Tuesday, January 17, 2012


"Seig Hie--EX-TER-MI-NATE!  I mean EX-TER-MI-NATE!"
"We do not release prisoners. We are the Masters of The Earth."
"Not for long."

1) I will acknowledge that I am too young that I don't appreciate the real reason this show must've had the impact it did when it first aired. The WWII similes come hard and fast throughout the show (this really is the story than cements the Daleks=Robot Nazis concept), and while it's not as unsubtle as, let's say, Torchwood: Miracle Day, it is very, very present throughout.

2) Unlike other 'companion falls in love and leaves the Doctor' final stories ("Hi, I'm Leela, fierce warrior of a primitive culture...and now I's in lurve with wimpy Gallifreyan Guard Guy I have two, three scenes with"), Susan's storyline is very well constructed. Terry Nation makes certain Susan and David have lots of screen time together to build their chemistry and make you believe that they are in love...and I find it interesting that the final decision is The Doctor's, choosing to give her a home rather than selfishly keeping her for himself. It sort of signifies a point in the Doctor's character arc as well as Susan's.

3) We've got another example of Hartnell's struggle with his health as not only do we get him stumbling over his lines, we get in episode four...The Doctor falls insensate so Hartnell can rest for a while! The way this development is introduced is so hamfisted, it's hilarious. And speaking of hilarious....

"It's time you had a life of your own, my child...besides, your
weird-ass face is quite frankly creeping me out...:
4) WHAT. The. Fuck. That Slyther thing....Ye Gods, that's an awful monster. And I love the fact that it's apparently The Black Dalek's 'pet'....doesn't that imply a level of affection the Daleks just aren't capable of? But then....

5) Even at this early point in the series' existence, it's obvious the 'greater-than-four episodes' structure for longer stories start to seem overextended very easily. Not only the whole time waster of the Slyther seems gratuitous, the whole side trip with the women in the shack in the woods could be cut whole without any disruption to the flow of the story.

6) Was I the only one who wanted Barbara at some point to grab Jenny by the collar and punch her repeatedly? Especially after all the 'I'm a ballsy tough broad who will do anything to survive' bullcrap she keeps spouting....only to collapse into a pile of pork gelatin once she's captured by the Daleks in episode five. Ann Davies' portrayal pisses me off.

7) Dortmunn...I understand intellectually why this character existed in the story (The parallels to him and Roosevelt are hard to escape)...but maybe it's Alan Judd's portrayal, maybe it's the way the character is written, but I just don't buy his role. His death, meant to be heroic and bittersweet, just seems anticlimactic to me.

"...and we take bread and fruit and dip it in the cheese...it's
the party idea of the century!"
8) What I did think was effective was the shots of Barbara, Jenny and Dortmunn running through the empty streets of London, and seeing Daleks wandering around recognizable London landmarks. They ground the story in a weird reality that makes the invasion seem realer.

9) Overall the design sense of this story contributes greatly to the atmosphere and reality of the narrative. Simple things like the Dalek lettering seen throughout the show, or the 'vetoed' signs on artwork and museum pieces all lend veracity to the idea that this is a recognizable city that something truly terrible happened in.

10) Here's something that nags me about Dalek stories as a whole--wouldn't they be more effective, especially given how Episode One's cliffhanger is the appearance of a Dalek out of the water of the Thames, if the story wasn't named 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth?' Apparently, the story at one time was called simply 'The Invaders,' and I can imagine the chill that would go through me if I didn't expect that shot.

Overall...I know a lot of people hail this as a classic, but the truth is it's overlong and somewhat all over the place. Sure, there are some nice moments, but it could have benefited from being shorter and/or more focused. Still, an important story in the development of the show and required viewing.

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