Doctor Who, Into the Dalek, TV review: Classic sci-fi adventure has blockbuster spectacle
If some fans were left with glazed eyes after last week’s nonsensical storyline, then ‘Into the Dalek’ more than compensated with a fresh take on an old foe
Saturday 30 August 2014
Finally, a Dalek story that viewers could really get their teeth into.
Written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat, ‘Into the Dalek’ literally took us into the heart of a killing machine before chewing us up and spitting us back out again.
After last week's Eton mess of a story, this was a good, old-fashioned sci-fi adventure. The plot borrowed heavily from Fantastic Voyage and 1987’s Innerspace - with a nod to the latter.
Without any intended puns, the Daleks have been done to death in recent times. Whatever happens, they come back but the Doctor defeats them ad nauseam. So exploring the morality of a Dalek was a nice change, ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ was the only other episode that has taken a new approach to the Doctor’s oldest nemesis.
It was a serious and darker tale to match the abrasive new Time Lord. He doesn’t give a damn and is far too reckless. Clara is now his moral compass and has to slap some sense into him.
The change in dynamic between Clara and the twelfth Doctor is just what we needed. Clara's simpering has been replaced by a hard, feisty edge. It only took a whole series but finally she has become the companion we were hoping for.
Away from the Daleks, viewers met the new companion Danny Pink, who is one of Clara's colleagues at Coal Hill School. As a former solider embarking on a new life as a teacher, he is far more substantial as a character.
Within minutes of appearing on the screen he was crying after he’d been asked if he had killed someone who wasn’t a solider. Anyone who failed to be moved by that moment has the heart of a Dalek.
Video: Doctor Who goes on world tour
Pink is a damaged and vulnerable young man and the audience instantly warms to him in that instant. Danny brings something new to Doctor Who. There is no cutesy back story to him, it’s hard-hitting and painful.
He breaks the mould of male companions on Nu-Who, who have been rather pathetic. Gone are the days of Mickey Smith cowering behind Rose Tyler or Rory Williams getting steamrollered by Amy Pond.
‘Into the Dalek’ reflects the darker and more adult tone that the makers of the show are now going for. Admittedly, it did feel like the audience was going on a psychedelic acid trip with Capaldi when he connected with the Dalek, but aside from that it was a strong instalment of Doctor Who.
Click the image above to launch the interactive graphic
Detractors are wrong when they insist the series isn’t the same - or mock the special effects, which were nothing short of blockbuster. The show is about change and this time around it feels grittier and more uncompromising. The body count is definitely higher as the Doctor leaves a trail of victims in his wake, who are ending up with Missy in “heaven”.
Next week Doctor Who gets a bit Game of Thrones when Clara and the Doctor meet Robin Hood.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 'Do not give them a reason': Baltimore man divides police and rioters in hope of avoiding violence
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Fast & Furious 7 overtakes Frozen to become 5th highest grossing movie of all time
Poldark finale review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
The Visit: Watch terrifying trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3 - review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton, really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia