Friday, 8 February 2008
‘Dr Who – Genesis of the Daleks’ (1975)
The sticker on the DVD case proudly proclaims this to be the ‘Number One Dr. Who Story Ever’. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Dr. Who a lot but when a sticker starts giving out a whole load of attitude, and making grandiose claims, my initial reaction is to say, “we’ll see about that!” And I did, purchasing said DVD and taking it home for an evening of classic Dalek action. It’s a good job I’ve got the house to myself as I was guilty of saying, “how cool was that?” a lot and pretending to be a Dalek. Yep, I loved it.
The Time Lords have foreseen a time when the Dalek’s rule of the universe is absolute. Instead of taking care of it themselves they persuade the Doctor to help them out, transporting him to the Dalek home world (Skaro) to either destroy the Daleks before they are created or to sabotage their development and give the rest of the universe a head start.
If you’re a fan of Dr, Who (or even if you’ve only heard of the TV show) then you’ll know what a big deal the Daleks to the series and how often they appear. You’d be forgiven then for wondering what the point of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ actually is. After all, it’s so obvious what’s going to happen just based on how often the Daleks appear in future episodes, right? Well, this is true but this sense of inevitability also works in a positive way as it serves to accentuate the already dark nature of the story. The war on Skaro has been going on for hundreds of years, at least, and the Doctor (plus companions) arrives at a time of attrition, stalemate and a feeling of hopelessness. Things get darker still with the introduction of Davros, evil scientist and creator of the Daleks. Here’s a man with no morals at all, just ambition and the desire to live on through his creations. It’s great fun watching Davros manipulate everyone around him so that he can achieve his goals, you know how it’s going to turn out but the fun lies in getting there not the destination itself.
The Doctor (played by Tom Baker) is the other big personality on the screen and having watched him in ‘Genesis’ I’d have to say that he does the Doctor better than David Tennant (the current Doctor). Here’s an actor who gets so into the character that it made me wonder if he was ever able to get out, Tom Baker is currently the longest serving Doctor (was in the show for seven years) so he had to be doing something right! Watching the Dr and Davros argue over morality is actually really gripping stuff, not so much because of what they’re saying but because of the sheer strength of personality behind each of them.
‘Genesis of the Daleks’ is one of those stories that makes it really easy for you to forget that the props are really shoddy and the ‘outside bits’ are all shot in the same quarry but from different angles. The story itself was fast paced and completely held my interest all the way through (even though I knew how it had to turn out). Best Dr. Who story ever? Certainly the best one I’ve seen.
Ten out of Ten