Friday, 29 April 2011
The Evil of the Daleks
Daleks terrorize a bunch of Victorians.
The Evil of the Daleks has a reputation amongst some fans for being one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever. As it has mostly been lost, one ought to suspend judgment on the matter. It is simply impossible to tell the original quality of this serial. One thing that annoys me is when people draw up lists of Top Ten Doctor Who Stories and then include incomplete stories like Evil of the Daleks. It is simply unfair to compare complete with incomplete stories.
The Evil of the Daleks is a massive sprawling story. I am tempted to suggest that it could have been a bit shorter. It is one of those epic stories like The Daleks' Masterplan (though it does have a much stronger plot than that story). Perhaps because of the length of the story, there are quite a few plot elements that do not make a huge amount of sense.
There is something of a tendency to rely on stock characters in this story. Kemal, the silent, strong Turk is a dreadfully cliched ethnic stereotype. New companion Victoria is also pretty awful in this story, though thankfully she does improve in Tomb of the Cyerbermen. I think the popularity of Victoria is mostly due to the awe in which Season 5 is held by fans. The Doctor, on the other hand, is wonderfully portrayed, coming across as dark and manipulative. The character of Jamie is also used well here.
There is something of a mystical tendency to this story. The idea of the 'Human Factor' and the 'Dalek Factor' is hardly a scientific notion and comes across as a little bonkers (largely because it is treated as something scientific, rather than something spiritual). The experiments with time travel seem to have more to do with the Occult than with science. The Daleks seem to be almost a demonic force in the way they are summoned up by Waterfield's experiments. This idea is rather ruined by the cute, comic Daleks that have been influenced by the 'Human Factor.'
The Emperor Dalek is a fantastic creation and its voice is quite menacing. Naturally, because it is incomplete, it is hard to evaluate the overall look of the production. The use of the Dalek toys that differ significantly from the t.v. props does not stand in the serial's favour.
The classical music score gives this serial a quite different flavour. This is a production that was clearly meant to make an impact and it does some interesting things. I have some doubts that it is really the classic that fans imagine it to be, however.