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Although I am gradually watching Doctor Who from the start, I am no
great fan and there is an element of OCD in my decision to watch it all
in order. So, in the case of this serial, although I had been aware of
Davros as a character, I certainly had not seen this serial before. In
addition to this, the previous Dalek stories, and their use in the
modern seasons, had taught me that they were almost a novelty, brought
in as a series favorite to help boost ratings whenever a brand-name
villain was needed. So, when I saw the next serial in season 12 was one
relating to the Daleks, I really did not expect anything particularly
special which is why I think it caught me off guard about just how
strong it was.
The plot provides a very strong bed, with a plot which has plenty of drama (as opposed to manufactured cliff-hangers), and yet also plenty of thoughtful material around morality, fascism, and other elements. The Daleks are really supporting players next to the character of Davros who is essentially Hitler. His is such a strong presence that it is hard not to be taken by every scene he is in. Baker's Doctor matches this approach with a quite serious performance throughout; and the whole thing is played straight and means that the Daleks are genuinely more menacing due to the context. Of course it helps that the serial has a particularly mean streak in its specifics and in its general delivery.
Specifically we see cruel deaths, Nazi-style characters, scenes that are genuinely unsettling in their tone and content, and a delivery that never plays it for laughs or comedic japes. This is continued by the design of the sets, characters, and general 'feel' of the serial; it is futuristic but yet industrial and a type of industry build on the suffering of many for the benefit of the few. It feels grimy, cruel and dark and it combines this very well with the material. I had never seen this serial before even if I was aware of Davros et al from later seasons; nor had I heard the hype for this as one of the best of the show. I was glad I had not because I came in without any knowledge or preconceptions, and it grabbed me from the start to the end by how well done it was. I'm not sure how long it can keep this up, but at the minute this season is shaping up to be one of the strongest of the lot thus far.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks: Part 6 starts as the Doctor (Tom
Baker) cannot bring himself to detonate the bomb & completely destroy
the Daleks, he then learns that the evil Davros has apparently agreed
to surrender & his moral problem suddenly becomes irrelevant. However
Davros is luring all his enemies into a trap, with all of the people
who dared stand against him dead Davros is free to unleash his Dalek
creation on an unsuspecting universe...
This Doctor Who adventure was episode 16 from season 12 that aired here in the UK during early 1975, directed by David Maloney Genesis of the Daleks is a classic Doctor Who story. The script by Terry Nation comes to it's conclusion but obviously leaves things open so the Daleks can return, which they do. This one has had it all, moral dilemmas, politics, double crosses, action, fights, monsters some half decent dialogue & all the usual stuff which makes Doctor Who so much fun to watch. As I always think with these mammoth six parters I felt Genesis of the Daleks started to run out of ideas & sagged towards the end after it began like a rocket over it's first three episodes, I prefer the four part stories but that's just my personal preference. Overall a top story though & one I would probably recommend for those new to the show & seasoned fans alike.
The special effects haven't been too bad during Genesis of the Daleks although there's not been too many of them so that's probably why. This one has focused on it's story more than creating atmosphere & there's not many out-and-out scares although Davros is pretty creepy & has an effective make-up job. The acting always varies in Doctor Who, the principal cast did a decent enough job though & of course Tom Baker is just brilliant to watch with Sarah Jane as the eye candy.
Genesis of the Daleks is a great Doctor Who story & is well worth a watch although it couldn't quite keep the pace & excitement up over it's six episodes.
Review of all 6 episodes:
One of the most famous and most loved stories in Doctor Who history, this really deserves the fame and praise it receives. It is a fabulous story with brilliance in every aspect of its production.
The Doctor, Sarah and Harry are intercepted by the Time Lords as they try to return to the Nerva space station via Transmat. The Time Lord who speaks to The Doctor gives him a mission to interfere with the creation of the Daleks as they are considered a threat to the Universe. He is told he can stop their creation or influence their nature for the better. They find themselves in the middle of a war on Skaro between the Thals and the Kaleds. The war has gone on for a very long time and scientist Davros has created the Daleks in order to bring the war to an end. Davros is power crazed and has evil intent for his Daleks to become all powerful creatures. There are adventures as The Doctor seeks to interfere with Davros' plans. Finally when he has the chance to destroy the Daleks, The Doctor has a moral dilemma as to whether to destroy the Dalek race is excusable due to their evil or if it makes him as bad as the Daleks with such a genocidal act.
The script, story and acting are top class throughout. Davros is an inspired creation, a villain of the finest quality and acted amazingly well by Michael Wisher. Baker is on top form and his scenes with Davros and their intellectual duelling is gripping. The scene with the dilemma of conscience for The Doctor trying to decide whether to destroy the Daleks is genius and the story as a whole is exceptionally well written.
One of the most exceptional stories in Doctor Who and therefore television history.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've probably seen this dozens of times, but before rushing to give it
a 10 (which I would on all recent viewings) I have to say that watching
it on TV for the first time as a child in 1975 I felt betrayed by
Doctor Who, which had never before seemed so bloodthirsty.
I think what marked the Tom Baker period was not just the extraordinary character that Baker brought (in itself truly an extension of Baker himself, he improvises as on so many TV interviews...watch them then watch him as the Doctor... he doesn't actually... ACT..) but also the shift in the the writing and direction to far bleaker and horrific story lines.
The spoiler alert is never more necessary than here; what stunned my child self was that in Doctor Who quite so many (like dozens, many characters we've seen painstakingly developed) hapless souls could be gunned down in such cold blood. The final part of GOTD is classic death-knell of liberalism; Gharman (earlier present as Davros's closest confidante as the first Dalek is unveiled) wants a bloodless revolution in which much is decided by vote..
Davros swiftly sees this and plays it to the max, delays things as he needs and once the necessary force of Daleks is assembled, dispatches his over-idealistic foes.
The extra twist is of course that Davros himself is then also exterminated (and he is, watch it, listen to the screams, he really is, and later claims by DW writers that he survived are not plausible) and he is thus, himself, also discarded as a tool by the real forces of evil.
A lot for a young lad to take!! Genesis of the Daleks is no picnic; my older self gives it a 10 for true brilliance, realism, quality of writing and drama, and by later standards it's relatively tame, but for a youngster used to earlier more subtle Doctor Who it was brutal stuff.
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