Friday, January 30, 2015

Once More into the Pepper Pot Breach - Dalek Empire 2

The second series takes the questionable decision of telling the story through flashbacks, I think possibly setting up Dalek Empire 3. But further than that it decides to go for flashbacks within flashbacks at quite a steady procession. It even has the audacity to have the overall framing so far in the future that they get the details of Dalek Empire 1 wrong as they view history.

However, it's probably for the better, because it allows the series to set up some rather nifty cliffhangers, suspense and mystery to proceedings because if it had just carried on as normal it would have been rather so-so, one of the problems Cyberman 1 would suffer greatly from. Though Part 4 does commit the second greatest crime of cliffhangers by not addressing Part 3's until 20 minutes in, mostly spending its time explaining the framing story and setting up “Dalek Empire 3”.

The whole Suze and Alby relationship, finally actually has something happen in it, as it was perhaps one of the most disappointing storylines in the original, despite being one of the driving forces of the whole thing. This, with the addition of Kalendorf we get a wonderfully downer ending, and Kalendorf, who was almost secondary in the original series, gets elevated to what is most likely the most important character in the entire series. He might even play a role in the far-flung sequel.

The introduction of Morli, a rather idiotic yet plucky girl Alby saves from the Daleks, stretched my ability to cope with such characters, and almost took me to the point where I had to stop listening. Thankfully the pay-off didn't take that long and was worth it. Her constant mewling that the good Daleks were their saviours came round to actually mean something. Not just pointless bleeting, like it sounded.

The twist of Good Daleks could have proven to be a bit of a damp squib. The series could easily have descended into Dalek v Dalek, but Nicholas Briggs manages something quite special, with a very simple idea of what if the Good Daleks are just as bad, but in a different way. As hardcore as the Daleks we know are about superiority and death to those lesser beings, these 'good' Daleks are as stringent on bringing justice and order to the galaxy, by wiping out any that civilisations that have their own wars or just don't want to get involved in the galaxy spanning fight. In the end Kalendorf has sided with benevolent dictatorship instead of a straight forward one.

It also feels like it's set itself at odds to Who continuity as a whole, what with the Dalek being banished from the galaxy from 2000 years or so, and only capable of coming back via a different galaxy. New Who at least has the explanation of the Time War.

It does have that downer ending though.

Next week we start back with the TV show, with “The Rescue” and back to Hartnell. After all that talk of watching Four/Five Regeneration, meeting Nyssa and Tegan and what have you, I bet many are wondering what we're doing back at Hartnell after only two Tom Baker serials. And it's not because both of them were shit and I've written off the whole era, because the already watched “City of Death” falls between them and it's magnificent.

It's two reasons. The first is that when I finished 'Horns of Nimon' I was only a month away from Capaldi's debut and my writing is about ten serials beyond, so I'm way over budget.
The second is my desire to return to Hartnell from what was an ever growing side jaunt (go read that Who Thoughts entry to see how I was contemplating going all the way to 7 again).

Also, with “Horns of Nimon” out of the way I was already back on the Eighth Doctor audio bandwagon (I'm about halfway through “Seasons of Fear” as I write this) and I want to hit “Zagreus”, a point I'm treating as the end of his first season.

So I decided to scrap watching Old Who for a bit. Let the Blog catch up a little, and use Capaldi as a stopping point, and the perfect excuse to restart my trip with the original old man Doctor

It's been six months since I wrote that. Obviously I did reach Zagreus – just, I finished it about half an hour before Deep Breath premiered – and during the entire run of Capaldi I wanted to jump back to Classic Who. It feels good to finally do that. Though Classic Who doesn't effect New Who barely at all, I now know just enough to be dangerous, as I keep spotting little nods to things I only vaguely know. Plus, 'Season 2' of McGann. YAY.

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