I love Dr Who.
I have loved it (and back then feared it) since I saw one episode as a small child. As I grew up I watched omnibus editions of classic stories from the 3rd to the end of the 7th Doctors. So I was excited when the series was returning, and for many years I loved it, but as the main writer changed I grew disheartened to the point of hatred at what the show was becoming. One story Asylum of the Daleks I felt was so bad I stopped watching it altogether. That made me return to what got me into the series to begin with, Classic Dr Who, and importantly stories that I never saw before, the stories of the first (William Hartnell) and second Doctor (Patrick Troughton).
Power of the Daleks
Recently BBC America and BBC Worldwide brought out a fully animated recreation of a lost story. Not just any lost story, Power of the Daleks, not only considered one of the best Dalek stories, but also one of the most important Dr Who stories that was ever made. Why? because this was the first story with the second Doctor, people needed to accept the Doctor could change and become someone new, there was a lot riding on this.
A decent portion of the first episode is the Doctor wandering about as, acting odd, but then he had just regenerated for presumably the first time though compared to later incarnations this regeneration was incredibly smooth (no blowing up Dalek space ships with magical beams…) while the two companions, Ben and Polly, try to work out if he is the Doctor or not before he, without consulting them, heads out of the Tardis.
The story is set on the planet Vulcan (no not that Vulcan), from what we see of the outside it seems a very inhospitable planet, with mercury swamps, but it now has an earth colony on it.
Compared to future 2nd Doctor stories, in the first episode he’s a lot more silent, rather genial not the clownish fellow he is widely seen as later. However this is just in the first episode, as the story goes on he becomes the 2nd Doctor. I advise fans who have only ever seen new Who (9th Doctor onwards) to get to know him even though he does play his iconic recorder.
As the story goes on you learn more about the colony on Vulcan, and the political tensions, with rebels, conspiracies and obsessed scientists, groups all planning to use these newly discovered Daleks for their own ends, all the while blind to the real danger. This gives us an interesting perspective, as we, like the Doctor, know just how dangerous the Daleks are, and we share his frustration as these people practically march to their own death.
The story is a great demonstration as to just how dangerous, intelligent and scary the Daleks can be, completely overshadowing all of new Who (though the music for the Daleks in new Who is great) . Chilling scenes as the Daleks feign servitude in their monotonous Dalek voices, them chanting their glory, and the infamous Dalek production line, seeing them mass producing, and then proclaiming “EXTERMINATE!” in an almost demonic way as their eye stalks rise up.
The story leads up to the Daleks then having to bide their time while the humans start fighting each other, rather than turn on them – killing rebels, guards, civilians – all indiscriminately .A chilling scene – people all who thought each other so different, all planning on using these Daleks, and all dead – silently panning over their bodies. To the Daleks they were all the same. Bragan, even as everything is falling apart, still believing the Daleks were under his control.
Power of the Daleks is an amazing story (especially compared to how bad regeneration stories usually are) and though the animation cannot fully capture the actors facial expressions, this is a must see for all Dr Who fans.