Friday, February 27, 2009

"The Roof of the World"

So, here we are at the first of our Reconstructed episodes, an episode long lost. The Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm and Kroroboros, all gathered to watch an episode of Doctor Who that none of us had ever seen! Of course, an uncharitable soul might say we've still never quite seen it, but this reconstruction is the closest we will probably ever get! Onward!

Episode summary: First aired 22 February, 1964. Barbara and Susan have gone outside the TARDIS, into a mountainous, snow-filled landscape, where they discover what appears to be a giant footprint! The Doctor and Ian join them, but the Doctor, who appears to be unwell, decides he wishes to leave immediately. He reenters the TARDIS as Ian and Barbara wonder if they've landed back on Earth and where they could be? The Doctor emerges, telling them with alarm that the TARDIS' power system is out and needs repair. It might take some time, during which the heat system will be out; if the crew do not find shelter from the cold, they will die come nightfall! Ian and Barbara go exploring and Barbara sees what she thinks is a giant creature in skins, but Ian only sees the footprint--which looks like a fur boot. After returning to the TARDIS (where the Doctor tells them it will take him days to fix the circuit), the crew are surrounded by "creatures," which turn out to be men calling themselves Mongols in skins! Their leader, Tegana, believes the crew to be evil spirits and is about to kill them when a European man steps forward and tells him to stand down. This man is the emissary of the great Kublai Khan--Marco Polo! Polo takes them down to his camp (both because of the elements and the Doctor's "mountain sickness") where they meet Ping-Cho, the daughter of a government official, who Marco is escourting to her a man some 60 years her senior. Although Tegana (who is the emissary of a rival to the Khan, sent to supposedly make peace) still distrusts them, Marco tells the travelers he will take them and their "flying caravan" down the with him plateau to the town of Lop, where the Doctor will be able to make repairs. When they get to the town, however, Marco reveals his real plan: He, his father and uncle have been in the service of the Khan for 18 years and with to return to Venice. He believes that the gift of the amazing flying caravan will convince Kublai to let them go, taking the crew with him, of course; he thinks that they will be able to fashion another caravan in Venice! He will take them all across the Gobi Desert to the Khan's city. Kublai Khan must accept the TARDIS, Polo reasons, as it will make him so powerful that no one will stand against him! Tegana listens with interest, but the Doctor replies by laughing uproariously--the whole thing is too funny to him. Later, though, Tegana meets with a henchman who is carrying poison. They will leave just enough water for Polo's caravan to enter the desert, then poison the rest...and then, after all others are dead, Tegana will take the spoils, including the TARDIS, for himself.... Script Project Transcript of Episode

Well. As you can tell from the above, a lot happened in this episode! This was the first chance for the show to fill the "educational" portion of its remit with a historical, and it's glorious. A note about the Loose Cannon reconstruction: beyond the wonderful introduction by Marc Eden, the actor who played Polo, the backbone of the recon are the color production shots that exist. These are supplemented by hand colored b&w shots, composite pictures, and a bit of filming (the map, for example), meaning we're watching the story in color! The sets and costumes being legendary for their color, it does make sense. In fact, the whole story, since it's lost, is pretty legendary. So the question is: does it hold up to the legend?

I think the consensus of our group is YES. Yes, it does. It moves along quickly, packing a lot into 24 minutes. The writing is pretty fantastic and believable; the historical characters speak with a slightly stilted rhythm, but that's what one would expect, and it comes off as natural. The acting itself is quite good; Eden shines as Marco and Tegana is shaping up to be an excellent villain. (Schmallturm remarked that his plan at the end of the episode is one of the better plans of Doctor Who villains, regardless of the era!) True, he is played by a white English actor, but you have to recall what the profession was like in 1964...and, as "white actor playing Asian characters" go, he's inoffensive. The girl, Ping-Cho (also, I think, played by a white actress) doesn't fare quite as well, speaking with a hint of music hall chinese accent, but it's slight enough that you can just let it go by. As for the regulars, they were well served by the script as well. Barbara got the chance to be the historian and figure out when (1289) they are and who they're speaking to (Polo), Ian gave us some science facts (about altitudes and oxygen) that were rather well integrated into the script, Susan found a friend in Ping-Cho and the Doctor was his wonderful, friendly, irracible, changable, maddening fascinating self. The more I see of William Hartnell, the more I love his Doctor; truly a great development of a great character! (Since I keep track of this kind of thing, I suppose I should add that the Doctor is vulnerable to altitude sickness and that Susan's use of the 60's word "fab" is something she says they say "when they're back on Earth." Oops.)

