Saturday, 17 April 2010

Restoration of the Daleks

Wow! What an excellent episode! And yes, we did get Daleks offering cups of tea on trays, but sadly Jammie Dodgers were not offered on the plate, but instead promoted to a major supporting role (I won't spoil the episode for those who haven't seen it!). Perhaps it will be an 'extra' scene added on the DVD release. Or more likely I shall just have to keep it as part of my personal imaginary world of Doctor Who. I am sort of glad - if the Daleks had offered "tea and Jammie Dodgers" then it would have started a whole debate about to dunk or not to dunk. As it is I am left wondering if the Daleks put milk in their tea first or last.

Anyway! The best episode of the new season so far, with perfect pacing of the storyline, delightful direction and awesome acting. 9/10! I must admit, I was slightly worried about Mark Gatiss writing this story, but he's done a damn good job, on what could have easily become a cringable cheesy charade.

I was suitably impressed by the speed at which the British war effort threw together the anti-gravity bubble technology that enabled Spitfires to fly in space - in less than the 10 minutes it took for the German bombers to cross the Channel. But this aside, the story was largely free of the logic-defying and explanation-deprived stuff which RTD had so regularly presented to us in the new series to date.

In fact I am detecting some hints that the new season story arc may be about to undo some of the RDT madness. Last week we had the Doctor referring to the Time War, or perhaps to the events of The End of Time, as a "bad day" and wishing that he could erase events. This week we have the loose end of Amy not knowing about the Daleks and the events of The Stolen Earth and Journey's End. Is Mr Moffatt planning to re-write a bit of recent Dalek history? Perhaps we (well, me and Amy) live in a different universe, and all that stuff happened in a parrallel one!

What else? Well, Scotland gets a mention again, for the third episode in a row, and also Post Offices, for the second time. And lots of Union Jacks. Again. And someone gets pick-pocketed, again, and Amy saves the day, again... all a bit too much two episodes in a row. Oh, and that crack...

And we're also left with a Dalek-made humanoid android pottering around on Earth. Now I am sure everything will be OK and they will all live happily ever after, but I just can't help but wonder if he picked up that Dalek gun off the table before he left... Now having Dalek controlled 'sleepers' left hanging around is not new to Who, in fact after 'Resurrection of the Daleks' we understood they had infiltrated our whole society... one day someone will pick up that loose thread!

I also found myself thinking about the superiority of the Phillips screw system, as opposed to the slotted screw, which the Daleks have obviously cottoned on to. Well, you would expect nothing less from the self-proclaimed master race.

Oh yes, and of course... new Daleks! (and ones which have obviousbly moved on from the Phillips screw to some sort of invisible press and clip system, I imagine). Now I'm not so sure about these, and I guess most Who fans will take some time to accept this new design. I'm not bothered about the colours, which I think is a nice throw-back to the classic old Dalek movies, but there is something about the shape which just didn't do it for me. There was a pleasing perfection to the proportions of a classic dalek, and these news ones just seam a little ugly to me, bulky in the wrong places (I can imagine the operators needed more elbow room). That and their overall 'plastic moulded' appearance bothered me. I must admit I examined this weeks Radio Times very carefully, half convinced that they had used toy models for the Dalek covers. I guess that this new 'simplified' version is as much to make the CGI and special effects easier (and replication by toy makers) as it is for the operators. Who knows, perhaps in years to come these daleks toys will still have their plungers and guns!

We also have different designations of Dalek:

White - Supreme (complete with 'Emporer' style voice)
Blue - Scientists
Orange - Strategist
Red - Drones
Yellow - Eternal

With Gatiss and Moffatt apparently having no idea what an 'enternal' Dalek is or does. Do we believe them? And after such a definate "We'll be back" ending? Surely they are lined up for either the season end or Christmas special...

The official Who website has the usual collection of clips to watch, galleries to browse and other bits and bobs to explore, including some nice concept art and graphics, and a 'must watch' Blue Peter clip on how to create your on Dalek cakes!

Eating Dalek cake with your cup of tea probably tops having it with a Jammie Dodger, although for me KitKats still win.

Note to self - must do more on bits from Blue Peter!

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