Wednesday, 29 July 2015

BOOK OF LISTS: 5 "Not As Bad As Everyone Says They Are" Stories

BOOK OF LISTS: 

Five "Not as Bad as Everyone Says They Are" Stories

I'll be the first to admit, most posts done under the "Book Of Lists" category are going to be opinion pieces. But I'm making them as lists to restrain myself in certain ways. By imposing a structure of some sort, I'm forced to keep myself succinct and not turn this into so many other fan blogs where the authors just rants away til they're foaming at the mouth. 

I'm also going to try to keep things positive in a lot of these types of posts. In this one, for instance, I'm going to look at five stories that have been heavily bashed by fandom and point out that they're actually a lot better than most people say they are. Stories that, if you don't listen to what everyone else says about them, are actually pretty good. 

5. LOVE AND MONSTERS

The first attempt at a "Doctor Lite" story took some serious chances. Less than two seasons into the New Series, RTD made the bold choice of completely subverting the established formula of the show. It's not about the Doctor or the companion. It's not even that much about any of the other supports we've met so far. It's about some previously-unseen bloke who has been sitting on the sidelines only experiencing fragments of the Doctor's influence. Suddenly, he's front-and-center for the bulk of the episode. How crazy is that?!

One might complain that the greatest sin this story commits is that it's centering on a character we've never seen before and haven't seen since. Something the show has never done before. Which means Love and Monsters is not "True Who" - but, rather, a pale imitation of the series. Those who make that complaint should go watch Mission to the Unknown and shut the hell up.

Others site the strong comedy element or the somewhat rubbish monster as being major problems with the story. I suppose I might agree if I didn't actually enjoy those factors. Love and Monsters has some really good laugh-out-loud moments that I think are fun (Oh my God! They're going a bit Scooby-Doo at the beginning! So what?! It's amusing!) And the Abzorbaloff completes the whole effect by being a bit on the silly side. But, you know what? He's also an interesting alien. I would genuinely like to see one make a return appearance. And the gag they do with the name of his home planet cracks me up every time.

So, come on guys, lighten up. Love and Monsters was the perfect thing to do before going into the big mushy break-up that the Doctor and Rose are about to have. Particularly since the break-up was far mushier than it needed to be.

"But Doctor Who should never be made into a comedy" some of you might complain. To those, I say: "Go watch The Romans and shut the hell up!"

4. THE SPACE MUSEUM

"The first episode is brilliant!" fandom will extoll, "The other three episodes are utter crap!"
Yes, those other three eps have their fair share of problems. There are some moments that truly look like something from out of Plan B From Outer Space. But you know what? Plenty of other Hartnell stories have moments like that. It's called Early 60s Sci Fi, folks. Things can get pretty ugly, in places.

But there's also that really fun interrogation scene with the Doctor and Lobos. That's not in the first ep, is it? And Vicki is actually pretty useful in this story as she figures out a way to open up the weapons' locker. Like Susan, she's supposed to come from an advanced society so it was nice to see her finally use some of that knowledge rather than just scream and need rescuing.

The whole philosophy of re-writing time gets explored quite thoroughly and, for the most part, holds our interest quite nicely. The Doctor remarking about the button on Ian's coat gives just a bit of a glimpse into the mind of a Time Lord. Probably for the first time in the series, really. There's also the wonderful suspense that is created when one of the characters does start getting converted into an exhibit. That was actually a pretty cool choice for the author to make in order to try to keep us believing that the TARDIS crew might not actually escape the fate they've caught a glimpse of.

There are an any number of other strong points I could list about those other three episodes but I'll stop here. Episode One of Space Museum is brilliant. Particularly by the standards of the age it was shot in. But, you know what? The other three eps are pretty darned good, too.

The Doctor hiding in the Dalek was also pretty fun. Another strongpoint that didn't happen in Episode One!

3. THE 96 TELEMOVIE

Poor 'ole 96 Telemovie. It never stood much chance.

First off, it just had too many expectations heaped on to it by a fandom that was still just a little too hyper-critical at the time. There was no way it was going to be good enough for anyone. Add to it the fact that it was an American co-produce and all hope gets thrown out the window. The British didn't like it because it was too American. And the Americans didn't like it because it was too British. Basically, the whole venture was doomed to fail right from the very start.

But a bunch of years have sailed by and another attempt to bring back the show has succeeded. We can now examine the whole thing with considerably less bias. And we can actually, maybe, admit that the 96 Telemovie was an okay start to what could have been a very promising series. Paul McGann, of course, makes a formidable Doctor and that helps a whole lot. But it's not just a case of a good lead actor being caught in a bad story. A lot of important groundwork is laid, here, for the next revival. There is a fair amount of whimsy and joie-de-vivre in this tale that we see carry over into the next stab we take in 2005. This is also the first time in forever that we've allowed the Doctor to have a love life. That will also have a big influence on the future series. If the story can have such a strong impact on things to come, surely it can't be that bad?

Yes, the storyline gets a bit confusing towards the end. But that's okay. The last few seasons of the Classic Series used a similiar format where expository dialogue was kept to a bare minimum and we were just allowed to come up with our own explanations (Ghostlight, anyone?). Of course, from a marketing standpoint, that was probably not the best choice as it did alienate a new potential audience a bit. In the same way, I liked that the story started with Doctor Seven and changed him into Eight. Again, not the most accessible way to introduce the character. But from a completist fannish standpoint, it was a very nice gesture.

