Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas from the TARDIS Project!

The above is the remarkable work of Garrett Gilchrist, main artist and animator for the WHOSPRITES Project. If you have any animation talent and free time, why not volunteer to help bring parts of the 108 lost episodes back?

As always, thanks for reading and a very Happy Christmas to all of you at home! At the moment, we're still on track for a new episode review on 1st January, so see you in the new year!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Project on hold for the holidays

Due to various Project member commitments, not to mention the fact that we didn't feel like taking a break right in the middle of a two part story, we've decided to take a small Christmas break and reconvene in the new year. Join us on (we hope) 1st January 2010 for "The Powerful Enemy!"

(Oh, and look for our vaguely traditional Christmas greeting later this week!)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" wrapup

Hello everyone, the Historian here. A little under a year ago, I wrote about how the Daleks' first story "changed everything" for the then-brand new Doctor Who. Just under a year later, the Daleks returned to the show in a story that has just as much significance as their first.

In fact, "first" is a key word when discussing this story. The first cast change, as Carole Ann Ford left the show. The first major production change as David Whitaker departed as story editor. The first returning monster. The first time significant location filming was done using the principal cast. The end of the series' first production block, when a second season was at first in doubt, and then assured. Heck, this story was the first time Doctor Who filmed in a quarry!

But let's leave all of that aside for the moment and talk about the story itself. From the first moments of the first episode, the story grips us and keeps our attention through the following weeks...although I have to admit, it dips a bit during the fourth episode. Nation's script, with Whitaker's contributions, is about the triumph of the human spirit over incredible odds. A theme the show will come back to again and again, yes, but I'm not sure if Doctor Who ever again brought us such a stark illustration of those odds. Over the six episodes, we see the incredible devastation, both physical and (far more importantly) spiritual that the Dalek invasion has brought to humanity. We're introduced to rebels, struggling ineffectually against a foe they plainly don't fully understand (when the Daleks' plan is revealed, it takes everyone by surprise); they range from the adventuresome (David) to the crusader (Dortmun) to the cynic infected by despair (Jenny) to the pragmatic (Tyler). And yet, even the most optimistic of them are ultimately overcome by the scope of the destruction of humanity...until our friends, who are not of that time and have not been infected by despair, come to rally them, to investigate and to help the humans of the twenty-second century free themselves from the Daleks.

All right, I'll stop. I promise. Let's just say that this story wasn't merely groundbreaking, but possibly exceeded some of the similar stories that would follow it.

I'd be remiss in not talking about the departure of Susan. Despite the occasional bursts of character in stories like "Marco Polo" and "The Sensorites," I don't think anyone wouldn't be able to understand Carole Ann Ford's frustration at Susan's lack of development. Especially given how much Barbara and Ian received. Apparently, she made plenty of suggestions to the production team which were ignored (though what little I've heard of them has me grateful about that). Taking all of that into account, Ford still managed to portray a character who we've cared about (Ketina's annoyance with her screaming aside) and who it is believable that the Doctor, Barbara and Ian would care about. Indeed, the bond between the Doctor and Susan especially feels real; it's no surprise that William Hartnell was reportedly very upset at Ford's decision to leave the show. And, of course, Susan manages to leave on a high note, with one of the most believable romances in Doctor Who history. I'm pretty sure I mentioned how realistic the young love between Susan and David feels, youthful exuberance in the face of armageddon. We couldn't help but compare it to other "companion gets married off" stories to come and the Susan/David romance is leaps and bounds above almost all of them. Some fine writing from Nation and Whitaker.

And that gives us a good transition to talking about David Whitaker's departure as story editor. He had worked on the show for the first year of production, but as the production block ended, Whitaker decided to move on. He'd be replaced by a familiar name, Dennis Spooner, who had written the earlier story, "The Reign of Terror." Whitaker deserves a lot of credit for the show's success, having commissioned and, in some cases, done doctoring on many of the scripts as well as writing the character development filled "Inside the Spaceship." Although he would return to write scripts for the series (indeed, he wrote the story we'll begin next week), this story ends Whitaker's formal relationship as a member of the Doctor Who office. For more production information, check out Shannon Sullivan's page for this story.

