About Daleks

Where do I begin with Daleks?

There is so much wrong with this classic villain that it’s hard to know how they’ve managed to survive relatively unchanged for forty five years. My best guess is that rather counter intuitively that the most feared race in the universe has become a familiar, warm and cuddly reminder of childhood and therefore untouchable in the (weak) minds of the nation.

When I say nation I do of course mean the estate of Terry Nation who no doubt see the unchanged, unimpressive, unemotional Daleks as a cash cow to be milked until the end of all time.

The Original Daleks

They first sprung into being in 1963 in the second Doctor Who series and are described as a powerful race of mutants seeking to dominate the entire universe. They are completely without emotion, so no love or pity or guilt or compassion. Oh, except they can still hate.

Yeah, that makes sense, no emotion except hate. Nice one. Not one-dimensional in the slightest then?

It makes my fucking blood boil to see this supposedly master race portrayed so badly. Like most of Doctor Who the Daleks are a great idea spoiled by piss-poor implementation.

In fairness to them I recall the first time they appeared in the new Doctor Who. The ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, discovered one in some rich nutter’s underground, alien artifact museum.

Even though it was chained up and damaged Christopher Eccleston still managed to portray palpable fear. For an instant I felt the true menace that an alien race that was hell bent on wiping out everything that wasn’t them, could inspire.

Of course later in that episode when it inevitably escaped it became the shouty caricature we know and, I am reliably informed, love.

The principal behind the Daleks is sound, see my comments above, it’s the design and execution (should that be extermination?) that’s flawed. The design hasn’t changed in any significant way since they first appeared, the picture at the top of the page is from the 1965 movie Dr Who And The Daleks and the image below from the 2007 episode Daleks In Manhattan.

The New Daleks

Not much fucking difference is there? Forty two years and they still have sticks for arms, light bulbs on their heads and a single ‘eye’ on a stalk.

BBC should look to the gold standard of series reboots Battlestar Galactica and their handling of the reinvention of the Cylons. The new Cylons were familiar yet more menacing. The designers of Battlestar Galactica used CG to their benefit, no longer did the Cylons need to have a bloke inside, therefore they designed them free of those constraints.

And they did a fucking great job. The only real movement we’ve had on the Dalek front, aside from changes in colour and dimensions, has been this abortion.

Dalek Sec

Dalek Sec. Part Dalek, part human, part spiv. What the fuck were they thinking!

I think it’s safe to say that it’s time they were redesigned. In the redesign they should look to change three of the most obviously shit Dalek characteristics.

The Voice
That fucking voice! Jesus it’s old hat. Why must they insist on screaming exterminate at the top of their lungs all the time?

A greater sense of menace would be achieved with a deep, menacing, growling, animal voice. Or better yet no voice at all, have them communicate telepathically, with only the chief Dalek ever communicating anything.

Surely that makes sense? If they’re as advanced and as hell bent on destruction as we’re lead to believe surely they wouldn’t have to communicate with each other, and anyone within the vicinity, in their preposterous shouty voices?

The Shell
How many times have they changed the actual Dalek creature inside the shell? This relatively unseen, aspect of the design has been redesigned numerous times but they always left the bit that matters alone.

It’s time they looked at giving the Daleks different shells, all we get at the moment is a few different colours. Hardly the most important consideration to a master race? Although, having said that, the Nazis did like a good uniform.

No, this is too obvious to ignore. The traditional Dalek shell might be ideal for life on Skaro, assuming radiation turned every surface to glass, lovely smooth glass, but for the conquering of space I think we need to look at a few more designs.

Call me a radical but I think it’s probably time they had legs. Legs and big fucking guns. Make them scary again. An army of insect like Daleks that, very much like the Cylons, retain a few design hints of the past (I’m thinking bobbles and ‘eye’ stalks) but manage to give them a true air of menace.

Sure they should keep the traditional shell for use on board their ships or whatever, just give them some more appropriate tools for the universe domination part of the thing. For example flying, I have no desire to see the traditional Daleks flying.

If they need to fly give them flying machines, remember the Dalek is inside the shell, the shell is not the Dalek.

Their Goals
What are their goals nowadays? Do we actually know?

The Klingons joined the federation when shit got fucked up in their solar system. The Cylons have found God. Christ, even the Predators help humans from time to time.

The Daleks just seem to be painted as overwhelmingly ineffectual pantomime villains, who’s only apparent goal is to interrupt The Doctor’s regular visits to Queen Victoria and William Shakespeare (as routinely as Michael Parkinson interviews Muhammad Ali and Billy Connolly, each new Doctor is sure to visit that pair at some point).

Give them a proper purpose, let them regroup, redesign and come back stronger to either take over the universe or alternatively join forces with The Doctor to defeat a race of beings who threaten even them.

Whatever they do though let’s not have them atop the Empire State Building again though, eh? What was the fucking point of that!