While the plot is a bit thin - Rose wouldn't be any thicker. The real point of both of these episodes was to re-introduce the audience to the mythos of the series. The 96 Telemovie does it just as well as Rose did. Maybe even a little better. After all, RTD had a whole season to re-introduce the Doctor. Poor 'ole Phillip Seguin had just one feature-length backdoor pilot to do it in. And he did it pretty good.

Believe it or not, I even thought Eric Roberts was pretty good as the Master.

2. THE INVISIBLE ENEMY

"Doctor Who cannot do space opera." the average uneducated fan will claim. And then they will site The Invisible Enemy as an example.  And, in many ways, The Invisible Enemy backs up that opinion quite nicely.

Good space opera requires budget. You've got all kinds of model work and/or CGI that is required to create exterior shots of space ships and space stations and that stuff costs bucks. Equally so, the interiors of said ships and stations can also prove costly. Oftentimes, you have to build those interior sets from scratch because there are no suitable-looking locations that you can shoot from.

But the last thing 70s Who had was budget so all this normally-expensive stuff looked like crap in The Invisible Enemy . It didn't help that the centrepiece monster looked like he should be served on a seafood platter rather than conquering the universe.

But if you can cast aside the budgetary limitations, Invisible Enemy turns into a great space opera. All the elements are there - they're just not visually represented all that well. On top of that, there's some pretty clever ideas at play. A sentient disease that thrives on intellectual stimulation is a very unique villain and the way it asserts its way into the macro-universe is done quite skillfully. There's an interesting journey into the Doctor's mind in Part Three that, like everything else in the story, works better in theory than it does in execution. But it's still pretty cool stuff.

Which means that the overall idea of Invisible Enemy is a great one. It's just restrained by a tight budget. New Who has hints of space opera in it (A Good Man Goes To War is probably the best example of one, so far) but the New Series could really reverse that anti-space opera opinion if it really pulled out the stops and went for it. So long as it still remembers to do what Invisible Enemy did: tell a good story.

1. TIME AND THE RANI

You read that right. I'm legitimately claiming that Time and the Rani might actually be an okay story. Yes, the Rani running around pretending to be Mel is, quite easilly, the most ludicrous thing we've ever seen on the show. And those mines she's set up might be a decent-looking special effect, but they're ridiculously over-convoluted. And, oh my goodness, Sylvester McCoy is acting far too silly. This is absolutely shameful!

But the theme of this list is: "Not as Bad as Everyone Says They Are" and Time and the Rani, I feel, definitely falls under that category. McCoy might be playing things for laughs but that doesn't mean he's not a lot of fun to watch. Doctor Seven stumbling about crossing his proverbs actually makes for some pretty entertaining viewing.  It even distracts us quite nicely from the somewhat threadbare plot.

The aliens are well-conceived, too. The Lakyertians might be suffering a bit too much from that Great 80s Desire To Be Overly-Colourful, but their society is well laid-out. And the Tetraps not only look good - but are an interesting species. Another monster I wouldn't mind seeing in a return appearance.

Yes, I ranked Time and the Rani as the worst of all the regeneration stories but I also mentioned right in that post that it's not as bad as they say. It only ranks so low on that particular list because of all the behind-the-scenes problems it had to work around to have an actual regeneration in it. Outside of that context, most of the story holds up fairly well. We really shouldn't roll our eyes so much at this one.

Perhaps one of the best things that Time and the Rani does is set the tone for the way the Seventh Doctor will fight a lot of his enemies. We see it right at the end as he goads the Rani into destroying the Lakyertians. She activates those explosive bangles - not realizing she's actually destroying her brainiac, instead.

Manipulation and Deceit: these shall be Doctor Seven's greatest weapons.  And it's right there for everyone to see. Right in his very first tale.

A tale that really isn't as bad as everyone says it is....




Agree with the list? Think I'm absolutely full of crap? You decide. You can even argue with me in the comments if you'd like. 

But if you are thinking there are other stories that fit this category - then don't worry. I will have other installments of this. Because I think there are other stories out there that are not as bad as everyone says they are. 

I just thought I'd do five of them, for now...





Wednesday, 22 July 2015

CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES:

Episode 5 of 
The Tymecian version of Dalek History (a.k.a - The Right Version)

We've reached the end, at last. Just a few stories left to place in some sense of proper order and one or two more continuity issues to come up with an explanation for. Hope you've enjoyed the ride. We'll go back to shorter posts for a bit after this! 



PART FIVE:   A POSSIBLE ALTERED TIMELINE AND THE NEW DALEK PARADIGM 


And now, things get a bit tricky with continuity.   As we would only later learn, Cracks in Time are formed when the Doctor's TARDIS explodes in The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.   These Cracks seem to have some kind of strange effect on Amy Pond's memories of the Dalek invasion that takes place sometime around 2008 (or, possibly 2009 because of the trickiness of dating RTD stories on contemporary Earth).    Could it be possible that these Cracks did more than just affect Amy's memories?   Have they erased the memories of the entire population of Earth?    Or perhaps, even, somehow erased the events altogether (the Cybernaught adventure in 18th Century London seems to suffer a similar fate).    Perhaps the Doctor and a few other key people who were "at the eye of the storm" of this temporal re-adjustment recall the event.   But, otherwise, the whole invasion has been either forgotten or even deleted from Time because of the Cracks.   The only way this becomes a legitimate problem is when we consider that Adelaide Brookes is inspired by a Dalek she saw in the invasion.    But, perhaps, in the timeline altered by the Cracks, something else influences her to explore space.    Or, perhaps she still recalls the events because she is such an important part of a Fixed Point.   Who can tell?  But it does seem that the Dalek attack on Earth in 2008/2009 becomes a non-event that is only remembered by a select few. 

