Monday, 27 August 2012

Review: Doctor Who Classic: Remembrance of the Daleks (Revisited)

See here for my previous look at this story.

The beginning of the great team of Seven and Ace
Doctor Who - Season 25, Story One - Remembrance of the Daleks (Revisited)
Written between 12th and 15th June 2012

My first look wasn't really a review, was it? It was more of a single paragraph with some gushing in it. After Season 24, Remembrance of the Daleks instantly presents a very different image of the Seventh Doctor, while setting the series back on track with some traditional Dalek action. Not tired after the 20th Anniversary, JNT decided to throw in some effort for this 25th Season, and Remembrance was the first step towards this. Notably, Remembrance is the first story that I can call good in the classic sense -  a witty script that exploits the mythos while still providing a fun and entertaining experience. You don't need to have seen the Daleks before to love this serial; their awesomeness is cemented in a myriad of ways.
     Unlike in Attack of the Cybermen, the serial is set in the location and time of An Unearthly Child for an actual reason. The Doctor and Ace arrive at an opportune time; an army regiment has arrived to deal with a renegade Dalek, and The Doctor is on hand to offer them advice. Little do they know that the situation is being manipulated by the Doctor, who left behind a powerful artefact called the Hand of Omega in the time before the first serial back in 1963. Now faced with two Dalek factions, the Doctor and Ace must further manipulate events around Coal Hill School and make sure that the right Daleks do the right thing. Eventually the Imperial Daleks win under Davros, and take command of the Hand of Omega... which promptly destroys Skaro and then the Dalek Mothership.
      Out of perspective, the serial is very much a product of its time; the production seems to have more in common with Heartbeat than with the previous season. However, it is very clever, and is the first real sign of Andrew Cartmel's effects of the series and on the Doctor's character. Cartmel's design was later realised by the novel Lungbarrow, which had some conspiracy-theory-esque notions that The Doctor was the decendant of a Gallifreyan founder called The Other, woven together from his genetic material. This is more obvious when one watches the deleted scenes; Seven makes a few more grandiose statements, including the idea that he is "far more than just another Time Lord." Seven overall is much more manipulative and scheming, this being the first of his many schemes and plans. He also keeps his ascerbic wit from the previous season, and this combined with the great scipt makes a perfect whole.
Daleks climb stairs for the first time.
     Not to say that it's all brilliance and wit. The very nature of the serial means that at times the Doctor's dialogue feels clunky and expositional, especially when he takes the time out to explain the Daleks' entire backstory as well as explaining his incredibly detailed plans. There's also the random inclusion of Davros at the end, who, while the inspiration for one of Seven's best speeches ("Unlimited Rice Pudding!"), does seem incredibly tacked-on and unnecessary.
     Remembrance of the Daleks is damn-awesome, a great final swan-song for the Daleks regardless of whether or not it intended to be one. It contains some of the Daleks and Ace's finest moments, and begins the final run of the series in good style. It is, in every sense, a complete Classic. The Daleks wouldn't appear on television again for another 17 years, and this was as good a way as any to say goodbye.

Thanks.

NEXT WEEK: Maggie Maggie Maggie in The Happiness Patrol.

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