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Old August 15 2013, 09:12 PM   #40
Redfern
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Location: Georgia, USA
Re: Doctor Who from the start (by a n00b)

My first exposure to the Daleks was "Genesis..." when my PBS affiliate started airing the Tom Baker serials in 1982, so you would assume that's how I would want my Daleks, as "created" monsters that rebel against their maker, Davros. But once I finally saw their original 1963 serial, I found I like that version best. Even as early as their second appearance, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", thematically they had devolved into cliched "robo-nazis from outer space". In their first appearance, they were "tragic" characters, almost to be pitied. Let me explain.

With Davros we learn the Daleks were "created", even "programmed"; they had no choice in their fate. But according to "The Dead Planet", it was a gradual descent into "ugliness" of their own choosing. The Daleks were originally a learned people. Ironically, the Thals were the "villains". By their own admission, the Thals attacked the Daleks, waging a war that finally pressured the latter to perform the most desperate of acts, employ nuclear weapons. The bombs nearly destroyed both sides. The few surviving Thals retreated to their side of the planet and the remaining Daleks hunkered within the ruins of their cities.

Radiation took its toll and each successive generation suffered ever worsening mutations. The genetic "scarring" got so bad that they engineered machines to aid their crippled bodies, eventually resulting in static powered, mobile "iron lungs", the iconic "travel macines". Perhaps more tragically, The Daleks' collective psyches followed the path of their bodies, each new generation growing ever more fearful, outright paranoid that the dreaded Thals might eventually return to wage war again. When the Thals do return centuries later, they are in no position to fight (not until Ian motivates them). In fact, they are barely "hanging on". But do the Daleks see this? No, they have let fear and suspicion consume their every waking thought that their response to "exterminate" before they themselves can be exterminated.

But it didn't have to end like that. No one "programmed" the Daleks. They could have chosen diplomacy, negotiation. They had the technology; the Thals had a potential "cure". (Yeah, the drug had a lethal effect upon the Daleks, that's why I stated "potential".) But their "cold war" paranoia made them lash out, prompting the Thals to retaliate just as the Daleks feared they would.

So, from my perspective, those original Daleks were pitiful, "tragic" characters, and thus had more emotional depth than their later depictions.

Sincerely,

Bill
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