Doctor Who is back for a ninth season since its 2005 reboot and, despite what the critics say, the show really isn’t what it used to be. I once was a die-hard Doctor Who fan and the episodes from the show’s original run still hold a special place in my heart. While this will most likely not be my only Doctor Who related post, now the show is more like ‘Doctor Who Cares’ in my eyes.
The season premiere, The Magician’s Assistant, featured the Doctor’s oldest adversary, The Daleks. I felt the episode wasted such an iconic enemy with a dull plot, forced character interacton and Moffat’s signature destruction of the show’s lore. To help recover from this episode, below are 5 Dalek adventures better than The Magician’s Apprentice.
- Genesis of the Daleks (1975- The 4th Doctor): Featuring Sarah Jane Smith, one of the best companions ever, the Doctor is sent to Skaro, the Dalek home planet, at the time of the Dalek’s creation by the Time Lords in order to avert the creation of the race that would go onto terrorize the universe. The Doctor has the fate of his greatest enemy in his hands, raising questions of power and the ethics being able to travel through time. In fact the Doctor asks the question “Have I right?” before refusing to do the deed. An incredibly powerful piece, it is often praised as one of the show’s best episodes. (NB: Audio from this episode can be heard in The Magician’s Apprentice)
- The Daleks (1963-64, The 1st Doctor): The first appearance of the Daleks and the second serial ever released, The Daleks featured the Doctor and his companions travelling to the planet of Skaro, which had been ravaged by a nuclear war between the Kaleds and the Thals. While the Thals mutated into the stereotype of Sweden, the Kaleds turned into horrific squid-melted silly putty hybrids. This led the Kaled’s chief scientist, Davros, to create metallic suits for his people to survive in and thus, the Daleks were born. When the Doctor encounters the race in The Daleks, they are already in their suits and after realising that their war did not destroy the universe as they believe, they develop intense xenophobia and vow to do just that. Written by Doctor Who legend Terry Nation, The Daleks serves as an epic origin story for the show’s iconic villians. (NB: This could have been avoided if Davros had kept his original name of Sorvad…)
- Dalek (2005- The 9th Doctor): Following the 2005 reboot of the show, Doctor Who lore had taken a twist. In the years of hiatus, a war between the Daleks and the Time Lords had taken place, leaving the Doctor, a Time Lord, as the lone survivor of either race. This was proven to be false afer the Doctor discovers a very alive Dalek in a museum of extra-terristrial artefacts in Utah. While Bad Wolf, the season’s finale, was an enjoyable fight against the Dalek army, Dalek was a fantastic way to introduce the Doctor’s greatest enemy to the new generation of viewers. Oh, and the episode negated the age old Dalek evasion trick of hiding upstairs because from this point onwards, the Daleks are able to levitate. (NB: A reader has reminded me that Daleks had been ble to levitate previously in the show’s history, in 1988’s Remembrance of the Daleks.)
- The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End (2008- The 10th Doctor): I personally refer to this episode as ‘Doctor Who & Friends not so happy hour’, this two part crossover incorporates characters old and new as well as the stars of the two Doctor Who spin-offs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. With the series as a whole leading up in a Sixth Sense-esque way of subtle clues to this grand finale, the Daleks swoop in and reveal they are the ones stealing planets to power a giant Doomsday device. The two episodes are action packed, containing genuine twists and heart-breaking moments. This two part season finale is the textbook that The Magician’s Apprentice should have studied in how to make a great modern Dalek episode.
- The Evil of the Daleks (1967- The 2nd Doctor): Voted the best Dalek adventure by readers of DreamWatch Bulletin in 1993, The Evil of the Daleks sees the Second Doctor and Jamie kindapped by an antiques dealing being coerced by the Daleks. They are taken to 1867, where the Daleks are trying to isolate ‘the human factor’- the essence of humanity…which is apparently tangible. It makes the Daleks injected with the human factor childlike and more, well, human. The episode raises questions about the definition of ‘human’ and also introduces new companion Victoria (one of the Doctor’s screamiest companions).