And, after all these preliminaries, here are the links to our episode posts:
"World's End"
"The Daleks"
"Day of Reckoning"
"The End of Tomorrow"
"The Waking Ally"

And, as always, here is the official BBC episode guide page for this story.

Coming up next, a new companion and a new adventure! Until then, I remain


Friday, December 11, 2009


Hello everyone, the Historian here, along with the regular crew of Ketina, Ronelyn and Schmallturm, bringing you the last episode in this epic of the Daleks' invasion of Earth. Without further ado, let's get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 26 December 1964. The bomb is closed around Ian and begins to move to be dropped into the shaft.....Ian frantically pulls at wires as, above, the Daleks monitor the bomb's progress. He manages to short the thing out, stopping its descent, but a team of Robomen haul it back up the shaft using a long rope. Ian manages to open a trap door at the base of the bomb and uses the rope to lower himself into the shaft. Unfortunately, Dalek monitors have discovered him emerging and a Dalek, finding Ian dangling, fires at the rope. It snaps, sending Ian sliding down the shaft. He comes to a turn, hits his head on the wall and is knocked unconscious...Back in the Dalek centre, Barbara and Jenny are marched towards the control room. Barbara whispers to her friend that she will keep the Daleks occupied while Jenny tries and destroy whatever equipment they can, but are immediately silenced by the Dalek who is escorting them. As they enter the room, the two women overhear the Black Dalek being told that the explosive is almost repaired. The Black Dalek orders that the Robomen herd the humans into the area where they will be killed by the explosion; the humans, no longer useful, will be exterminated! Barbara and Jenny take note of which device a Dalek uses to issue orders to the Robomen. Barbara whispers that they could use the device to make the Robomen attack the Daleks! Just then, the Black Dalek notices them and demands the information about the rebellion that Barbara claimed to have. When she tries to show it Dortmun's plans, the Black Dalek insists on hard information. Using a hodgepodge of historical names and allusions, Barbara attempts to distract and bamboozle the Daleks as Jenny tries, unsuccessfully, to edge her way towards a control panel. Finally having panicked the Daleks, Barbara uses the moment to run to the Robomen control machine. Before she can get an order out, the Daleks recover and capture the two women. They will be held in the HQ to die in the explosion! Meanwhile, the Doctor and Tyler use binoculars to examine the Dalek installation from the clif face. As David and Susan join them, the Doctor has formed a plan; he sends the young people to destroy a wired attached to a metal aerial on the other side of the crater using the acid in Dortmun's remaining bombs. Meanwhile, he and Tyler will enter the mineworks and attempt to sneak into the Dalek HQ. Ian recovers consciousness and discovers he has landed near a hatch in the wall. He manages to get it open, but is nearly caught by a Roboman who is driving a group of humans hauling timber on the other side. He manages to get the hatch closed before he is seen. The Black Dalek is told that the bomb repairs are finished and it orders the evacuation of Daleks to the surface, where they will be picked up by saucers before the explosion. Outside, the Doctor manages to destroy the alarm attached to the outer door and he and Tyler cautiously enter the HQ. Back in the shaft, Ian cautiously opens the hatch again. He crawls through and then has an idea. He drags some of the timbers and positions them out the hatch into the shaft. At this point, the Daleks launch the bomb again, but, unbeknownst to the Daleks, Ian's plan works and it is halted by the timbers laid across the shaft! The Doctor and Tyler hide on either side of a doorway as the single-minded Daleks file past them and out of the building. They see Barbara and Jenny, trapped against a wall by magnets stuck around their necks. Releasing them, the Doctor and Barbara are overjoyed to see each other, although the Doctor continues to worry about Ian. Still there is no time for that; Barbara explains the Daleks' plan to the Doctor and he is immediately more determined than ever to stop them. He goes to a scanner and adjusts the frequency to monitor Susan and David's progress in destroying the wire. He is delighted to see they have almost been successful already. Unfortunately, altering the frequency has triggered an alarm, alerting the one Dalek left on the base. It bears down on the Doctor, who stands there calmly, as if daring the Dalek to exterminate him...just before it can do so, the Dalek suddenly becomes inactive! Susan and David have been successful in destroying what the Doctor knew had to have been the source of the Daleks' transmitted power in the area, and all of the Daleks not in the saucers are incapacitated. The Dalek facing the Doctor overheats and is destroyed! Barbara now tells the Doctor about the Robomen order control and he immediately grasps her plan. The two issue orders to the Robomen to destroy the Daleks! They are joined by the human workers, pouring out of the caverns and overwhelming the immobile Daleks. Ian, heading for the control room where he hopes to find Barbara, meets her, the Doctor, Tyler and Jenny. He tells them of his sabotage of the shaft, but the Doctor realizes the bomb will explode within minutes; they must escape quickly! They join Susan, David and Wells on the cliffs outside the mineworks and watch in horror as a huge explosion envelops the mine, causing magma to flow--a volcanic explosion in England! The Doctor delightedly notes that the Dalek saucers, hovering to pick up their comrades, had all been destroyed by the back draft from the explosion. Tyler and Jenny stand, stunned. What they had never allowed themselves to hope for has come to is over. But what next? Later, back in London, Wells and a team finish clearing the debris from the front of the TARDIS. Tyler is thrilled by how much of London survived the firebombing and the Doctor tells him the hard work of rebuilding the planet must now begin. He believes Tyler and his friends are up to the task. The two are surprised and delighted as Big Ben chimes for the first time in years. Susan, meanwhile, sits alone. The Doctor joins her, concerned about an apparent injury, but it is only her shoe that is damaged, not her foot. The Doctor takes it to repair, but he seems to be feeling a bit awkward with her. The two try to find things to say to each other, then the Doctor goes to check on the ship. As he approaches its doors, he sees David approach and Susan go to join him. The Doctor enters the TARDIS, looking sad, as the two young people begin to talk. David confesses his love for Susan and asks her to stay. She, painfully, says she cannot leave her grandfather. But she loves him too. She is torn, wanting to stay, but feeling she must leave, and she begs David not to make her choose. Just then, Ian and Barbara approach to say goodbye to David. Ian natters on, not realizing what has gone on, but Barbara is more perceptive and finally pulls him away into the ship. Inside, the Doctor, looking sadly at Ian and Barbara, touches a switch on the console. Susan and David begin a painful goodbye, but are surprise when they see the TARDIS door snap shut! From inside the ship, the Doctor informs Susan he has double locked the doors; she cannot get in. For he has realized that his beloved granddaughter is now a woman and her future lies with David, not an old man. "One day," he tells her, "I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, Susan, goodbye, my dear." And the Doctor activates the controls. Susan and David watch as the TARDIS fades away, leaving Susan and David Campbell to begin their new lives together. As they walk away, Susan leaves her TARDIS key on the ground where she dropped it....

