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21 April 2015 @ 09:18 pm
NuWho Rewatch: Victory of the Daleks  
This is a very different tale to Evolution of the Daleks/Daleks in Manhattan and yet one is inevitably drawn into comparing the two largely, I suspect, because they are both early season Dalek stories set in the first half of the 20th Century.

Evolution of the Daleks/Daleks in Manhattan, as one of the early season two-parters, has its eyes very much fixed on spectacle and its tempting to think Victory of the Daleks is doing the same - in some ways it feels like one of Davies' notorious story starting points "Churchill! Daleks!" and yet its a much more static tale. Its focus is on the events unfolding in Churchill's bunker and up on the Dalek ship and the only real moment of spectacle it delivers is the spitfire attack on the Dalek mothership. That said, I'm not entirely sure what it is trying to do. There is a bit of defining the new Doctor's relationship with the Daleks (not much changed since the ninth, one feels); there is the unveiling of the new, largely unloved, dalek designs and presumably the "new broom" of eliminating the last of the Davies era daleks to bring in the Moffat era ones; there are vague musings on what it is to be human which are quite sweet but seem to come out of nowhere a bit (and defusing the bomb Bracewell by having him recall human emotions doesn't really make sense); there is some foreshadowing of the arc plot; and then there is the mythologising of Churchill. I did wonder if Churchill was supposed to be providing the thematic "fairytale" link, McNeice accurately capturing the popular image of the man as cheerful, ruthless and easy to like without grounding it out any real attempt at historical accuracy, but that feels like reaching a bit to me. If the 11th Doctor's tenure is supposed to be a fairytale, I think Victory of the Daleks is where it runs aground on the rock of a story that wants to pretend to be riffing on history not on myth. I'm not sure.

I quite like Victory of the Daleks, it doesn't feel as stupid as some of the dalek stories that immediately precede it, but it doesn't really grab me either. For all its flaws Evolution of the Daleks/Daleks in Manhattan at least had big ambitions, I'm not sure this did.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/152881.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on April 22nd, 2015 08:54 am (UTC)
This is one of my least favourite eleventh Doctor stories (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship might be worse, but that's about all). You are certainly right that it does not have much ambition beyond introducing the new paradigm Daleks. There is some rehashing of The Power of the Daleks (another similarity with Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks which rehashed The Evil of the Daleks), but not really a lot of ambition beyond that.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on April 22nd, 2015 12:26 pm (UTC)
It actually does feel oddly like a throwback to the Davies era - for all its trying to assert a new direction.