Doctor Who: The Daleks (S01E02 - 1964)

; Date: 2008-07-02 21:37

Tags: Doctor Who

It's fitting given the season finale which is upon us, to have watched the earliest of the Dalek appearances. This story was the second episode cluster of the first Doctor Who season way back in 1964, that's how long the Doctor and the Daleks have been fighting each other. In The Daleks the Doctor and companions accidentally land on this strange desert-like planet where the trees and flowers are made of stone and the lizards are made of metal. As their explorations lead them to meet the Thals and the Dals. These races had been fighting a long running war over centuries which left their planet a radioactive wasteland. The two groups chose different paths to survival, the Thals having forsaken war to take up gentler livelihood and the Dals encasing themselves in machines and taking on the word EXTERMINATE as their major vocabulary.

The seven episodes of the serial have individual titles: "The Dead Planet", "The Survivors", "The Escape", "The Ambush", "The Expedition", "The Ordeal" and "The Rescue".

This serial was loosely adapted as a film, Dr. Who and the Daleks starring Peter Cushing. The film had no relation to the novelization of The Daleks, which was titled Doctor Who and the Daleks on its 1973 release.

The basic plot is the Doctor and companions are captured by the Daleks, threatened, manage to escape, befriend the Thals, work with the Thals to fight the Daleks, get captured again, and finally win out.

The Daleks in these episodes are very differently portrayed than they are today. Today the Daleks are single focused on EXTERMINATE, they aren't much for conversation, they are very aligned with obeying their superior, etc. These Daleks have conversations, there doesn't seem to be a supreme leader with absolute control and in fact the main control area appears to be manned by two Daleks who treat each other as equals. While these Daleks do use the word EXTERMINATE it's not as major a word choice as it is for todays Daleks.

This was the first meeting of the Doctor and the Daleks, so they have not developed the supreme animosity which exists between them.

An absolutely astonishing scene occurs towards the end. The Doctor and companions have been recaptured and the Daleks have a very strong upper hand and are threatening to kill the Doctor and companions. To gain his life the Doctor offers to show the Daleks the secrets of his time machine. These Daleks are prisoners of their city, because their machine apparatus requires receiving power from the floors and requires smooth floors meaning they cannot travel. For the Doctor to offer them time travel technology, well, it's clear that some time in the future the Daleks do acquire this technology and it is that very fact which makes todays Daleks such formidable and dangerous opponents.

In the end events happened such that the Doctor did not give them this technology. Further somehow they were able to kill "all" the Daleks and have a happily ever after ending. But it must be that some Daleks did survive because they are still a menace.

About the Author(s)

David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.