*Sniff* Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye...

Ahem. Yes, well, here we are at the end of a second Dalek story, seeing this outpost of the creatures foiled and destroyed by the very humans they thought they had conquered. A fine ending to a very strong story, I think. Not without its weak points, but certainly the good far outweighs the bad. I'll have more to say about the story and its themes in the wrapup post (I always seem to steal material from myself for these last episodes, so I'll try to refrain), so let's try to stick to this week itself.

This episode had two moments that just out and out some of the gutsiest (is that a word? I doubt it, but I hope you know what I mean) in the show's history thus far. Barbara's wonderful mishmosh of history (which predictably delighted me) while trying to distract the Daleks is incredibly brave and shows us how far she's come from the terrified woman who first met the creatures a year ago. She is well aware of what they can do, but she is willing to lose her life to stop them from destroying the Earth. Just fantastic. The other moment is, of course, the Doctor's supreme confidence in his own plans, facing down a Dalek as it comes straight at him, gun stick at the ready. He doesn't even flinch!

The other extraordinary thing in this episode is, of course, the ending with David, Susan and the Doctor. "He knew you could never leave him," David says, and it's a testament to the Doctor's growth that he is able to let Susan go. Remember how protective he was of her back on the Sense-Sphere? The scene is just written and played beautifully by Hartnell (the look of pain on his face as he realizes what he must do!) and Peter Fraser; Carole Ann Ford is also very good, though I felt she went a little over the top with her sobbing. Still, they all combined to produce a rather touching farewell.