All in all, this was a gripping episode, a great start. All of us were definitely gripped (although I think Kroroboros found the stills and slightly quiet soundtrack a bit difficult by the end) to be on the edge of our seats for next week! One last note and then I must turn this over to Ketina: I loved the "fake out" of the "monster" at the beginning. This is the first Historical, no one had any idea what to expect. Maybe it could have been a monster! A yeti? (Not yet!) The fact that it turned out to be a man in skins was a masterstroke of John Lucarotti's wonderful script. So! I will turn this over to my companion and, until next week, I remain



Ketina here,
Despite my apprehension at watching a reconstruction, I really liked this one. The plot really moved along, we didn't get bogged down running around in circles endlessly, and overall things made sense. Marco Polo's logic regarding the TARDIS was fantasic "I know some Budist monks who, given enough time, can probably get it working." Also seeing it in color, even if it was mostly stills, was super cool. They opened with the closing footage from the last story, but colorized, which set the mood excellently.
- The good: most of it. As I said, I was overall impressed with the acting and plot. Of course, I may be misled given the reconstruction was all done with stills. I also enjoyed the scientific and historical references. The explanation of the footprints for example (the snow may have melted around them, making them appear larger), altitude sickness, and explaining how altitude would impact how water boils was all really cool.
- The silly: The Doctor's inexplicable laugher towards the end, after Marco Polo threatens to give the TARDIS to Kubla Khan. Without the visuals it wasn't clear if he was hysterical or just laughing at the absurdity of the situation.
Also silly - Mongolians with British accents. And I couldn't help but sing the Indiana Jones theme as they showed the map with the line filling in to show their travels.
I'm really looking forward to next week's. It's a 7 part story, so I hope they can keep the story and pace as interesting as this first episode.



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reconstructing the Past

Some of you may have noticed that Ketina mentioned that our next story, "Marco Polo" (aka "A Journey to Cathay"), will be watched as a "Reconstruction." I thought that I should write up a post to explain what the heck we're talking about.

As most Doctor Who fans know, there are 108 episodes of the show that are still missing from the BBC archives. More information on the subject (including why the episodes are missing) can be found here. What's important for our purposes is that wonderful, dedicated, crazy fans in the 1960s and 1970s (before the era of inexpensive home video) wanted to experience the show they'd seen again and again. Since there were no reruns (with only a couple of exceptions), their only real recourse was to record each week to audiotape. So, even though we may only have clips or stills of missing episodes--and not even that much for some of them--we also have a full soundtrack (of varying quality) for each one. In addition to these audio recordings, many episodes have associated telesnaps, pictures taken from the television by photographer John Cura, mainly for promotional purposes. Sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s (sources vary), some enterprising fans thought to combine the fan-circulated audio with the newly emerging telesnaps, using video technology to sync the photos with the soundtrack and attempt to "reconstruct" the missing episode, often including what small amount of actual footage that had been recovered and captions to describe missing action that wasn't well conveyed by the soundtrack. As the years have gone on, the technology has improved and the sophistication and ambition of the fans has improved along with it. There are reconstructions that use computer constructed composite photos from many sources for episodes without telesnaps available. (Telesnaps for most of the Hartnell stories are lost, if they ever existed, as well as those for scattered Troughton episodes.) They've used CGI to add more moving images. They've even filmed new scenes that are reconstructed from old pictures, camera scripts, etc. All in all, these are remarkable fan efforts, from the most primative telesnap "recon" to the most sophisticated. It is these Reconstructions that will allow us to complete the TARDIS Project, and enable us to to see episodes and stories of the show we love that we have never been able to see in any other form.

