Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Doctor Who: Death to the Daleks

Doctor Who 3rd Doctor

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,731 posts

Posted 01 July 2020 - 11:57 PM

Posted Image


This is a flawed but fun story that has a lot of moving parts. This deals with the Daleks, a plague ravaging humanity, a sentient city, a TARDIS that has lost all power, hostile natives, death traps, and more.

This story starts with the Doctor promising to take Sarah to a vacation planet for some sun and fun only to see them land on the planet Exxilon where the TARDIS gets drained of all power. They discover that the planet is home to a hostile, primitive race as well as a small group of stranded humans. The humans came to the planet because it is rich in a substance that can cure the plague that is close to wiping out billions of people. Things take a turn for the worse when the Daleks show up.

The nice thing about this serial is that it keeps throwing new ideas and twists at the viewers which causes the story to move at a fairly brisk pace. In fact, my only complaint is that because so many different things are introduced here that a lot of them are never fully expanded upon. I would have loved more time in the sentient city with the Doctor and his new ally Bellal avoiding death traps.

I did like how the Daleks were used here but honestly you could either replace them with another foe or just take them out entirely and the story wouldn’t really suffer for it. They have come to Exxilon to take away all the parrinium (the stuff needed to make a cure) so that the humans can’t have it. However, the power drain that stranded the Doctor and the humans makes it so that the Dalek weapons don’t work. They forge an uneasy alliance with the humans but they obviously plan on double crossing them once they get the parrinium.

At first I thought it was odd that the Dalek weapons didn’t work and yet the Daleks were still mobile. Why would their mechanical bodies work and not their weapons? The story explains this by saying that the Dalek suits are powered by psychokinesis or some such nonsense but I didn’t really buy it. To me it felt more like the writer realized at the last second that the Daleks being able to move was a giant plot hole and wrote in a sentence to explain it.

I will give the Daleks credit for ingenuity. They have no desire to be helpless and replace their non functioning weapons with ballistic guns that can work. The Daleks will always find a way to murder people.

The Exxilons aren’t that unique but I did like their back story. They were once an incredibly advanced species and they built a giant, extremely advanced city as their crowning achievement. Unfortunately they built it too well and the city decided that it didn’t like having people crawling around inside and making a mess so it expelled all the Exxilons. It also drew power from all the energy sources on the planet, sending the natives back to the stone age overnight. Eventually the Exxilons started worshipping the city as a deity. A breakaway group does exist that knows that the city isn’t a god and that if it can be destroyed the power drain will cease and hopefully the Exxilons can rebuild their civilization.

The city is pretty impressive. It looks good and other-worldly. It has created a series of intelligence/death traps to protect the core of the city where its “brain” resides. I liked this aspect and loved seeing the Doctor and his Exxilon pal Bellal work their way through the traps. I just wish the traps had been a bit harder to solve. One is literally just a maze printed on a wall that the Doctor has to solve. Another one sees the duo having to avoid red tiles on a floor so they don’t get electrocuted. Brain teasers they ain’t.

The city does have other defenses. It has long mechanical tentacles called roots that are able to access quite a bit of the planet and can easily destroy Daleks. It can also manifest hard to kill creatures that act as antibodies that it sends after the Doctor after he starts messing around with its brain.

The humans had potential but nothing is really done with them. Their commanding officer was wounded early on and ends up dying fairly quickly into the serial. Lt. Galloway assumes command despite the fact that the commander told him to put Lt. Hamilton in charge. Galloway strikes a deal with the Daleks and has no problem using the Exxilons as slave labor to mine the parrinium. It makes for an interesting set-up and I assumed that we would get some conflict between Galloway and the other humans, mainly Hamilton and Jill. Instead not much is done with this plot. Galloway starts to see that the Daleks are bad and aren’t sticking to the agreement but he doesn’t do anything until the end.

I thought that the serial did a good job of making a quarry and a studio set look like an alien planet. The first episode is the best at this, IMO. The Doctor and Sarah arrive on Exxilon at night and the area surrounding the TARDIS is covered in fog. The directing and lighting goes a long way to create a sinister alien planet vibe and I loved it. They easily could have made this a more horror centric story just based on that first episode alone.

Not a classic story but Death to the Daleks is entertaining and never boring. Now I only have two more serials to go in the 3rd Doctor era. It’s going to be rough.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#2 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 33,215 posts

Posted 02 July 2020 - 07:23 AM

I gather that "Death to the Daleks" was considered a low point among Dalek stories, a rehash of ideas Nation had used before, which was why they made an effort in "Genesis of the Daleks" to reinvigorate the Dalek formula by introducing Davros and putting more care into crafting a worthwhile story.
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Patreon Page -- Featuring reviews and original fiction
Facebook Author Page

#3 RJDiogenes

RJDiogenes

    Idealistic Cynic

  • Demigod
  • 15,004 posts

Posted 03 July 2020 - 05:40 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 01 July 2020 - 11:57 PM, said:

This is a flawed but fun story that has a lot of moving parts. This deals with the Daleks, a plague ravaging humanity, a sentient city, a TARDIS that has lost all power, hostile natives, death traps, and more.  

Was it set in 2020?

Quote

This story starts with the Doctor promising to take Sarah to a vacation planet for some sun and fun

That trick never works.  :lol:

Quote

To me it felt more like the writer realized at the last second that the Daleks being able to move was a giant plot hole and wrote in a sentence to explain it.  