Which is why Henry Van-Statten has no idea what he has locked up in his bunker in 2012 even though he should've been able to clearly identify it as a Dalek.    In his memory, the invasion that occurred a few years previously has now never happened because of the Cracks in Time that we will see in the Eleventh Doctor's adventures.
   
The Ninth Doctor lands in this new timeline and the storyline of Dalek takes place.  This is his initial encounter with the Daleks after the Time Wars - but within the experiences of the Dalek race, quite a bit has already happened for them since the battles they fought against the Time Lords.    But because this is his first time he fights them, when the Dalek self-destructs at the end of the tale, the Doctor believes he has seen the last Dalek die.  He is, of course, intensely wrong!
  
 And now we must launch ourselves' into the far-flung future. In an unseen adventure during the Time Wars, the Emperor Dalek escapes the Time Lock that has been put around the whole event.  He emerges from the War in a damaged Dalek saucer and arrives in Earth's solar system.   Somewhere, more than likely, near its outskirts.  Around the year 199 800 or so.  The Emperor is badly damaged but has survived.   Slowly, he rebuilds and restores himself.   And then sets about re-building a Dalek army.    But even in a time where the Daleks are only a vague memory, he decides to move as covertly as possible.   
            
Like the Dalek in Van Statten's museum - he believes himself to be the sole survivor of the Time Wars.   He can find no trace of the Cult of Skaro that he sealed inside a Void Ship with an imprisoned Dalek army so he must assume that they failed in their mission to keep the Dalek race alive.  The Emperor takes it upon himself to re-establish the Daleks' presence in the Universe.   But since he is alone and floating in the solar system of one of his greatest enemies - he knows he must be shrewd and stealthy.        
            
With a slow deliberateness, the Emperor sets things up so that he can begin acquiring genetic material to work with.   More than likely, he started by just raiding passing ships and harvesting the few cells from human passengers that he deemed worthy of being cultivated into Dalek embroyo.     He infused some of his own cells into the mix and breeds a Kaled Mutant/Human hybrid and places it inside a Dalek shell (perhaps he has records of when Davros did something similar on the planet Necros).   Eventually, he assembles a small squad to keep him company in his saucer and they begin to expand exponentially. 
            
Building more Dalek ships, the raiding parties acquire further genetic material more quickly.    And the army grows some more.  But the Emperor knows he must watch his step.   If his exploits become too big and noticeable, Earth might do something about him.   And with such a small force, he'll offer little or no resistance. 
            
As we start reaching 199 900, the Emperor Dalek changes tactics.   He sees that Earth is going through a period of Rapid Expansion and takes measures to prevent it.  He knows that a rapidly expanding Human Empire might detect his activities and bring them to an abrupt end.   If Earth is kept under restraint, he can keep harvesting from Humanity with little opposition. 
            
The Dalek Emperor actually comes up with an excellent strategy to contain Humanity that also accelerates his plan.   Now equipped with a good strong understanding of the Human Condition, he begins to manipulate the population through use of the media.   Eventually, he is able to work from behind the scenes enough to centralise Earth's media production into one main network on Satellite Five. Where he can truly control the flow of information and cause Earth to stay massively isolated.    But the Emperor still wishes to maintain his anonymity in all this.   He strikes a deal with a Jagrafess and allows him to run the operation.    The whole time, however, he is setting up a secondary system through the satellite that will enable him to abduct humans with even greater frequency.
            
It is here that the events of The Long Game occur.   Not truly a Dalek story, I know.   But a set-up to one that is soon to come.    In fact, one can almost call The Long Game/Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways a three-parter with a big space in it for other stories.
   
Even with the deposing of the Jagrafess, the Emperor's plans can't be brought to a halt.   In fact, the timing is perfect.    The Emperor has set up a transmat relay and a cloaking signal within Satellite Five and can now begin his reconstruction of the Dalek Empire in deadly earnest.   Humans are now forced regularly to participate in murderous game shows and are sent to his saucer squad to be used and processed for Dalek conversion.   

The Emperor is able to run this operation for a nice century or so and has now amassed a huge force of Daleks that is nearly ready to sweep out and conquer the Universe, once more.    He's also developed a ridiculous god-complex during all his time in isolation and has become a religion unto himself.   
            
And so, Doctor Nine returns to the scene and Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways takes place.    
            
Somehow, a few Daleks survive Rose's Wrath.    We see in the next story that Dalek saucers do have time travel capabilities. So, more than likely, one of the ships on the edge of the fleet just managed to time jump as  Rose's "ripple of destruction" was engulfing them.    But it managed only the narrowest of escapes.   The ship was badly damaged and only a handful of the crew survived.   
            
Those last few Daleks begin to scour the cosmos looking for any remaining signs of Dalek civilization that they might be able to exploit.  They have probably conceded to the idea of abiding to a sort of "Dalek Mean Time" (similiar to the idea of a "Gallifreyan Mean Time" that many fans believe Time Lords adhere to) and won't, therefore, go into their own past and steal from themselves', anymore.    So in the current time that they're in (perhaps they've returned to the 42nd/43rd Century?), they manage to make a crucial find: they discover an old Progenitor from their days of conquest before the Time Wars.   The Progenitor contains a huge supply of Dalek genetic material and can, of course, produce a massive force for them.  This a great discovery that could easilly restore them to a former glory.   After all, a single Progenitor did that for them way back in the 28th Century.      
            