Once again, though, we come back to the stupidity of the Daleks' plan. Ian foiled it with some wood. Admittedly, the Daleks weren't counting on any of the humans being brave or smart enough to ever think of a way to do anything--and they'd have been right if not for our friends. Still...Ian, actually, is the one who comes off as kind of, well, not given much to do this week. His scenes, although apparently important, were a little mediocre this week. He pulls some wires, he falls, he opens and closes a hatch, he sticks some logs out of the hatch. That's basically it. Sure, he basically foils the Daleks' plans, but his scenes feel ineffectual; they're the weak link of this episode. Well, them and the stock footage. As Ronelyn pointed out, none of the footage worked together at all, and almost none of it, with the exception of the running magma, matched the script. (Let me see if I can remember: we have water destroying an embankment, flowing magma and nuclear explosions. Kind of in that order. I may have missed something too.)

And then, there were the gaffes. Hartnell makes a few Billy-fluffs (though I suspect it's Terry Nation's script that is responsible for once again confusing a constellation with a solar system, not Hartnell), there are some problems with props (Jenny's "magnet," for example, doesn't seem to hold her to the wall very well)...but it's the Dalek who looks right at the Doctor as it runs off to the surface that killed us. It's obvious that the operator didn't realize which way the top with the eyestalk was pointing...and the director decided to keep rolling anyway.

Something I feel compelled to mention is our first real "EXTERMINATE!" Not "exterminated," not "KILL," but a full fledged "THE HUMANS MUST BE EXTERMINATED! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" The first time we really hear what would become the Daleks' warcry/ catchphrase!

And I believe I should let that close my portion of this week's post. So, the Doctor, Ian and Barbara will move on and so shall we. Next week, a new adventure! Until then, I remain



Ketina here,

Let's see, how about this week's highlights - both good and bad, in general chronological order this time:

- First, Ian yanking on the wires from the inside of the bomb to sabotage it. Shouldn't it have been dark in that bomb? How come Ian could see to pull the right wires?
- Then Ian's inexplicable slide down the shaft, landing with no apparent injury beyond a yet more torn jacket.
- As Barbara and Jenny are escorted to the Dalek control room they make their plan immediately in front of the Dalek leading them! "I'M RIGHT HERE. I CAN HEAR YOU."
- Loved Barbara's distracting the Daleks with the spontaneous history lesson. Not so keen on the physical interactions with the Daleks in that scene however. Capture by plunger!
- Okay, I eventually got what Ian did with the logs to block the mine shaft, but at the time he was doing it, it didn't make much sense.
- The hatch Ian took from the mine shaft into the hallway looked like a huge bottle cork. I actually thought it looked cool, but very weird nevertheless.
- Wobbly magnet restraints. Jenny saying "I can't move it" while visibly moving and barely keeping it attached to the wall. It's one thing to have faulty props. It's another to point out how "good" they are when they are obviously acting faulty.
- Dancing Dalek conga line.
- As the Doctor and Tyler hide outside the control room the line of Daleks pass by them. As they do I'm thinking "good thing Daleks doing have good peripheral vision" just as a Dalek slides by look to his left exactly at the Doctor! Guess they don't have any vision!
- Over the top scenes of Robomen and humans attacking the Daleks. "Don't break the props! Don't break the props!"
- Followed shortly by relatively unrelated stock footage of exploding nuke, landslide, avalanche, and volcanic eruption. Please, choose one, or the other, or the other other, but not both, thanks.
- But it all ends with the fantastic scene with Susan, the Doctor, David, and her shoe, as she tries to decide between her grandfather and her new love, with the Doctor finally making the decision for her. I particularly loved the bit where Ian is trying to ask David random stuff and Barbara is tugging oblivious Ian away so that Susan and David can say goodbye (or not say goodbye, as the ended up).
- And the final shot of Susan's TARDIS key shown where she dropped in on the ground where the TARDIS was previously standing. Very cool

So, overall lots of good mixed with lots of not quite as good. :)



Saturday, December 5, 2009

"The Waking Ally"

Hello everyone, and apologies for the delay in posting. Ketina, Ronelyn and I did watch the episode last night, but we wound up running a bit late. Although we discussed it last night, I delayed the post to give me a bit more time to write up the summary today. So, without further ado...

