Doctor Who Vs. The Daleks in this New Collection from BBC

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On July 14, BBC Video will be releasing Doctor Who: The Daleks. This collection features a Doctor Who story from each of the modern Doctors facing off against the Daleks, a classic Doctor Who story, and a new Documentary called Dalek Origins. 

Dalek (season 1, episode 6)

For me, Dalek was the first GREAT episode of New Who.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy the episodes that came before, but this was the first time we really got to see Chris Eccelston in a true moral dilemma.  When the Dalek says "you would make a good Dalek" it throws into question everything you think you know about this enigmatic character.  Both Chris Eccelston and Billie Piper had real strong performances in this one, and it might actually be my favorite Eccelston episode of Doctor Who.  Score: 4.5/5

The Stolen Earth/Journey's End (season 4, episodes 12/13)

The good part of these episodes is that they are HUGE fan service.  The Doctor is reunited with several of his companions, not to mention the casts of the spinoffs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.  Donna also happens to be my favorite modern companion, so it was great to see her save the day here, even though in the end, it means she has to lose all the character development she had in her time with the Doctor.  That is just plain brutal.  These episodes are a ton of fun...though I have to admit, they don't hold up well to repeated viewings, especially the ridiculously over involved plan the Daleks seem to have come up with.  Let's take all these planets, and create a giant "machine" from their orbits that will destroy all of reality.  Score: 3.5/5

Asylum Of the Daleks (season 7, episode 1)

It really felt to me that this episode was an attempt to apologize to fans who were still angry about the multi-colored Daleks that popped up in Victory of the Daleks.  The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are dropped into a prison planet of Daleks to stop them from escaping.  This story did go a long way towards reminding viewers that Daleks can be scary.   Season 7 was one of the most inconsistent seasons for me, but I did enjoy this episode, especially since it was our first look at Clara Oswald, who has a VERY unique role in this story.   Score: 4/5

Into the Dalek (season 8, episode 2)

As much as I loved Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, I thought the first episode with him was real shaky in terms of storytelling. But Into the Dalek was a huge step in the right direction, and over all, season 8 might be my favorite season of New Who.  This episode was similar in some ways to Dalek, with someone trying to change the Dalek into something it isn't.  In the end, the Doctor ended up succeeding at that, but there is a huge amount of loss to get there.  My only real problem with this episode is that the characters all had to be nuts to think it was a good idea to repair a broken Dalek!!! Score: 4/5

Genesis of the Daleks (classic season 12, 4th serial)

In many ways, this is considered the best Dalek story of all time.  The Fourth Doctor is tasked by the Time Lords with going back in time exterminating the Daleks before they can rise to power.  The moral dilemmas posed in these episodes were real well done, and I think some of the best acting Tom Baker did in Doctor Who happened here.  We also get to see Davros for the first time, and I thought the effects they used on him were far ahead of their time.  This story is a classic, and any fan of Doctor Who needs to check this one out.  Score: 5/5

Dalek Origins

Dalek Origins is a 20 minutes documentary, and the only new material on these DVD's.  It is hosted by Dan Starkey (Strax), narrated by Lisa Bowerman (who has voiced companion Bernice Sommerfield in many Doctor Who radio dramas), and features Edward Russell (BBC's Dalek Curator) and Nicholas Briggs (the voice of the Daleks).

The documentary starts with an in-continuity history of the Daleks.  They use great clips from the 50+ years of Doctor Who history to tell the story.  Then we get a look at the various weapons and technology featured in the Daleks.  After that, they show how the look of the Daleks has changed over the years, and the many failed plans the Daleks have had in their many appearances.  It finishes with them showing how they do the Daleks' voice work.

All in all, this was a real good documentary, though I do wish they had talked a little more about the stories about the Daleks' real life history.  Any Doctor Who fan has a pretty good idea who the Daleks are in the show, so there wasn't a lot of new information here.  But it moved well, and was entertaining.   And the clips they used were real well chosen.  Score: 4/5

For the most part, I thought they selected the right episodes to feature the Daleks.  If you want to quibble, maybe they could have included the first Dalek episodes from 1963, but it is very rare they mix new Who and Classic Who, so it was a bit of a small miracle to even get ONE classic Who on this collection.  And Tom Baker is still most people's favorite classic Doctor (I am more of a Pertwee man), and Genesis of the Daleks is probably the best Dalek story they've ever done, so it makes sense to choose that one.

In terms of modern Doctor Who, I might have picked Victory of the Daleks over Asylum of the Daleks, but it seems like BBC realized that the New Dalek Paradigm basically flopped, and they haven't ever appeared since.  Personally, I wasn't a huge fan of the Dalek redesign either, but I did think that was a very good episode anyway.  Asylum of the Daleks is still a very good episode.

These discs are a little light when it comes to extras.  You get a subtitle track, the 20 minutes documentary, and that's about it.  Many of the other Doctor Who DVD's include extensive backstage pictures and other cool little features.  For me personally, that doesn't bother me.  I very rarely play with the extras on DVD's, but for a collector or fan, this might be a turn off.

All in all, this set was a great value.  Genesis of the Daleks alone runs about $22 on DVD, so getting it along with 5 other great episodes for around the same price can’t be beat.   If you are a Doctor Who fan, or interested in seeing what Doctor Who is all about, you can’t go wrong with this collection!


Disc 1:

  • Dalek (starring Chris Eccelston)
  • The Stolen Earth/Journey's End (starring David Tennant)
  • Asylum Of the Daleks (starring Matt Smith)

Disc 2:

  • Into the Dalek (starring Peter Capaldi)
  • Genesis of the Daleks (starring Tom Baker)
  • Dalek Origins (documentary hosted by Dan Starkey)
4.0 / 5.0