Of course, they also run into a huge obstacle.   The Progenitor, with its massive security protocols, no longer recognizes them as true Daleks because their DNA is mixed with human material.    It will not accept their instructions to re-commence building Daleks because it is not certain that these are actual Daleks making the request.   The Daleks do manage to get the computer that controls the Progenitor to concede to Dalek production if the operators can get a testimony from their greatest enemy to confirm their identity.      
            
A scheme is hatched to lure in the Doctor to verify them to the Progenitor.    Knowing his favorite haunts in Time and Space and actually managing to trace some communications in the Time Vortex that were sent to the TARDIS, the Daleks present themselves' as a gift to Churchill's War Effort in the 1940s.   Victory of the Daleks takes place and a new Dalek Paradigm is born.   A new model of Dalek emerges from the Progenitor.    Dalek society, itself, has always been very functional and class-based - but never moreso than now.    Daleks charged with very specific tasks receive very specific liveries.   In Victory, we see five distinct Dalek categories:  the Drone, the Strategist, the Scientist, the Eternal (whatever that is!) and the Supreme (now white instead of black).   We will later see in a cameo in The Wedding of River Song that there may be still more classes in their new social structure since a Dalek with an entirely different colour scheme from the five we saw in Victory is briefly glimpsed.   
            
Their escape back into the future with a now-active Progenitor can only mean one thing - a new Dalek army is rising.   More than likely, the Daleks have returned to where they left things off before they entered the Time Wars in the 42nd or 43rd Century.   Or they may have gone all the way back to the Year 200 100.   Or some other point in Time.   We can't say for sure, yet, until we get a better look at what they're up to.    At this point, the show has been pretty non-specific about what they're doing these days.
            
However, it does seem that a good solid Dalek army is back in action and that the Daleks are playing at intergalactic politics again (but in their own, ruthlessly treacherous way, of course).    Apparently, this latest class-driven Dalek society formed an alliance with various other races that despise the Doctor and have purposely created a trap to capture him in.   Only the goals of the Daleks seem almost altruistic this time.   Discovering that the Doctor's TARDIS would explode and destroy the Universe - they hatch a scheme to permanently imprison the Doctor beneath Stone Henge on 2nd Century Earth in hopes that this would stop the cataclysmic event from ever happening.
            
And so, The Pandorica Opens/Big Bang occurs.
            
We get a strong indication that the Daleks are major operators in this Alliance Against The Doctor.    Since most of the races attending the whole imprisonment event don't seem to have time travel technology, it seems likely that the Daleks set up a nice big Time Corridor for everyone to fly through and take them back to Stone Henge in the Second Century.   The fact that the Supreme Dalek stands at the forefront of the event would also show that a great degree of reverence was accorded to the Daleks. 
            
We then come to Asylum of the Daleks.    The Daleks, for some reason, are not fooled by the news of the Doctor's death and recruit him and his companions Rory and Amy to deal with the planet where they dump all their warriors who have gone insane.   We now see that they have a huge army again - but we still can't be sure what point in Time they are existing in.    We know it's somewhere in the future as we see humans that seem to be travelling quite comfortably in spaceships.  
 
Perhaps the most bizarre new trait of Dalek society that we see developing is an aptitude for some sort of gross bastardization of democracy.   There is now a Dalek Parliament led by a Dalek Prime Minister.    The Supreme Dalek is still a major player in the pecking order, but the Prime Minister seems a superior rank to even him.  The standard "grunt Dalek" still looks the same with his gold livery.   The multi-coloured ones with the different shape that we saw emerge from the Progenitor in Victory only seem to be higher-ranking officials.    We also see that their army has swelled to an enormous number again.    Gone are the days where only a few Daleks were rummaging around the Universe trying to save themselves'.    They are back in full force, now.  The Doctor doesn't manage to completely wipe out this latest army like he has in other recent stories like Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways or Stolen Earth/Journey's End.   Perhaps he sees that this group of Daleks won't prove to be quite as deadly of a threat as previous large-scale Dalek operations have been.
   
Most interesting, of course, is what happens at the end of this latest conflict.    Oswyn Oswald, the mysterious companion who keeps dieing and coming back, erased all records that the Daleks had of the Doctor.   He is, once more, a complete stranger to them.
   
Oswyn’s efforts, however, are quickly nullified in the next adventure we see involving Daleks. In Time of the Doctor, the Daleks are one of the many races responding to the message Gallifrey is sending out from Trenzalore. In their battle with the Papal Mainframe, the Daleks recover information about the Doctor from the church’s records. They know who the Doctor is again, and take steps towards destroying him in the village of Christmas. Those plans eventually fail as the Doctor induces a whole new regeneration cycle granted to him by the Time Lords and uses his excess regenerative energy as a weapon against a Dalek mothership that had entered Trenzalore’s atmosphere to observe the final demise of their greatest enemy.

No doubt, this was just one of many motherships still floating around the cosmos somewhere in our own future. We still don’t know, for sure, what year this current Dalek army has situated itself in but we are seeing human colony worlds so we know this must be some century way past our own. The Dalek menace has definitely survived beyond the battle at Trenzalore.