Episode summary: First aired 19 December 1964. Ian and Larry run, but discover the pit's cliff face in front of them as the Slyther comes closer! Larry tries to dodge, but winds up falling, just barely catching the side of a scoop bucket hanging over the pit and saving himself. Ian manages to jump into the scoop and pulls Larry up. The Slyther attempts to follow, but the two men fend it off with rocks in the scoop and it falls to its death. Larry suggests getting out of there, but Ian is afraid that the fight might have been heard and says they should lie low for a bit. At Dalek HQ, the Black Dalek is informed that the shaft has been finished and crews have been dispatched to clean out the debris. The "waste bucket" will be lowered to take the rocks out. Said bucket happens to be the scoop Ian and Larry are hiding in, and so they descend into the earth...Meanwhile, the Doctor, Susan, David and Tyler return to the sewers, hoping to avoid more Robomen patrols. Two of the human robots have followed them, however, and look down through the entrance to see the group. The Doctor suggests letting them both descend so neither can escape to bring reinforcements, but Tyler attacks the first while the second Roboman is still on the ladder. In the fight, one Roboman is killed, but the Doctor merely clubs the other into unconsciousness with his cane, saving Tyler. He is about to shoot the unconscious one, but the Doctor stops him, saying he (the Doctor) never takes life unless he is directly threatened. The group goes on, towards Bedford. Outside, a storm has begun and Barbara and Jenny, almost to the mine, search for shelter. They find a house and enter, only to discover it is already inhabited by two ragged-looking women, one old and one around Susan's age. Jenny, frightened by the women's hostility, wants to leave, but the women tell them that there is a pack of wild dogs, feral since the plague, who roam the woods. The women tell Barbara and Jenny that the Daleks let them live here to make clothes for the mine workers. Barbara tells them that they are making for the mine to find some friends. The old woman is still a bit hostile until Barbara offers to share some food with them. After that, the old woman shows the two where they can sleep. She pulls the girl aside and whispers something to her. The girl takes up a bundle of clothing to deliver and makes to go out. When Jenny suspiciously asks how she will avoid the wild dogs, the old woman says that she has made this journey many times before. Larry and Ian are still descending. The heat and the pressure have increased--they are obviously far underground. The bucket stops about 12 feet from the bottom. Ian jumps down safely, but Larry stumbles and lands on his knee. When he tries to get up, he discovers he cannot walk without aid. The two men limp to cover. Back at the hut, the old woman has started to prepare dinner. As they eat, she talks about seeing London as a girl, before the devastation, but she seems nervous. Suddenly, the girl returns and the two women cower in a corner as two Daleks glide through the door! They order Barbara and Jenny to come with them or die! As the prisoners exit, the old woman and the girl gloat over the food the Daleks have given them in exchange for information. As the old woman watches Barbara and Jenny being taken away, the girl greedily licks sugar off her fingers...Ian looks at Larry's knee. It's not broken, but Larry still can't walk. The two are baffled by the mine set-up; although the Daleks has access to high-tech mining equipment, none of it seems to be present; all the Daleks seem to be having their slaves do is move rock. The question remains: what are they digging for? Larry reminds Ian of his brother Paul's theory that the Daleks wish to remove the magnetic core of the Earth. Could they be just sinking shafts to find it? Ian decides to scout, leaving Larry, but almost immediately runs into a work party, headed up by Wells and guarded by Robomen. The two men decide to "join" the work party in order to get away, but are immediately stopped by a Roboman who realizes that there are too many people. Larry is shocked to discover that the Roboman confronting them is his brother, Paul! He appeals to Paul's memories, but the creature who was once his brother appears completely robotized. He calls them runaways and says they will be punished. Ian tries to drag Larry away, but Larry, in despair, leaps at his brother and attacks him. Robo-Paul shoots his brother, but Larry manages to kill Paul, whose last word, mumbled as he dies, is "Larry..." An alarm sounds and the miners return, led by Wells. They drag the bodies away and Ian retreats. Back in the countryside, Susan is cooking dinner over a fire when she is surprised by David. The two playfully wrestle and giggle...and then kiss. But they quickly push away from each other as Tyler and the Doctor (who has no doubt as to what was happening between the young man and his granddaughter) return for dinner. Sitting down to eat, the Doctor says that, after seeing the installation, he believes the mineworks to be the Daleks' main base on Earth. He asks Tyler why the resistance was not concentrated here and the other replies that they fought the Daleks where they could. There was no indication that the mine was anything special; the assumption was that the Daleks simply wishes to conquer humanity. No, the Doctor says, humans are only work machines to the Daleks. They must be looking for something specific. They are digging down to tamper with the forces of Earth's creation, and the Doctor and his friends must stop them! Ian hides as a work force passes him. He is overjoyed to see Barbara among them! Thankfully, so is Wells, and Ian pulls the man aside, asking him to take a message to the tall, dark haired woman. Meanwhile, Barbara and Jenny drag baskets loaded with rocks to the scoop. Jenny, dispirited, is ready to give up, but Barbara reminds her of all they've done. They can't give up now, she says. If only they could get into the Dalek control room, maybe they could do something. Suddenly, she remember's Dortmun's notes. Barbara approaches a Dalek and says she has information about rebel plans. As proof, she shows them the notes, but demands to be taken to someone in authority before she says anything more. After silent consultation, the Dalek agrees to take Barbara and Jenny to the Black Dalek. Just as Wells tries to deliver Ian's message, the two women are led off. Wells suggests Ian hide himself further into the diggings. In the control room, the Black Dalek is told that the main shaft is four miles away from the Earth's core. The next move is to send their detonation device in to destroy it, eliminating the planet's gravitational and magnetic forces. Ian discovers he has wandered into a Dalek laboratory. Hearing two Daleks approach, he hides in what seems to be a little cubbyhole. The Black Dalek broadcasts an announcement, saying that their plans have almost come to culmination. They will destroy the Earth's core and replace it with a propulsion unit, enabling the Daleks to pilot it anywhere in the universe. Ian, in his hiding place, listens with growing horror. The Daleks are ordered to load the explosive device. Ian is horrified to realize that it is inside this device that he is hidden! The device is closed around him and begins to move to be dropped into the shaft.....