There are only two stories in the first season of Doctor Who that are not complete in the archive, the seven episode "Marco Polo" and the six episode "The Reign of Terror." We begin the former this weekend, so I thought I should go over a few "ground rules." Although these recons are the best we are going to get (at least until more episodes are hope-against-hopefully found), watching them is obviously not the same as watching the original production. It may be much harder to get a true idea of the pacing, given that the majority of what we will be seeing (as opposed, of course, to what we will be hearing) will be still photographs. To supplement this, I plan on linking each week to the episode's transcript on the Doctor Who Script Project site. I certainly recommend checking each week's script out if you'd like to follow along! Most of the recons we'll be watching were produced by Loose Cannon Productions and I also very much recommend ordering some free (you provide the VHS tapes and the shipping) recons from them. They do fine work and I'm planning on enjoying watching every single one of their efforts, from the earliest to the most recent ("Evil of the Daleks" as of this writing, though there will be newer ones by the time we get to season four!). In fact, there are only two stories LC has yet to produce recons for, "The Web of Fear" and "The Wheel in Space." I'm not sure where I'll get those from, but I'll worry about that in a year or two!

As a discerning reader can tell, I'm sure, I am very excited about diving into the Reconstructions. Sure, they can be static (and that is a significant problem Ketina has had with the ones she's seen), but the fun of the originals show through in the sound, the dialogue, the pictures. And this is classic Doctor Who that I've never seen before...and it's difficult to get more exciting than that! So, join us for our first reconstructed episode this weekend! I can't wait! But, until then, I remain


Monday, February 23, 2009

Inside the Spaceship Wrapup

Well, it doesn't seem all that long ago we were doing this for "The Daleks," does it? At two episodes, "Inside the Spaceship" (aka "The Edge of Destruction," "Beyond the Sun" (although that last is a product of a fan error in an early reference book), etc.) is the shortest story of the first season. In fact, the story behind the story is interesting, to me at any rate. Just before production started on "Doctor Who's" first story, there was some question by higher ups as to how viable this "experiment" would be. The show was given thirteen episodes to find its feet; if people didn't take to it and (just as importantly for the BBC) if the production just didn't justify the cost, then that would be the end. Unfortunately, this requirement didn't jibe with the scripts already commissioned. In fact, thirteen episodes would only take things through the second episode of "Marco Polo!" Somehow, two extra episodes needed to be filled, but no extra budget could be allocated. Thus, we get "Inside the Spaceship," with only the four regulars and only the standing TARDIS sets. Even with the success of "The Daleks," it wasn't sure up to the filming of the first part of this story that the series would continue, which gives the Doctor's line about how "this could be the end" in episode two a certain poignancy. For the whole story of the production (and much more competently told), take a look at its "Brief History of Time (Travel)" link.

Looking at it as a whole, the story is...uneven, and there's no question that it must have been written hastily by story editor David Whitaker. The first episode, strong as it is, is pretty much let down by a good deal of the second, almost as if Whitaker had set up a problem without having figured a way out of it. Still, this is an important story for the series in many ways. It's the first story where we really explore the TARDIS--although, apparently, more than the three rooms we see exist. (The Doctor tells Barbara of its extensive wardrobe.) It's the first indication that the ship might be more than just a mechanical thing--even the Doctor is surprised by the idea that the TARDIS might think! Most importantly, we learn more about the crew themselves. The Doctor, for example, appears to have basic human anatomy; Ian is able to check his vital signs when he is injured. (One should note that only one heartbeat is evident, which is consistant with Doctor Who in the '60s. It's not until 1970's "Spearhead From Space" that the Doctor's said to have two hearts.) And the Doctor sees his companions in a new light. Ian starts to fit in as someone who the Doctor can discuss science with, as well as being the "man of action" the show sometimes requires. Barbara, on the other hand, shows a talent for problem solving and "thinking outside the box" that's a hallmark of liberal arts majors (she is, after all, a History teacher), which the Doctor can appreciate. (She'll soon also use her talent for history to the crew's advantage.) Susan...well, she got quite a bit of development in the first story, didn't she? She does emerge as Barbara's champion and helper and begins to come out of her grandfather's shadow by supporting the teachers against his wishes. And the companions (specifically Ian and Barbara) see the Doctor differently too; by the end, having survived and (apparently) helped him figure out the problem, they view him as, well, a companion instead of a rather mysterious figure. His claim that he was trying to return them home makes the Doctor less of a kidnapper and more of a, well, friend. Less alien and more personable. The Doctor appears fallible, even he doesn't quite know how the TARDIS works completely...or does he? Everything I've talked about thus far depends on a traditional, surface reading of the story, but there's another fannish interpretation that I'd not heard until recently. It's undoubtedly true that the actual solution to this story's problem is a bit weak...but what if it was intended to be? What if the whole thing was an exercise, something the Doctor cooked up to see how Ian and Barbara (and Susan, by proximity) would react and whether they could deduce a solution? This would give him a better idea of how far he could depend on them, wouldn't it? After all, hadn't he just manipulated his companions in the previous story?, I don't buy that interpretation either, but it's certainly interesting--and interesting that such a simple story could actually provoke an alternative reading!

