Doctor Who: Dalek
(S01E06) All right, let's get this out of the way so we can proceed with the review. Here we go . . .
I didn't like Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. Call it blasphemy, call it satanical, but I just didn't get the vibe with Baker as I did with some of the other doctors such as Jon Pertwee (third Doctor), Peter Davison (fifth Doctor) and Sylvester McCoy (seventh Doctor). Maybe it was the scarf.
Having said that, I am really enjoying these new Dr. Who adventures that are appearing on the Sci-Fi Channel while their normal Friday night schedule is taking a hiatus. To paraphrase... it's not your father's (or grandfather's) Dr. Who. While there are some occasional cheesy aliens and special effects, this version of the show is definitely the one of the most slickly produced in the series' 43-year history.
This week, we revisit an old enemy of the Doctor's: Daleks. Well, actually just one that was collected by an American millionaire, Henry Van Staten. The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston, who is the ninth Doctor and not the one in the current series appearing in the UK) and his companion Rose (former teenage popstar Billie Piper) visit the year 2012 where they land in Van Staten's museum to see the Dalek and, in a cameo appearance, the head of a Cyberman.
It turns out that the Daleks are robots with organic bodies inside and that they experience pain. It also turns out that the Doctor and the Dalek have one thing in common; they are both the last of their kind. This leads to a mano-a-mano battle between the two, where the Dalek pretty much shoots everyone down and shows a bit of Matrix-esque abilities as it sees enemy bullets in slow motion and absorbs them.
The Dalek is shown in a different light for this version of the series. It's unsure of what to do since none of its race no longer exists. The Doctor has one suggestion for it: kill itself. The Dalek has other plans though as he is now contaminated with the touch of Rose on his metal skin. He can no longer exterminate; all he wants is its freedom. In an interesting turn of events, the Dalek opens up its shell to Rose and reveals its organic self. In the end it does kill itself in order to avoid the mutation that it is going through.
I actually felt sympathy for the Dalek in this episode as it made the decision to kill itself; whoever wrote the sequence between him, the Doctor and Rose did a very good job at showing the Dalek's pain. In general this episode was very emotional, as the Doctor showed his anger and fear when meeting the Dalek and his sadness when he thought he had lost Rose.
This version of the Doctor is, well, cool. He's not like some of the other Doctors (like, for example, sixth Doctor Colin Baker). He dresses well, he's glib, and he has the right amount of cheekiness and logic in him. I also like Rose. There have been plenty of companions that have done nothing but whine every time the Doctor began another adventure. Rose is different; she comes from South London (I guess that's a rough and tumble part of the city), she's young, and she is ready to go on the adventures (as she had nothing really keeping her at home before that). I look forward to future episodes.