Ketina here,

Okay, so we're going to try the dictated discussion this week, like we did a few weeks ago. We started later that usual, and figured this way would be a little more expedient (and possibly more fun as well). So here we go!

H - The Historian
K - Ketina
R - Ronelyn

H: I thought it was a good episode, but a bit uneven.

R: Yeah.

H: Beginning at the beginning... the interesting thing about the fight with the Slyther is that it didn't work for a strange reason. We've made fun of the incidental music, but this scene lacked music at all. I think music would have made it more exciting. The sound effects were off.

R: We did hear it plop when it hit the ground.

H: But much faster than we should have. It made the pit seem a lot smaller.

K: I thought the sound effect were off for most of the entire episode.

H: It seemed like, for at least the majority of the scenes, that the sound effects were just absent. Like Tyler's gun didn't go off.

R: I heard a click noise.

K: Me too (and please pause your thought if you still hear me typing... I'm not caught up yet).

H: Heh. "Inside of the brain of the TARDIS project. We only have one and we share it around all the time."

R: "Yes, I don't like to use it, it wears out the batteries"

K: So, we were saying? Something about sound effect... god, I can't believe I actually just typed up that tangent...

H: So, I'd say that the clear highlights of the episode were obviously:
- The women in the forest
- The scene between Susan and David

K: Dude, my favorite line EVAR... "Yes, I see something is cooking." Saucy old man.

H: Yes, "Susan's an excellent cook. Hohoho!"

R: "Maybe I'll finally be able to get in the TARDIS bathroom in less and an hour and a half..."