To wrap this very long wrapup, er, up, here is a link to the BBC guide to this story, and here are the links to our story posts:

"The Edge of Destruction"
"The Brink of Disaster"

And there we have it! A lot to say about a very short story. All things going well, I'll be making another (shorter! I promise!) post prior to our next episode that'll talk about Reconstructions, but until then, I remain


Friday, February 20, 2009

"The Brink of Disaster"

Hello, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm and Krorboros. A full house tonight to watch the second and final episode of "Inside the Spaceship!" certainly was an episode of Doctor Who, wasn't it?

Episode Summary: First aired 15 February, 1964. The Doctor has snuck out to examine the controls, but before he can, hands reach for his neck--it is Ian, who appears to be under the same violent trance that affected Susan earlier! Luckily, Barbara is there to pull Ian off in time, but the Doctor insists that the attack is proof that the two Earth people really are trying to sabotage the TARDIS. As Susan joins them, the Doctor threatens to throw the two off the ship, regardless of what is outside! Barbara, however, begins to put together what could be wrong as the ship's fault locator goes wild--everything is failing! The lights are flashing in 15 second intervals, which Barbara realizes reflects the "loss of time" demonstrated by the melted clock faces. Ian and the Doctor realize what has happened: After leaving Skaro, the Doctor attempted to return the teachers to Earth by using the "Fast Return" switch...Which has become stuck down! Instead of merely returning to Earth, the ship has returned them to the Beginning...going back and back until it almost cannot go back anymore. All their problems, everything has been caused by the TARDIS defense mechanism itself, trying to warn its crew that if they don't do something, they will be destroyed! The Doctor fixes the switch and all goes back to normal. Ian makes his peace with the Doctor quickly, but Barbara and the Doctor have a heart to heart talk after the ship lands. Outside it's snowing and Susan and Barbara run out of the ship, only to discover a giant footprint....

There is no two ways about it, this episode is a real letdown after the last. The tension is still being rachetted up, but the ultimate solution is a bit...less than exciting. A faulty switch, fixed in moments? True, it's the mystery that's the important thing, but the "clues" we are given are...not exactly easy to parse. (Ok, melted clock faces=time taken away, I get that. But how do the fault lights "give time back"? Is it simply the interval they flash in? And, ok, the scanner images show us the idea of going back in time for a solar system, but what's the significance of the doors opening and closing?)

Not that it was all bad, by no means. The Doctor's speech, midway through the episode, about the beauty of the birth of a solar system (or the universe? was David Whitaker confused in his terms) was wonderful. Hartnell portrays the Doctor's obvious wonder at the very workings of the universe very well. Jacquelin Hill also absolutely shines this week; we've seen a small amount of development for Barbara (in her flirting with Ganetus, for example), but it's here we really start to get inside the character. Her ingenuity, her force of character are evident and very well portrayed. Unfortunately, William Russell's Ian and Carole Ann Ford's Susan are less well served (certainly less than they were last week), but this is really Barbara's story--hers and the Doctor's, of course. That scene where the two characters have their heart-to-heart is just wonderful. "As we learn about others, we learn more about ourselves." Simply wonderful.

