Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Doctor Who: Victory of the Daleks

“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would give a favourable reference to the Devil.”

Oh dear. I’m terribly sorry, but my opinions on this story are awfully conventional. I’m really sorry. I can’t help it. I hate it when this sort of thing happens. But yes; I’m rather afraid this is going to be one of those “Ian McNeice is a little too over the top” “New Daleks are crap” / “They got those Spitfires into space awfully quickly, cool though they are” / “The coda with Bracewell’s emotions stopping him going off was a bit pants” reviews. Actually, shall we just take all that as read and get on with something more interesting? Except the new Daleks, obviously. I’m going to have a good whinge about those.

So, it’s a very well-realised London in the Blitz, and an… interesting Churchill. Unfortunate how this was rather close to Brendan Gleeson’s far superior portrayal of the great man in Into the Storm, but there you go. We get CGI barrage balloons again, which is all nice and nostalgic, and lots of iconic Cabinet War Rooms stuff. It’s huge fun to see those khaki Daleks with their Union Flags and “Would you care for some tea?”, although so far this series seems to be doing an awful lot of flag-waving. First an archetypal English village, then Starship UK, now this- is this Moffat’s new British Agenda? I think we should be told.

We get a brief retread of Power of the Daleks for the first ten minutes, rather appropriately- after all, if Tennant could have a remake of Evil of the Daleks then why can’t Smith have a version of their other excellent David Whitaker-penned outing? This doesn’t go on for long, though.

Some interesting arc stuff, though; the Doctor calls Amy “Amelia” when he’s annoyed with her. And for some reason she can’t remember the Daleks, or those whopping great big planets in the sky. Our attention is drawn to this, so it must be significant.

But this set-up is all, of course, just a trap. The one surviving Dalek ship to escape the Doctor-Donna has found a “Progenitor”, with which they can make baby Daleks. Yes, Dalek sex really is that boring. Thing is, though, it really brings home the creepy genocidal nature of the Daleks that this Progenitor thinks they’re racially impure, and won’t even recognise them as fellow Daleks without the “testimony” of their greatest enemy. Worse, the Daleks willingly acquiesce in their own ethnic cleansing at the hands of the new “pure” Daleks. Possibly the most chilling example yet of the horrors of Dalek ideology, and a reminder of how appropriate it is that they should feature in a story set during the Second World War.

Shame the new Daleks are so awful, though. I mean, literally everyone thinks so. What were they thinking? I don’t care how much mentioning there is of things like “rels” and “time corridors” and “the final end.” They’re not even shaped like Daleks. I want my Daleks back!

The Daleks win, of course; they’re now out there, breeding baby Daleks in that strange U-certificate way of theirs, and for the first time since the stories returned they’re no longer an endangered species. But presumably they won’t be returning until they can sort out the horrible new Daleks.

We end with more emphasis on Amy’s forgetting the Daleks, and another crack. The story had some genuinely cool moments, and really treats the Daleks well script-wise, but there are all those little things wrong with it. 3/5, then. Never mind, I’ve already seen the first part of the two-parter that’s up next (I’m on a roll this week), and it’s way, way better.

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