H: What I liked about it was that it felt very natural. The whole relationship with Susan and David doesn't feel artificial or forced, which you usually don't get on this type of show. Everything leads up to the kiss, of course! The scene just worked for me in every way.

K: Definitely. The thing I remembered the most about this story was the Susan and David relationship.

H: One of the things I remembered the most was the women in the woods.

K: Really?

H: Yeah. I mentioned last week that there was cool stuff coming up, and this is what I was thinking of. It gets back to the theme that we were talking about for the first three weeks, the breakdown of society and absolute despair. They turned Barbara and Jenny in for a little bit of food, an orange, and a bag of sugar. That last shot of the girl licking the sugar off her hand was chilling.

R: And I imagine in 1960's England that rationing would have been within living memory.

H: Rationing ended in 1954. So only the young children watching the show wouldn't have remembered it. The idea would have resonated with the older members of the family viewing the show.
There were other good bits as well. I thought William Russell (Ian) did a fine job. The reaction shot when he heard the full plan, he looked suitably horrified. It didn't look like he was mugging for the scene.

R: Yeah, you could see him thinking "oh god, this isn't going to end well for me."

H: It's not going to end well for anyone. I also though the final model shot wasn't too bad. It was a little shaky but it's early days for them to be doing model work.

K: I thought the models were cute. The they looked like little tiny things.

H: Well, they were little tiny things.

K: But models in movies are supposed to look big even when they're little. And these just looked little. And cute. I like miniatures (Ketina gestures to the giant pile of D&D miniatures behind her... at least she will as soon as she takes a short break from typing... )

*return from short break*

H: Hahaha! You are very silly, Ketina.
Okay, what I was going to say...

R: Before you were so nonsensically interrupted.

H: ...was that the scenes in the mine in general I thought worked well. I was very happy that they brought back the character of Wells. It brings us continuity and brings in something who Ian knows.

K: Yeah, I recognized Wells, but couldn't remember from where...

H: From last week Ketina.

K: Uh, two weeks ago. Yeah, I knew he was in the previous episode, I just couldn't remember who he was at first. He was guy trading with evil black market dude who was then horribly eaten-

R: Sat upon to death...

K: by slimy thing.

H: And Larry being confronted by his brother who was robotized - Aces! The entire confrontation with Larry giving his life to save Ian and to kill himself and his brother was very effective. But it does bring up a bad point that I feel I really have to mention.

K: You mean the horrible fight blocking that they insist upon subjecting us to?

H: No not at all.

K: :P

H: What I'm talking about is the fact that the Robomen's helmets look really cool, but are the worst design when used in action. That fall off at the slightest provocation.

R: And takes brain parts with them when they fall.

H: But they look awesome.

R: I don't know. The shot of Bonnie and Beanie robo looking down into the sewer was particularly ridiculous. "DID YOU SEE WHERE WE DROPPED THE BALL? ONE OF US WILL HAVE TO GO DOWN AND GET IT? PA WILL BE REALLY MAD!"

*general laughter*

H: Yeah, you got a point there.

R: They're trying to get the Robomen to come off as emotionless. When they're moving around and acting they're perfecting fine. But when they're just holding still they're like "duh." There's a fine line between cold, unfeeling intellect and "daahgh..."

H: I would argue that they don't have intellect. They are literally Robotic pawns. Oh, we forgot about at the end of the confrontation between Paul and Larry-

K: Paul calls him Larry right before he dies!

H: It was a last emotional gut shot. And that's what this story is at it's best. Emotional shots to the gut.

K: But Paul calls him Larry. Which implies, Historian, that they are not just Robotic pawns.

H: But note that his helmet is knocked off, he's lost contact and the signal is cut off.

K: Or it fell off during the struggle because it's a crappy prop.


H: Anyway...
So, the Daleks' actual plot. It's crazy.

R: What is it, exactly? There are easier ways to make a space ship.

H: Okay, here's the Daleks' plan. They come to Earth, for no apparent reason, because there are billions of other planets probably closer to Skaro. They decimate the population-

R: Like you do.

H: Like you do. And then move in and take over. That's fine, thus far. It makes sense.

R: It's very classic.

K: It sort of makes sense?