Still, as I said above, we were all united in being less than impressed by this episode as a whole. But I have great hopes for next week...a giant footprint? What on Earth (or off it) could it mean? (Yes, of course, I have an idea, but it is a story I've never seen before....) And now, I'll turn things over to Ketina. Until next week, I remain



Ketina here,

Yeah, that was as bad as I remembered. The plot, what there was of it, made no sense. There wasn't a solid explanation as to why the crew were acting crazy and paranoid, why the TARDIS doors kept opening, why the scanner was showing random beach and prehistoric scenes, why the clocks melted, etc. By the time they discover the stuck button I wanted to slap The Doctor (or more accurately the writers) upside the head. Yes, you can make the excuse that this script was written in a weekend, but that means I can make the excuse to never want to see it again.

Okay, that was a bit harsh of me. There were a few redeeming moments. I did like the character growth for Barbara. And The Doctor's monologue about the creation of a solar system (or really, more accurately galaxy) was good. But that's about the only good bits in this half of the story. Susan can stop freaking out any time now, really,

Plot aside, this story does supply some of the ground work that we see in later Doctor Who lore. The TARDIS as an intelligence for example. In this story The Doctor describes the TARDIS as simply a machine, computers being powered by a massive energy source. However, at the end of the episode he admits that there may be more to the ship than that. In much later stories it's established that the TARDIS is not only intelligent, but telepathic with a personality. It's also seems apparent that The Doctor doesn't know as much about the TARDIS as he lets on, which is supported in future stories as well.

That's all for me next week. Next week we begin going a relatively long serious of reconstructed episodes. We'll see how long it lasts before I'm begging The Historian to pick up the pace!



Saturday, February 14, 2009

"The Edge of Destruction"

Hello, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn and Kroroboros, watching the first episode in the third serial. I think I can charitably say there were differences of opinion this week, so let's get to it!

Episode summary: First aired 8 February, 1964. Leaving Skaro, something happens in the TARDIS and the crew unconscious on the floor. Barbara awakes, discovering the others and has problems for a moment remembering who they are. She discovers the Doctor has a cut on his forehead as Susan awakens, seeming very disoriented. As Susan goes to get things to bind her grandfather's wound, Ian wakes up, showing signs of memory loss. Susan returns and sees the TARDIS doors are open, which is very dangerous. She tries to close them, but receives a shock and faints. Barbara helps the Doctor as Ian takes Susan to her bed where she awakens and tries to attack him with a pair of scissors, then faints again. Barbara begins to wonder if someone or something might have slipped into the ship while everyone was unconscious. Eventually (to make a short story less long), the crew gathers and the Doctor accuses Ian and Barbara of sabotage! Barbara confronts the Doctor, telling him if anyone should be considered suspicious, it's him--he kidnapped them, he tricked them into exploring the Dalek city, and Ian and Barbara have continually saved his and Susan's lives! She then turns towards the clock, only to discover that its face was melting--as are the faces of every watch the crew owns! It is obvious that no one is thinking clearly and the Doctor suggests everyone have a small drink and sleep on it, bringing their wits to the problem in the "morning." However, after everyone else is asleep, the Doctor sneaks out to the controls. He turns and discovers hands reaching out to clutch him around his neck.....

Well. There was certainly a difference of opinion about this episode. I loved it. Ketina...did not. Famously or infamously, this is the "emergency" story that script editor David Whitaker had to quickly write to fill a hole in the schedule, the catch being no guest cast or new sets. As such, he decided to make this a psychological examination of the crew, throwing them all off balance. The characters essentially have concussions--which explains some of Susan's irrational behavior, everyone's memory losses, etc. I find the whole thing really fantastic, seeing the TARDIS (which now appears to be a control room and a sleeping area, not the huge ship of the future stories), watching the characters just thrown into extremes and not quite understanding one another...this is a story that really will either drive them apart of forge them together as a unit. And then there's the question of why this is happening, what caused the TARDIS' apparent fault? Is the odd and extreme behavior caused by the (apparent) concussions or by some outside force, as Barbara and Susan guess? Well, you'll have to tune in next week to find out...and I simply cannot imagine anyone not wanting to!

