Destiny of the Daleks

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Destiny of the Daleks

Postby John on November 6th, 2009, 3:28 pm

1975’s Genesis of the Daleks had proven to be something of an early success for the Tom Baker era, due mainly to Terry Nation’s inspired creation of Davros, unfortunately Nation just couldn't keep the momentum going, and his lack of inspiration is plain to see.

Everything about this story appears strained, with a script that is poorly conceived and full of holes. The notion of two battle fleets facing off without a shot fired is ludicrous, and what made the Daleks suppose that Davros could still be alive after so many years, especially considering they had shot him at point blank range?

As a result of having been neglected whilst in storage, the Dalek props are in extremely poor shape with visible damage and parts missing, the keen observer will be able to spot the rods inserted in their domes to prevent the top section from falling off, and in many scenes we can see the Daleks wobbling precariously. The shots of the Daleks exploding at the end of episode four called for some ‘disposable’ Daleks to be built, unfortunately due to their ‘throw away’ nature, they looked even less convincing than the originals. Director Ken Grieve’s low angled shots of the bomb laden Daleks passing behind the crest of a ridge on their way to the Movellan ship are lamentable, and we can clearly see the Daleks ‘bobbing’ up and down as they are ‘walked along’ by their operators.

Terry Nation’s concept of the Daleks facing a rival species is an interesting one; however the credibility of the Movellans does not come across on screen. They appear too fragile and lacking in aggression to pose any significant threat to the Daleks, and are remarkably simple to incapacitate. The only positive thing that can be said about their inclusion in this story is that they look great! The design is truly original and they look wonderfully bizarre in their crisp white costumes and long silver dreadlocks.

Davros, who had played such a pivotal role in Genesis, does not fare particularly well in this story, due mainly to the fact that the plot does not suit his character; consequently he has very little impact on the story. Davros also loses much of his original malice, most likely because of the change of actor, David Gooderson does his best, but Michael Wisher proved to be too hard an act to follow.

Destiny of the Daleks is well known for Romana’s infamous regeneration scene at the beginning of episode one. It had long been established that Timelords have the ability to regenerate when their bodies become weak or sustain injury, they are, however only able to do this twelve times. Terry Nation’s storyline appears to suggest that Romana squandered five of her incarnations deciding which body to ‘wear’. That for me is quite a continuity gaffe.

All told, Destiny of the Daleks was a poor start to season seventeen, Tom and Lalla work well together but the long awaited return of Davros was disappointingly eclipsed by Terry Nation’s weak storyline.

Rating: 2 Tom's out 5

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Last edited by John on November 30th, 2009, 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Destiny of the Daleks

Postby Captain Rum on November 21st, 2009, 8:46 pm

Yes the Movellans do look great, if memory serves their leader was a close friend of Freddie Mercury and appeared with him in "The Great Pretender" video in drag, alongside Freddie and Roger Taylor.

The story wasn't the best but I like the OB shots and Tom does have some good scenes.
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Re: Destiny of the Daleks

Postby merlinsseer on November 27th, 2009, 11:51 pm

The biggest problem I have with Destiny of the Daleks is the fact that I don't find Daleks scary at all , they don' t raise one single blip on my fear factor radar. This could be traced back to when I first watched Genesis of the Daleks and they resembled the canister vacuum that my mother had left sitting in the living room at that time. I tried to keep in mind that the Daleks were very young and hoped that they would get more frighting with time, unfortunately they didn't The only frighting part about these overgrown Bissells is that the on-board attachments are totally useless for sucking cat hair and spiderwebs out of corners.
I find it very hard to believe that a brilliant mind like Davros would have failed to give his creations more ability to adapt and evolve . Between Genesis and Destiny they seem to have made very little progress and are totally baffled by stairs,obscured vision and the ability to look down., a fact that the Doctor ( when hiding below one ) is probably very thankful for.
While hiding from the Dalek the Doctor pulls some disgusting, squishy, fleshy THING out of the hole in the hill and mutters something about the Kaleds returning to mutant form and that's why the Daleks are looking for Davros. This is never mentioned again in the story and totally baffles me, but the tossing of the icky glob and the squishy, gurgling sound it makes rolling down the hill amuses me so much that I can forgive this odd plot hole.
I agree that the actor playing Davros just doesn't have it, he SOUNDS like Michael Wisher but lacks that insane conviction that made Davros so chilling in his conversations with the Doctor. The sight of Davros being pushed around and told to " shut up or I'll switch you off again" by the Doctor is absolutely priceless and is another example of Mr. Bakers genius in making even little moments in stories so unforgettable.
The idea of the two enemies forever locked in a stalemated logic box ? Why would we mess this up ? Why show them how to solve the problem ? The rest of the universe could go on it's happy little way safe in the knowledge that two of the biggest threats are too busy waiting for their computers to spit out a logical solution to be bothered with everybody else. Sometimes the Doctor just needs to hush up and not prove himself right, no matter how badly he wants to play rock, paper, scissor, jelly baby.
Mary Tamm's 'Romana' deserved a better send off than the idea that she just wanted to try something new. Didn't the writers have time to come up with something better than this ? Romana doesn't show any signs of the confusion and unstable behavior that regeneration has been known to cause and the Doctor doesn't seem to be at all alarmed by her changes in picking a new 'look', so maybe she is just trying some things on and not really regenerating when she leaves the room. She seemed determined to be the princess and sort of had to be...after all, Lalla Ward wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
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Re: Destiny of the Daleks

Postby The Cloaked One on November 29th, 2009, 11:58 am

Romana's incidental sponsorship of suicide. It's always good to shed skins occasionally. XD I still find that scene too crazy even for Doctor Who.

While Destiny of the Daleks certainly was not as dark as Genesis of the Daleks, I still found it enjoyable. Part of Tom Baker was about the fact that no two episodes were quite alike. I mean, he fights the Daleks only twice, the Master, a few times, the Cybermen and Zygons only once, and then a bunch of other creatures for the rest of the series. After the third season, he virtually stops using items in his pockets altogether. The feel of the series changed several times throughout. The only constant was Tom Baker and it was his personality that carried it through. The horror of Genesis of the Daleks was traded for the humor of the Destiny of the Daleks and I found that both episodes were quite excellent despite budget constraints in the latter episode.
Old Doctor Who is not a series with a high end budget. The third Doctor was trapped on Earth for three seasons due to budget. The Fourth Doctor was reduced to facing tin foil on string when he ran for presidency in Gallifrey. This lack of budget would kill most series, but not Doctor Who. This is because Doctor Who is more like a stage play and its the strong personality of the Doctor that carried it through.
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