Into the Dalek offers us a better idea of where in the future those Daleks might be. We’re still not entirely sure what era these gold-liveried Daleks now find themselves’ in  but we are definitely in the far-flung future.  The notorious “Tella-Tubby Daleks” seemed to have totally disappeared – we do see a Dalek giving a lot of orders but it bears the shape of the Daleks we’ve been seeing most frequently in the New Series rather than Daleks that were first created in Victory. But it’s also entirely possible that the Victory Daleks are still lurking about, somewhere.
            
Humanity doesn’t look to be in good shape, though. It does almost seem like, possibly, the Daleks are finally winning in the conflicts against Earth-Occupied Space. The humans that we see fighting against them seem more like a group of rebels trying to take them out rather than a proper army. It’s difficult to tell, though. These could just be humans on a deep-reconnaissance mission and that’s why we see them in such a small amount. Or it could be that the Daleks are finally conquering humanity and there are only small pockets of resistance left. Again, it’s difficult to tell.

I would be inclined to believe, though, that we are in a period of time and space that takes place after the 40th Century (post-Dalek Masterplan). That the Daleks have returned to where they had left things off before the Time War. And I do think that, just this once, they are succeeding in the quest to eliminate humanity and conquer the part of the galaxy that humans currently occupy.

Of course, the creation of “Rusty the Good Dalek” could change things drastically. We saw in Evil of the Daleks how just three Daleks could make a serious difference in Dalek ideology. Rusty’s attitude could prove to be a serious poisoning of the well if he’s able to start interacting with other Daleks out there. Will he make the difference that humanity needs, right now?
            
We'll have to wait and see...

            
CONCLUSION: 
           
            
There you have it: an arrangement of stories that makes the best chronological sense of all the Dalek adventures that the show has, so far, produced.    It should be noted that most of my suppositions were based on the levels of technology that the Daleks were displaying in those tales.    Daleks dependent on primitive forms of locomotion like static electricity or satellite dishes are obviously nearer to the beginning of their history (the First Doctor claiming that Dalek Invasion of Earth takes place before The Daleks, by the way, is just completely inaccurate.  He was simply making a wild guess that was totally wrong).   
            
There are also a whole series of stories in which there is no indication that the Daleks have discovered time travel, yet.    This becomes the second era in Dalek history: the period where the Daleks don't appear to be based on Skaro and are waging an ongoing inter-galactic war with Earth.   

Next, of course, are the stories where Daleks are showing signs of primitive time travel technology.   The days of Time Corridors and the Return to Skaro.    Shortly thereafter, are the tales in which Daleks appear to have built TARDISes of their own.   We can only presume that, after acquiring such advanced time travel skills, they become worthy adversaries for Gallifrey and the Time Wars ensue.
      
All New Who stories take place after the Time Wars and can, therefore, happen in a fairly chronolgical order.    Dalek and Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways get slightly re-arranged, of course.   Otherwise, the Doctor and the Daleks seem to be moving along the Causal Nexus in a, more or less, linear fashion to each other.    Unlike Classic Who, where the Doctor appears to be jumping up and down throughout their history.

Another important point of this whole useless exercise was to try to make sense of some of the continuity glitches that have occurred in various Dalek stories.    I have done my best to explain problems like the Kaled/Dal discrepancy that we see in the Origins of the Daleks.   Or the fact that Henry Van Statten doesn't realize he has a Dalek in his bunker in 2012 even though there was a massive Dalek invasion only a few years earlier.
  
I hope that you have found my explanations of such problems to be both creative and feasible.       

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES:

Episode 4 of The Tymecian version of Dalek History (a.k.a - The Right Version)

Well, that wraps things up for all Classic Series Dalek stories. From hereon in, it's strictly New Series stuff. Pre and Post Time War Daleks, in my book, don't really mix (or they don't mix much - we did have a brief mention of Asylum of the Daleks in the last part). We'll have one more installment after this. 



PART FOUR: THE TIME WARS! 

   
            
While their plans with the Time Destructor have failed, this does not stop the Daleks.   They continue their galactic expansion campaign and maintain their experiments with the Nature of Time.    As they start approaching the 41st or 42nd Century, they seem to attain the one thing that makes them too much of a threat to the Universe.  They gain Full Mastery over Time, itself.   They even seem to have changed the way they gather energy for themselves'.   Instead of harnessing solar power (or perhaps psycho-kinetic energy as the the Third Doctor once suggested in Death to the Daleks) they now use artron energy as their main power source.  Because of this discovery, the basic Dalek design goes through its heaviest overhaul.   The gold-liveried Daleks that we see in the New Series are born.       
            
These new Daleks continue to build various sorts of "Time Weaponry" and develop all kinds of methods of manipulating the Fourth Dimension.    Basically, they become that menace the Time Lords were fearing way back when they sent the Fourth Doctor on his mission to destroy them at the point of their origin.    Which means, of course, that the Time Lords must finally act against them directly.  
            
And so, the Time Wars begin.  
            
Since most of the wars weren't actually seen in the New or Classic Series, we can only gather scant knowledge about the Time Wars through dialogue that's been delivered by various characters that participated in it.    It is possible to re-construct some of the events of the Time Wars through this dialogue, but I shall try to stick mainly to the issues that relate directly to the Daleks.   
            
It does seem that the wars don't only involve Daleks and Time Lords but other races and beings, too.  And whoever won these wars would be rewarded with ultimate control over Time and the Universe, itself.   The Time Lords had always possessed this power, of course, and had chosen not to abuse it.  But this would not be the case with the Daleks or the other species/beings that were attempting to win the Wars.   
            
