Sunday, April 18, 2010

Doctor Who: Victory of the Daleks

Here we are, episode three of the new season of “Doctor Who.” I must say that I still don’t understand all the hating on the new theme. For some folks that seems to be the only thing wrong with the new series. I quite like it. I don’t hear the screams of ‘techno’ that some people complain about either. I hear the same old strings and synthesizer beats as always. And while I myself am still not thrilled by the TARDIS made from the D and W in the logo, I love the opening sequence. The lightning and spinning TARDIS add a level of precarious danger that I quite like.

“Victory of the Daleks” is not only the first time Matt Smith encounters the Daleks, but it’s also the first non-Steven Moffet-scripted episode of the season. I was a bit afraid there might be a change in tone or character, but writer Michael Gatiss brings the Moffet Who quite admirably.

WWII Prime Minister Winston Churchill calls on the Doctor for help, a bit that both demonstrates that the PM knows The Doctor intimately (even about his regenerating) and that the TARDIS is still a bit wonky (he arrives a month late). It seems that the UK has a new secret weapon against the Axis – a Brit scientist has ‘invented’ something that looks very much like the Daleks.

This episode includes a terror only a Brit or a student of history could appreciate, and be terrified of – the Daleks turn the lights on all over London during the Blitzkrieg. That must have made some older adults hide behind their couches over in the UK. In the meantime The Doctor involuntarily creates a new model of multi-colored Daleks. More colorful, maybe, but more dangerous, we’ll see.

The new Daleks are just a small bit of what has made this new season something different. From the new inside of the TARDIS to the fine blue wood of the Police Box outside to these new Daleks, everything has been brighter and more colorful. It’s something, that like the ‘too-young’ Matt Smith, is mis-leading in flat 2-D photographs, but vibrant and exciting in action. I like it.

Trust me, you haven’t lived until you see Spitfires attacking a Dalek saucer in space (shades of Warren Ellis!), The Doctor use a cookie as a TARDIS self-destruct device or seen Daleks serve tea. This one is a hoot. And of course, next week can only be better, and scarier – as Steven Moffet’s Weeping Angels return. And River returns as well. This should be good.

Matt Smith gets stronger in the role with every moment. Karen Gillan has a role here, but she really doesn’t have much to work with personality-wise. Her listing may as well read ‘Doctor’s generic companion’ this time. And Ian McNiece, the newsreader from HBO’s “Rome,” is a brilliant Winston Churchill.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a review of the first episode "The Eleventh Hour," that aired for the first time in the States on BBC America last night, click here, and for the second episode, "The Beast Below," click here. This is a great time to be a Doctor Who fan.

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  1. Lime Green Daleks? Well Yellow, but still...

  2. I quite like the new opening myself, and don't get the hate for the new music. I liked the old music better, but the new music is fine.

    I do really like the lightning, though.

    As for the logo into TARDIS, I absolutely love that. Best part of the new opening in my opinion.

    I'm not, however, quite sold on the new Dalek design yet.

  3. I wonder if the haters of the new music liked that wonky theme from the 70's better.. come on, new doctor, new theme, updated look, means new fans and new episodes.

  4. Apparently, with the new Daleks, each color represents a different skill set for each Dalek. Supposedly we will find out in future episodes.