H: Well, it makes sense for the Daleks.

K & R: Okay...

H: But they're not interested in just invading Earth. Oh no! They were sent to dig into the earth, send a missile down, explode the magnetic core of the Earth but not destroy the planet (now that's crazy, but not as crazy as it gets)-

R: But wait, there's more.

H: -So after they've destroyed the magnetic core they send down a propulsion unit of some kind, that will explode up the shaft, and allow them to steer the planet like a gigantic space ship. Leaving aside the question of why earth-

R: It's always earth.

H: It's Doctor Who, the whole idea is to bring the Daleks to earth because it's scarier. But leaving that aside, WHY? Why would you do this? It's a ludicrous waste of resources. But it's already been established that there aren't many Daleks on earth in the first place. Makes you wonder if there are other Daleks doing this on other planets. But that still doesn't answer the question, why?

R: The same reason that little blond women with little rat dogs buy Hummers. Because some creatures are so evil that "mine's bigger than yours" is reason enough.

H: The TARDIS project would like to publicly state that the opinions expressed by Ronelyn above are entirely her own. We have no problems with small blond women who own little rat dogs. We love all of our readers.

K: Some of use have problems with ones who buy Humvees though...

H: Well, that's beside the point.

K: I mean, you know, people who buy them and don't need them...

H: We understand Ketina. It's all right. Anyway, was there anything else? Um.. Hartnell was great.

R: Yeah.

H: And we got an "Exterminated" this week. One of the earliest. But they still haven't said it as a battle cry. And they still use "killed" rather than "exterminate" to describe things. I think that's interesting.

K: I want the screaming Daleks yelling "Exterminate! Exterminate!"

H: It's coming. Maybe not in this story, but it is coming soon. ;)

R: I thought the visual effect of the mining bucket going down was uneven. During its descent it was okay-

H: I thought during it's descent was excellent. Just simple effect with the lighting. Very nicely done.

R: But the effect of the start of the trip at the top was kind of lame.

H: There really wasn't one. The effect really was the characters saying "We're descending!"

R: What they tried to do was they had Ian and Larry leap to their feet, as if the thing dropped out from under them. But the result of doing that shook the steel cage in a very wobbly way. And then they said "oh no, we're descending." And then the camera rose up into the air. Which might have worked, except we could still see the cliff face. What we want is the camera to rise up while pivoting down a little bit. So as to create a sense of parallax between the bucket and the cliff face. And that's what they tried to do, but with insufficient distance-

H: You could still see the cliff face not moving.

R: You could still see the relationship between the bucket and the cliff face.

H: My understanding was that they worked in a tiny little studio, which was constantly resulting in problems. Interesting idea, but not so good execution. But at least they're try to experiment with new things, and that was nice.

K: Fight choreography - really bad!

H: They were not the worst we've scene.

R: That's not just damning with faint praise. That's fainting with damn praise.

K: Or feinting. With.. pun.. thing... what? What did you mean by that?

H: Let's just go on, shall we? Okay, I thought the acting was in general pretty high caliber. Including Carole Ann Ford, which is good to see.

K: Yes, for once, rarely Susan did NOT annoy me at all. I thought it was cute.

H: She acting like a young woman. I thought it was perfectly natural. Oh, and I recently reread our first post, and you, Ketina, said that you liked Susan.

K: All I can say is that when I watched these episodes previously I was quite young - close to Susan's age. So, I would have related to her back then. Now, watching it as a grown up... eh.

H: To be fair, she hasn't lived up to her potential. They introduced something potentially interesting in "An Unearthly Child" but never really followed up on that. I suspect Ford was probably pretty frustrated about that.

K: Screams?

R: Susan yelped when she saw the fish. And there was a bit of cry when they entered the hut.

H: But no serious screams this week.

K: Yup, Susan's yelp with the fish I thought was appropriate.

H: It was playful. And actually that whole scene was really important. It was a statement of optimism and positivism in the middle of destruction and despair that was constantly weaving into this story. The idea that young love is still possible even amid despair is very powerful. And I think that's where we should end it this week.

R: I just have one question. Who the heck was "The Waking Ally?"