It would appear that Davros is, somehow, running the initial Dalek campaigns in the Time Wars (he may not actually be their leader, the Daleks may have just pressed him into their service). Again, he was probably "scooped up" in some way from the 27th/28th Century and brought forward to handle battle-strategy.   Davros fights well in the early skirmishes of the Time Wars.  But in a conflict at the Gates of Elysium with a strange being known only as The Nightmare Child, he appears to have been destroyed (apparently, he flew into the Nightmare Child's mouth!).   Only future events would reveal a different outcome.
            
A short while later, the Emperor Dalek is also retrieved from the past.    He seems to have some degree of success in the Wars too.   At one point he takes control of something known as a Cruciform.  An act that causes the Master (ressurected from being sucked into the Eye of Harmony during the 96 Telemovie) to make an all-out retreat from the battle and hide himself at the end of the Universe.    What other victories or losses the Emperor achieved in the War Effort are unknown. 
            
We do know, however, that the Emperor decides to take out a bit of an insurance policy for the survival of his race through use of the Cult of Skaro.  Having retrieved a Time Lord prison ship with an army of Daleks in it, he places it and the Cult into a Void Ship and hides them in the nul space between Universes for safekeeping.   The Ship is programmed to re-emerge into the Universe on Earth in the 21st Century: a point in Time and Space far from the action of the Time Wars.    
            
As it turns out, other things happen after the Cult of Skaro contingency plan to help ensure the survival of the Dalek race.   But these things seem to have happened more by accident, than anything.   Somehow, a single Dalek soldier is flung from the Time Wars and crashes on 20th-Century Earth.   It seems that the Emperor, himself, is also ejected from the battlefield at some point.  
            
Sometime after these events, the Doctor becomes completely revolted with how the Time Wars are proceeding.   He sees that even the Time Lords are gaining a lust for power and knows that he must completely destroy everything and everyone on the battlefield if the Universe is to survive.   He comes into possession of a weapon known as "The Moment".   He eventually uses the weapon - wiping out all the participants in the Wars and putting the whole event in a Time Lock so that no one else can escape the fate that's been handed to them.   Of course, the Doctor doesn't know that several Daleks have already escaped.   But he will find out soon enough.
            
For several seasons of the New Series, this is the established order of events in the Time Wars.   But, thanks to the recent transmission of Day of the Doctor, a new footnote can be added.    Mention is made of The Fall of Arcadia in dialogue from Doomsday.  The Fiftieth Anniversary Special allows us to bear witness to the event.   We learn that, in the final days of the Time Wars, it's back down to just Daleks and Time Lords.   Having probably faced all kinds of strange forms of time manipulation (quite a bizarre description of the battle is given in End of Time) the war has reverted to a straight-forward attack of conventional fire-power.   The Daleks surround the entire planet of the Time Lords and descend from the heavens.  They fight their way through a Gallifreyan defence system known only as the sky trenches and start wiping out the population of the city of Arcadia.  
           
Chroniclers of Galactic History believe that it was, at this point, that the Doctor grew sick of the Time Wars and decided to bring them to a very drastic end.  Convinced that this climactic battle between Time Lords and Daleks will wipe out the universe, he unleashes the power of the Moment and destroys them both.   Of course, we now know the truth.   Through the combined efforst of all thirteen of his incarnations, he seals the planet Gallifrey in a stasis cube.   The planet disappears from the universe and the surrounding Dalek armada dices itself in the cross-fire.  But, to all intents and purposes, it appears as though the Doctor did deliver his final sanction with the Moment.   Because his "secret incarnation" was out of phase when this happened, he even believes this was the outcome of the Time Wars.   Only later, as he re-experiences the crossing of his own timestream in his eleventh incarnation, does he learn that things transpired differently.       
            
Many fans like to believe that, as the New Series begins, adventures involving Daleks happen in a proper linear order.   But if one examines things just a bit more closely, you can see that slightly altering the order in which the stories truly occur in relationship to the Dalek timeline gets certain continuity issues to make better sense.   
            
Yes, a Dalek fighting in the Time Wars probably fell to the Earth sometime in the 1960s and has been secretly kept in the hands of private collectors for quite some time.    But the story Dalek is not said to happen until 2012.   And there are several Dalek tales that take place before that date. 
            
The first "true" Dalek story of the New Series would actually be Army of Ghosts/Doomsday.   Which takes place roughly in the year 2006/2007 (one is never certain exactly of the "contemporary Earth story dates" in the RTD era since Rose does take place in 2005 but then her first return home in Aliens of London is said to take place an entire year later).   Here, the contingency plan made by the Emperor during the Time Wars nearly comes to fruition and the Daleks almost become a force for the Universe to reckon with, again.    As usual, the Doctor brings their plans to an abrupt end.  
            
The next few stories are easy to place in order since, like the Davros stories of the 80s, continuity between them is somewhat tight.    Members of the Cult of Skaro are equipped with the ability to engage in an emergency temporal shift (we can guess that only the Cult of Skaro can do this, otherwise other Daleks being pulled into the Void would've done the same).  As their army is being sucked into the Void, they engage that ability and flee 21st Century London.  Their Time Jump takes these four Daleks to New York at the time of the Great Depression.  Daleks In Manhatten/Evolution of the Daleks takes place at this time.   In that story, three of the four members of the Cult are destroyed.   But Dalek Caan is able to make yet another Time Jump and lives to fight another day.
            