Better than nothing, but that might have been a good time to create a different antagonist.  It might have been unworkable from a production standpoint, though.

Quote

Unfortunately they built it too well and the city decided that it didn’t like having people crawling around inside and making a mess so it expelled all the Exxilons.  

But then it felt all empty inside and started putting ads on Craigslist.

Quote

The city is pretty impressive. It looks good and other-worldly.  

Nice. That otherworldliness is not something you really see a lot of in SF these days, and it was one of the things that really drew me in when I was a kid.

Quote

Not a classic story but Death to the Daleks is entertaining and never boring. Now I only have two more serials to go in the 3rd Doctor era. It’s going to be rough.  
What happened to the dying billions?  Did the Doctor figure out a way to get the cure to them humanely?
Please visit The RJDiogenes Store. Posted Image   And my Gallery. Posted Image And my YouTube Page. Posted Image And read Trunkards. Posted Image  And then there's my Heroes Essays.  Posted Image

#4 ultraviolet

ultraviolet

    photographer, aspiring sci-fi writer, photoshop artist

  • Islander
  • 3,638 posts

Posted 05 July 2020 - 02:35 AM

My first introduction to this story was through reading the Target novelization.  I think I read the book before I actually watched it on PBS (KSPS).  Now I probably should give the story a spin a spin again on DVD.

#5 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,731 posts

Posted 06 July 2020 - 09:08 PM

View PostChristopher, on 02 July 2020 - 07:23 AM, said:

I gather that "Death to the Daleks" was considered a low point among Dalek stories, a rehash of ideas Nation had used before, which was why they made an effort in "Genesis of the Daleks" to reinvigorate the Dalek formula by introducing Davros and putting more care into crafting a worthwhile story.

Yeah, this is definitely a story that happens to have Daleks in it rather than being a Dalek story. Like I wrote in my review you could easily swap out the Daleks for any generic foe and the story wouldn't change that much.

Considering all the hype I'm looking forward to seeing Genesis of the Daleks. I do remember the BBCA showing it some years back but I came in during the middle section and was completely lost so I didn't watch the entire thing.

Quote

Was it set in 2020?

It might as well have been.

Quote

What happened to the dying billions?  Did the Doctor figure out a way to get the cure to them humanely?

Oh, the humans tricked the Daleks and they got the stuff they needed to make a cure.

View Postultraviolet, on 05 July 2020 - 02:35 AM, said:

My first introduction to this story was through reading the Target novelization.  I think I read the book before I actually watched it on PBS (KSPS).  Now I probably should give the story a spin a spin again on DVD.

I found it pretty enjoyable. As long as you don't go in expecting a great Dalek story you should be fine. Still, I liked this better than Planet of the Daleks from the previous season which was just a slog to watch.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#6 RJDiogenes

RJDiogenes

    Idealistic Cynic

  • Demigod
  • 15,004 posts

Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:06 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 06 July 2020 - 09:08 PM, said:

Oh, the humans tricked the Daleks and they got the stuff they needed to make a cure.  
Cool.  I'm glad they didn't overlook that plot thread.
Please visit The RJDiogenes Store. Posted Image   And my Gallery. Posted Image And my YouTube Page. Posted Image And read Trunkards. Posted Image  And then there's my Heroes Essays.  Posted Image

#7 ultraviolet

ultraviolet

    photographer, aspiring sci-fi writer, photoshop artist

  • Islander
  • 3,638 posts

Posted 08 July 2020 - 02:35 AM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 06 July 2020 - 09:08 PM, said:

Quote

What happened to the dying billions?  Did the Doctor figure out a way to get the cure to them humanely?

Oh, the humans tricked the Daleks and they got the stuff they needed to make a cure.

View Postultraviolet, on 05 July 2020 - 02:35 AM, said:

My first introduction to this story was through reading the Target novelization.  I think I read the book before I actually watched it on PBS (KSPS).  Now I probably should give the story a spin a spin again on DVD.

I found it pretty enjoyable. As long as you don't go in expecting a great Dalek story you should be fine. Still, I liked this better than Planet of the Daleks from the previous season which was just a slog to watch.

Planet of the Daleks wasn't bad, but it was  disappointing lead out from the great Frontier In Space (space opera and political intrigue and the Master).

#8 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,731 posts

Posted 09 July 2020 - 12:06 AM

View Postultraviolet, on 08 July 2020 - 02:35 AM, said:

View PostVirgil Vox, on 06 July 2020 - 09:08 PM, said:

Quote

What happened to the dying billions?  Did the Doctor figure out a way to get the cure to them humanely?

Oh, the humans tricked the Daleks and they got the stuff they needed to make a cure.

View Postultraviolet, on 05 July 2020 - 02:35 AM, said:

My first introduction to this story was through reading the Target novelization.  I think I read the book before I actually watched it on PBS (KSPS).  Now I probably should give the story a spin a spin again on DVD.

I found it pretty enjoyable. As long as you don't go in expecting a great Dalek story you should be fine. Still, I liked this better than Planet of the Daleks from the previous season which was just a slog to watch.

Planet of the Daleks wasn't bad, but it was  disappointing lead out from the great Frontier In Space (space opera and political intrigue and the Master).

I liked Frontier in Space okay but felt that it was too long. Plus I was disappointed that we didn't actually see the Master and the Daleks working together. Have they ever actually teamed up in the series?
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Doctor Who, 3rd Doctor

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users