Quick one today. The Daleks are back for the upcoming festive special!
(Daily Doctor Who #11)
We’ve known that for a while, of course, but now there’s a trailer.
I love Doctor Who, but I have never been a particular fan of the Daleks. I know they’re important to the show and if Terry Nation (and also designer Raymond Cusick) hadn’t created them, then the series would probably not have lasted beyond it’s first season. And I freely admit that there are good episodes that feature the Daleks, in both classic and modern Doctor Who.
But with all that in mind, I still find them kind of annoying. For me, their iconic status in popular culture actually works against them. The show is highly aware of how popular they are, and it often shows on the screen. And so we get lots of their screechy voices, lots of their famous catch phrase, and always a bunch of hapless shmoes getting gunned down by them because of their near-invincibility.
The 9th Doctor stories which feature the Daleks, for example, are pretty popular (both Dalek and The Parting of the Ways), but they fill huge portions of their run-time with nothing but this: one wave of desperate people after another trying to take down or hold off the Daleks, with decreasing amounts of hope, only to be obliterated. It’s unbelievably tedious plotting but for some reason, people seem to really dig watching it.
Even worse is how often there’s some bozo who tries to collaborate with the Daleks. Often they almost willfully misunderstand how dangerous they are, or they think that they alone will be able to control them. And of course they almost always come to some miserable end. It’s a very tired trope that it looks like even the upcoming Christmas special may make use of.
(Of course, it’s not only the Daleks who seem to benefit from “inexplicable allies syndrome”–the Cybermen have had plenty of those as well, in addition to various other invading aliens. I’ll have to do a thorough survey of these someday).
You know what I always wonder? I wonder why the survivors of the humanity that the Doctor is always saving from the Daleks don’t get ahead of some of that Dalek weaponry and armor and retro-engineer it for their own purposes. For once I’d like see a story where future humanity is actually prepared to fight the Daleks. There was a bit of that in Big Finish audios that I’ve heard (Dalek Empire IV comes to mind), but I wouldn’t mind seeing it on TV.
Oh well, I’m just sort of rambling and whining here. Like I said, even if the Daleks are irritating, there have been plenty of good stories that use them: for example, the original one, Dalek Invasion of the Earth, Genesis of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks, Journey’s End, Asylum of the Daleks, The Magician’s Apprentice…to name a few.
Hopefully, Revolution of the Daleks is one of them!