Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
“Your legs are paralyzed. You will recover shortly, unless you force us to use our weapons again. In that case, the condition will be permanent. You two, help him.”
If An Unearthly Child started the legend of Doctor Who then the next story The Daleks was the springboard it needed to be the success it truly became. With the cliffhanger to episode one “The Dead Planet” when you see the Daleks arm with that suction cup at the end for the first time something special had been hatched. Yes it wasn’t until the next episode “The Survivors” do we get our first look at the famous pepper pots that we all know and love. Thus begins a 50 year relationship between The Doctor and The Daleks one that fans have enjoyed and loved.
The story is pretty basic and is the typical Doctor Who story of getting captured and escaping but it goes quite deeper than that. Now remember this is 1963/1964 and the subject of racism wasn’t tackled much in that era but The Daleks is a story about racism. You can even bring it to today’s series of events in the world. The Daleks hate the Thals and all humans because they are different. That’s what makes them so evil. They are the ultimate bully. Their way of thinking will always be their downfall and The Doctor will always be around to defeat them.
The Daleks were created because they did not want bug eyed monsters. Which as it turned out was a stroke of good fortune as The Daleks with their one eye and metal casing turned out to be the most popular and famous of all Doctor Who villains. Terry Nation’s creation took off like crazy and became immensely popular and had to be brought back in the next series and the next one and the rest is history as they say.
The Daleks also introduces us to the Thals who start out as a peaceful people but driven to fighting as The Daleks would be destroying them with yet another bomb. Plus they get a little bit of a push from Ian as he tricks them into taking action. Watching their evolution through this story and how different they are compared to future appearances makes it sad how peaceful and at ease they were before The Doctor showed up.
I enjoyed watching The Daleks. You still get a hint of the TARDIS crew not really trusting one another. You get a hint of The Doctor being selfish and manipulative trying to get his own way. By sabotaging the fluid link The Doctor almost kills himself and his fellow passengers. You also get more of a hint of Ian being that man of action. William Russell is really good in The Daleks and he has some really good scenes. Most notably when he is trying to get the Thals to help him by using reverse psychology on them plus he does a real good job impersonating a Dalek also.
The Daleks is a very entertaining story despite its length and doesn’t seem to bog down or get dull like An Unearthly Child. It is of course a very historic story as it is the first appearance by the Daleks and they seem like the Daleks that we all know. It is a story that has a good message and one that can be applied to today’s world. The Daleks is also the first true science fiction story in Doctor Who and it is a really good story to watch over again from time to time.
©Doctor Who 1963