Kroboros liked the simplicity of the story. There was a lot going on, but it was all confined to the four people and one area. He was intrigued and wondered what was going on, but in a way that made him want to know rather than frustrated him. He's looking forward to hopefully seeing what happens next week! Ronelyn, however, wishes to reserve judgement until she's seen the rest of the story to see if it goes somewhere or just, kind of, peters out.

And, as I said, I can't wait until next week either! I'll turn this over to Ketina, for her...divergent opinion. Until we meet again, I remain



Ketina here.
I'm tempted to have said I loved the episode now, just to be contrary to what The Historian has said. :P
The last time I saw this story, which was many years ago, I recall significantly disliking it. Not much has changes in the intervening years. It's about 4 paranoid, partially amnesiac people running around in circles inexplicably. Okay, they don't literally run around in circles, but the plot doesn't make a lot of sense. Unlike the other viewers, I just found this frustrating.
There was also much silliness and overacting - Susan's gonna need to see a dentist soon because of all the scenery stuck in her teeth. She also had "big hair" syndrome, along with messy hair, neat hair, and just plain inconsistent hair.
I was very amused by the bedtime wear - Susan and Barbara have dark comfy P.J.s, and Ian had quite the sharp smoking jacket. But if I ever tried to sleep in one of those space age beds I would have fallen out the first time I rolled over in my sleep. I want my pillow and blanket!
I was also confused by the melting clock effect. Okay, I get that the clock and various watches are melting (what is time traveller Susan doing wearing a watch?), but why does this deserve the freakout reaction from the girls typically reserved for dead bodies and big scary monsters?

Sorry I broke format this week, but I can't think of a "good" and it was pretty much all silly. :) Hopefully next week will explain the inexplicableness of next week. But anything short of 2/3rds of the crew being possessed, or some kind of bouncy possession, I have a difficult time believing this will make any sense to me.

That's all for me this week.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Daleks Wrapup

The Historian here, celebrating the TARDIS Project's completion of Doctor Who's second serial, "The Daleks!" It's difficult to know where to begin in an assessment of this story, given its (I think it's fair to say) overwhelming importance to the show as a whole. Without the Daleks, Doctor Who in its original "entertain and educate" remit might have lasted a year or two and be remembered by a few people who watched it as kids. But the Daleks, they changed everything, infuriating BBC Head of Drama (and Doctor Who creator) Sydney Newman, who initially saw them as the "Bug Eyed Monsters" he'd specifically demanded the show not feature. Thankfully for us, producer Verity Lambert stuck to her guns and defended the script and production...and the rest is history. Or, in our case, still to come!

And it should come as no surprise that the Daleks did change things, after the comparatively tedious caveman action of "100,000 BC." This story is dynamic and exciting and, unlike the previous one, has compelling villains. The Daleks are cold, maniacal, paranoid, and terrifying. Unlike Kal, Za, etc., it's the Daleks' pure inhumanity (made manifest in their wonderful alien design by Raymond Cusick) that makes their menace to frightening. In comparison, the Thals come off as a bit dull (but who wouldn't?), but even their story of the peaceful farmers who must relearn to fight to defend their existance gives the story its forward movement. And the development of the main cast (which, according to the documentary we watched after finishing the final episode, was added mainly by script editor David Whittaker, rather than writer Terry Nation), especially that of the Doctor, also keeps the audience watching. In only eleven episodes, we already feel a connection to these four people, a connection that will continue (and change!) as the series does. The story certainly has its flaws--it's probably about an episode too long, for one--but I think I can be confident in saying that we at the Project thoroughly enjoyed watching it!

As will, I hope become usual, here are the links: here is the official BBC episode guide listing for "The Daleks." Of just as much interest, to my mind, is Shannon Sullivan's continuing history of the show's production. Here's the entry relating the production of this story.

