Friday, May 3, 2013

Sixth Doctor VIII - "Revelation of the Daleks"

Oftentimes regarded as one of the best, and certainly one of the darkest Doctor Who serials in the show's history, "Revelation of the Daleks" is thought to be the crowning achievement of the show's 22nd season. But, do I have the same opinion as all the others? I'm liable to have a very different outlook than most other reviewers. So, shall we take a look?

The Doctor (Colin Baker) and Peri (Nicola Bryant) arrive on the planet Necros. What appears to be a very quiet, snow-drenched planet is anything but. Lurking deep with in the basement of a great funeral home is the "Great Healer," who is in fact Davros (Terry Malloy) the creator of the Doctor's arch-enemy, the Daleks. What neither the Doctor nor Davros know is that Davros has a price on his head and it's only a matter of time before events reach a critical stage.

I will give this serial one thing - the premise is excellent. The Doctor and Peri arriving on a creepy, snowy planet and having Davros, surely one of the show's creepiest villains, living in the cellar of a funeral home is very scary stuff. What's more, there are some very intense scenes involving the attempted assassination of Davros and how he is creating a new race of Daleks. These elements together, if blended properly, could have made a fantastic and very scary episode. However in my mind, "Revelation of the Daleks" is a wasted opportunity. Perhaps the biggest problem I have with this story is the fact that the Doctor is a minor character. This is a similar problem that I had with "Attack of the Cybermen." Every time the Doctor and Peri get involved with the situation, the story shifts to someone's else's view point.

What's more, the Daleks do not have a key role to play in this story. It's a wonder why they were even included - this is a story about Davros, their creator. The Daleks only make an appearance in the end of the second episode and even then they don't do a whole lot. Again, wasted opportunity to use the show's most infamous villains. If the show had not included the Daleks, perhaps it might have been a bit better since we wouldn't be waiting for their arrival the entire time. Lastly, this story simply has too many characters. This story has about 15 characters and we really get characterization from a few of them. I understand that multiple story lines are supposed to be converging together here, but couldn't we have eliminated some of these characters from the story?

The Doctor with Davros (Terry Malloy)
On the positive side, Colin Baker is excellent as usual. When he is involved in the story, he's quite good and his interactions with the characters are great. The other stand-out performance is Terry Malloy as Davros. The creator of the Dalek race, Davros was introduced to viewers in the 1975 episode of Doctor Who entitled, "Genesis of the Daleks." Since then, Davros had made three more appearances before this story, and Terry Malloy is quite excellent. This version of Davros is a egomaniac bent on domination no matter what the coast. Malloy is able to deliver a number of chills up and down one's spine throughout the story. He succeeded in doing the same when he was reunited with Colin Baker for a Big Finish production entitled "Davros" which serves as something of a prequel to this story.

Following the completion of "Revelation of the Daleks," Doctor Who was nearly cancelled by the BBC. The show was on hiatus for 18 months and an entire season's worth of material was scrapped. When the show returned in late 1986, the show found itself on trial...in more ways than one.

Coming Next Time: I serve as the jury and deem whether "Trail of a Timelord" is worthy Doctor Who material - or not.

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