Say Something Nice – Doctor Who: The Daleks

In an effort to find something quick that can be written as part of Daily Doctor Who, we are kicking off Say Something Nice, where I look back at each of the Doctor Who stories and pull out one cool thing about it.

(Daily Doctor Who #25)

Read the previous entry here. Today, we continue with the series’ second story…

The Daleks

Featuring the same core cast as last time of William Hartnell as the Doctor, William Russell as Ian Chesterton, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright, and Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman. Written by Terry Nation, directed by Christopher Barry and Richard Martin. Designed by Raymond Cusick, which is worth noting because come on, the guy designed the Daleks! Also known as The Mutants, or sometimes The Dead Planet, in an effort to better break down the stories from back in the day when every episode had its own distinct name.

Even better known as The Dead Planets, The Survivors, The Escape, The Ambush, The Expedition, The Ordeal and The Rescue.

Say Something Nice…

(Named for Missy–aka the Master–and her catchphrase from her first full appearance in Dark Water)

Obviously, this is the serial that really put Doctor Who on the map, and made it a show that could still be running 57 years later. It’s easy enough to talk about the amazing cliffhanger at the end of the first episode, but I feel like I just did that, so I’ll just mention how well the series’ format works here–the Doctor and his fellow-travelers arrive in a new and unfamiliar setting, and find themselves caught up in a drama. The story’s length allows it to develop its ideas and drama at a slow but natural pace. And the whole Nazi parallel with the Daleks works quite well, including Ian and the Doctor telling off the Thals for embracing an “appeasement” approach.

But because we’re equal-opportunity fans here, we’re not going to only be sycophantically complimentary.

You craven-hearted spineless poltroon!

(Another cry from the Master, but not exactly a catch-phrase, this time from The Deadly Assassin)

There is a bit where Susan is supposedly running through the forest which is painfully obviously Carole Ann Ford running in place while stage hands smack her with foliage. The climax of the story lacks punch, and could have desperately used the presence of some sort of “Emperor Dalek” figure, as appeared in David Whitaker’s novelization of the same.

Catch you next time!

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