And, for those of you who might want to look back at the TARDIS Project's entries, here are some handy links:
"The Dead Planet"
"The Survivors"
"The Escape"
"The Ambush"
"The Expedition"
"The Ordeal"
"The Rescue"

And there we have it! Join us next week for the first part of "Inside the Spaceship" (aka "The Edge of Destruction"), where we'll learn more about the mysterious TARDIS and it's inhabitants--more than even they now know--as each member of the crew's limits are tested in ways they couldn't expect! Until then, I remain


Friday, February 6, 2009

"The Rescue"

(Not the last time we'll see this episode title!)

Hello all, the Historian here, along with Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm and Kroroboros, gathered to watch this final episode of the second serial. Let's get to it!

Episode summary: First aired 1st February, 1963. Ian is holding onto the stone wall for dear life, but Antodys cuts the rope, falling to his death. Ian and Barbara's party discover a path into the Dalek city. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Susan, having been captured last episode, are pleading with the Daleks not to release their radiation bomb (essentially) into the atmosphere, where it will kill everything--except the Daleks, of course. But their pleas fall on deaf ears. Alydon meanwhile begins the frontal assault of the city, eventually meeting up with Ian's party. They discover the control room, and a battle ensues, during which the release mechanism for the bomb is disabled and, somehow, the Dalek power source is destroyed. Without their power, the Daleks die. Later, the Doctor and his companions take their leave of the Thals. The Doctor tells Alydon that perhaps he'll be back to check on their grandchildren and Barbara and Ganetus have a touching farewell. The TARDIS takes off, surprising the Thals. Inside, though, something goes terribly wrong. Their is an explosion in the central console, and the crew falls, blacking out....

A strong ending to this groundbreaking serial. I quite liked it; Terry Nation did a fine job of keeping the tension ratcheted up, especially using the Dalek bomb countdown. Will Ian and company get there in time? Just a nice job. The actors are generally well-served by the script, though (I have to admit) there was some occasional giggling. One shortcoming in the script I have to mention, though, was the somewhat...vague way the Dalek power was destroyed. My theory was a bit more complex than was probably necessary: the Daleks had stopped their reactors to gather the radiation and thus stopped their reactors from making power...somehow. Thus, they destroyed themselves. Somehow. Of course, Schmallturm's theory of "something got destroyed in the battle and the power got destroyed" is probably closer to Nation's rather vague thinking.

The development of the Doctor's character continued nicely. Note that when the Daleks are destroyed, Ian's first thought was to fix the TARDIS, whereas the Doctor insists that the first thing they must do is examine the Daleks' reactors to ensure no radiation is leaking. He then takes the time to check the soil to give the Thals' advice in survival. In fact, he is much more convivial to his new friends, a much friendlier, more helpful Doctor. Barbara gets some time to shine as well, with her flitation with Ganetus takes a momentary serious turn...but she still goes back to Ian and the crew in the TARDIS, rather than remaining.

All in all, even with last episode's slow...episode, I've quite enjoyed "The Daleks." A great baddie, the coldly logical, scientific Daleks, fearful and hating all others are a fantastic creation and this is a great beginning to a very long legacy.


Ketina here,

Getting right to it, The Good - yay, an episode that clips right along! For once I didn't get the feeling of running around in circles (although they did a bit) or suffer long drawn out bits where nothing happened. Lots of juice, if unintentionally humorous action, a bit of suspence, and a nice clear resolution and lead into next week.
I also found interesting the parting scene between Barbara and the Thal who was infatuated with her. A bit of touching melancholy, yet didn't go over the top.

The fun - at one point Barbara does say "it's easy to get lost in here as the coridors all look alike," which given that they were basically walking down over and over from multiple angles.

The silly - the fight choreography was pretty goofy in this one. Almost disappointing after the pretty impressive one from the cavemen story. And there was one Dalek destroyed at the end who's eye stalk goes straight up in the air after a rather whiny death cry that was pretty snicker worthy.

Okay, that's all from me for this week, as the laptop battery's going...