Sometime after that emergency temporal shift, Caan somehow manages to breach the Time Lock placed on the Time Wars.   He flies in and rescues Davros from what would have been certain death at the hands of the Nightmare Child.  He pulls him out of the fray and back into "normal" Time and Space.   The whole act of breaking the Time Lock, however, has serious repercussions on the Dalek. Caan is somehow able to see all of Time when he accomplishes the task and is driven mad by the insight he is given.    But Davros is saved and immediately sets himself to work to create a new Dalek army.   Taking cells from his own body in order to accomplish the process, Davros literally creates this latest breed of Dalek from his own flesh.   
            
As he rebuilds the Dalek race, he also hatches his maddest, most ambitious plan.   The Dalek Creator builds a Universal Detonator - a device that requires twenty-seven planets and Z-neutrino energy to destroy the Universe and leave the Daleks as the only survivors.  He decides to make one of those planets Earth, of course.  For the third time in the history of the show, a Dalek invasion force attacks the Earth.  The events of Stolen Earth/Journey's End unfold.   
            
In the tradition of many great Who villains, Davros' fate is left ambiguous.    Perhaps he was killed when the Dalek Crucible was destroyed - perhaps he has escaped and shall come back and haunt the Doctor again.   
            
Time will tell. 

            
It always does.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

CHRONOLOGIES AND TIMELINES:

Episode Three of The Tymecian version of Dalek History (a.k.a - The Right Version)

Again, because of the length of this one, I am releasing the chapters over the next little while in installments so that it's a bit more digestible! Since the entire essay is complete, the wait between posts won't be quite as long as it normally is. This third installment will finish dealing with Daleks in the Classic Series. 

PART THREE:   THE ESCAPE FROM SKARO AND THE MASTERY OF TIME


We are now near the end of the 28th Century. As was mentioned in Remembrance of the Daleks, Skaro has been re-colonized by our favorite Kaled Mutants. However, by returning to their homeworld, they have trapped themselves' on a planet that is soon to be destroyed by the Hand of Omega.    

Sometime around this era, the Daleks manage to capture the Master and decide to punish him for his crimes against the Universe.  Or, perhaps, they were merely just mad at him for his failure in Frontier In Space. Or the Master did something to annoy them in some other unseen adventure.  Or it’s entirely possible it was none of these options. Some fans do theorize that this whole trial was a scam concocted between the Master and the Daleks to lure the Doctor into a trap.   All that we know for sure is that at the beginning of Doctor Who - The Movie, the Daleks have the Master on Skaro and have executed him.    They also seem to have developed the most bizarre voices they've ever used! 
            
We must also guess that sometime during this period, Davros seems to have disappeared from Dalek politics.   None can say for sure exactly what became of him.    It's my bet that the Daleks from the future that were embarking upon the Time Wars went back in time for him to enlist his services for the oncoming battle.   They plucked him from the past and brought him to a future point in time where the War against the Time Lords is just beginning.   This best explains how there are several stories before the Time Wars that don't involve him but then he suddenly returns in the New Series to become a threat, once more.
            
Although Davros seems to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the 28th Century Daleks that he has abandoned remember him well.   They are, in fact, quite impressed with his idea of an Emperor Dalek.    After years of being the black-liveried Supreme Dalek, the ultimate leader of these intergalactic conquerors receives an upgrade and becomes the gigantic but less-than-mobile Dalek Emperor.  
            
It's also my guess that the Daleks were actually being heavily forced back by their many enemies during this era of their history.    The war with the Movellans and their own civil war have greatly reduced their number.   They can no longer properly maintain their own Empire.   Many of the worlds that they once occupied have liberated themselves' and are fighting back hard - pushing them back onto Skaro where what remains of their population has become deeply entrenched.  
            
And at the head of this assault is the Planet Earth.   Humanity has suffered at the hands of these ruthless dominators one time too many and are determined to wipe out the threat of the Daleks once and for all.  It may even be possible that they have, somehow, learnt that Skaro is soon to be destroyed by the Hand of Omega and are purposely forcing the Daleks to stay on their homeworld. Knowing that the future is coming to wipe them out.  
            
The Daleks, themselves', are now desperate.   They are trapped on a planet that they know will soon be destroyed.   So they hatch the most contrived of schemes.   They decide to fully explore the nature of the human psyche and find ways to properly exploit it.    With little or no rescources left, psychological warfare is their last hope.
            
It is most likely that the secret Cult of Skaro is initially put together in this era.    The Daleks, at this point, are greatly interested in unraveling the mystery of Human Nature.   And, at the same time, they are still on the planet Skaro - so they're more likely to give a taskforce a name like that!   Whether or not the Cult exists from this point onward and is always living among the Dalek race or is also spirited away into the future to assist in the Time Wars is uncertain.   But the Cult is definitely involved in the Time Wars and openly claims that the Emperor Dalek was in charge of forming the organization.   My guess is the Emperor assembled the group in this period of Dalek history and then used the Cult again when he re-encountered them in the Time Wars.   What the Cult got up to, exactly, between these two time periods is anyone's guess!             
            
When the Cult of Skaro doesn't seem to be making much progress, another plan is formed to figure out how humans work and  the events of Evil of the Daleks take place. Or, perhaps, it was the Cult of Skaro that was secretly engineering the events of this story from behind the scenes but we never see them onscreen.
            
