awhile, because I guess I never noticed or cared that the Daleks move themselves around by telekinesis. My working theory was a bike pedal system for the little squid inside.
- How long could you be cellmates with a Dalek before you'd start envying death row?
- Ughhh, they end up working an "ancient aliens" angle in - the species of the week supposedly taught the Incas how to make temples and whatnot. If I wanted this bullshit, I'd watch the orange guy with the hair.
- Dr Who really shows its children's show status when it busts out a plot involving puzzles. The computer at the heart of the city wants only the best and brightest, so it sets out an array of puzzles so devious, they'd weed out all but the sharpest solvers of the Junior Jumble. And even though they're impossible for Daleks to pass, at the very least for practical reasons - touchscreen mazes and hopscotch are involved - Daleks push on through the puzzles regardless. This computer's lucky it only had to contend with Jawas and Smeagols til now, its security system is a shambles.
- Extra entertaining part of the puzzle sequence - the part where the Doctor must play out a suspenseful game of "the floor is lava".
- The Starfleetish crew's most notable member is its second in command, a sloppy unshaven man who seems to have spent the last 4 moths stewing in a state of angry-drunk. The second he sees The Doctor he starts eye-strangling him, and he has the honor of being today's "stupid alien collaborator". I don't think you can possibly make a worse choice there than Daleks. Absolute bottom of the barrel, you deserve everything you get as a result. In the end, he sacrifices himself to destroy what Daleks have yet to be culled, so I guess he gets some points for that.
- The Daleks' plan was also foiled by replacing the mineral they came for with bags of sand, demonstrating that Daleks are a little bit dumber than a trap in Indiana Jones.
- The marshmallowiness of the melting city makes me want to watch Ghostbusters for the trillionth time.
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