By the end of Evil, it does look like there is little left of the Once Great Dalek Empire.   Another Civil War has swept through them.  There are probably a few survivors still lurking about on Skaro when the civil unrest subsides and they begin to try to re-organize themselves'.   But their efforts to reconstruct their society seem almost useless since the world they are trapped on is destined to soon explode.   
            
It is strongly implied that the Dalek Emperor somehow survives Evil of the DaleksThe Emperor Dalek probably helped re-build Dalek society for a bit but he eventually disappears from this time period.  Since he does a similar vanishing act to Davros - one might guess that the same thing was done to him.  Perhaps when Davros was lost in the battle against the Nightmare Child (whatever that is!), the Daleks from the Time War plucked another of their "greatest heroes" from their own past to lead them to victory.   Whatever the case, from hereon in, we are back to a Black Supreme Dalek running things. More than likely, this was a Dalek who was just beneath the Emperor in status that just took over after his disappearance.    Like Davros, the Emperor is not seen again until the New Series.  
            
What's left of the Daleks does rebuild itself into some kind of army.   More than likely, this is done under somewhat secret circumstances (a return to the underground bunker from which they initially emerged all that time ago?)  Perhaps the various enemy forces that have been forcing them to stay on Skaro observed the huge civil war that devastated their city and believe that they have witnessed the final end of the Daleks.    They turn their attention elsewhere and the Daleks are able to replenish their numbers without the rest of the Universe knowing.
            
A key discovery in Dalek technology becomes vital to boosting their population.   With the need to increase their numbers now a top priority, the Daleks manage to unearth some of the research Davros did while he was on Necros.   From that research, the first Progenitor is created: a machine that can store massive amounts of genetic raw material and create a Dalek army at will.   
            
The Daleks realize, of course, that this discovery can very easily lead to their own destruction.   Should the Progenitor fall into enemy hands, an army of re-programmed Daleks could be raised against them.  They have seen the devastation caused when Dalek fights Dalek and have learnt their lesson.   They build massive security protocols into the Progenitor to ensure that the controls only respond to Daleks. 
            
While their population has become quite healthy, mass exodus seems impossible.    The enemies that have forced them to stay on Skaro haven't abandoned all interest in them.   Should an attempt be made to rebuild the Dalek Spacefleet, these enemies would take notice of it and attack the Daleks in full force before they could put too many ships into the sky.    Once more, the Daleks must use subtlety to solve their problems.  
            
And so, they return their attention to time travel mechanics.   While they've been dabbling with Time Corridors for quite a while (sometime around Ressurection, they perfect this form of time travel), further research into this domain leads them into building TARDISes of their own.   Their very first prototype TARDIS is sent on the most crucial of missions.    While the Daleks have received many brutal bashings at the hands of Earth and its surrounding colonies, they still recognize the Doctor as their greatest enemy.   Many of their greatest defeats were caused by him.   So a special hit squad is put together and sent back to the earliest days of the Doctor's own personal timeline.   The Daleks believe that if they can kill the Doctor in his past, then many of the blows he struck against them will be wiped away since his own future versions will not be around to cause them.  Such a gesture could even eliminate the ensuing attack from the Hand of Omega and enable the Dalek race to continue living safely on Skaro.           
            
They manage to locate the Doctor in his first incarnation and send their hit squad after him.    The events of The Chase take place.    
            
The failed assassination attempt brutally sets things back for the Daleks.   As has been often witnessed in the series, time travel requires enormous power and resources.    The Daleks had put everything they had into building a TARDIS.   They had hoped that the death of the First Doctor would cause the timelines to re-set things in a way where they would find themselves' in much better shape than they currently were.
            
In a last-ditch effort, they concentrate their resources on their Time Corridor technology.   The entire Dalek population climbs aboard a huge colony ship and abandons the doomed planet of Skaro.   The colony ship quickly passes through a time corridor they've erected and makes a huge time jump into the future (perhaps a thousand years or so) and then closes down the corridor once the jump is complete.   They now have little energy left, but they have made it off Skaro before the Hand of Omega could devastate it.  If such a trip took place, it would account for the absence of Dalek stories that we see between Evil of the Daleks/The Chase (late 28th/early 29th Century) and The Dalek Masterplan (early 40th Century).    
            
With only one Progenitor in operation and little energy to power it, the Dalek population is still only so large.   So they turn their attention back to more conventional forms of conquest and begin to build up an empire in much the same way as they did in their earliest days.   They conquer worlds one-by-one, gut them, enslave or exterminate their native population and move on.  In their usual arrogance, they decide to re-christen one of the planets they’ve conquered as Skaro (or New Skaro) and use it as their center-of-operations. How long this new version of Skaro lasts – no one knows for sure. But Skaro is mentioned in The Dalek Masterplan (the timeship they pursue the Doctor with in the later episodes is sent from Skaro to Kembel) so I’m coming up with a flimsy fan-theory to compensate for it! Although, others who have attempted to chronicle Dalek history have also used the concept of a New Skaro. We do see the Eleventh Doctor making a brief visit to Skaro in Asylum of the Daleks. I'm prone to believe that it is, technically, the New Skaro of this era that we are witnessing in that scene. Post-Time-War Daleks are making a brief visit into their own past to set a trap for the Doctor. They don't stay for long, though. They don't want to cause any kind of damage to their own timelines.        

But the time jump the 29th Century Daleks made a thousand years into the future has served them well.    Many of the more prominent Intergalactic Power Blocs have only the vaguest recollection of what the Daleks had been like and little is done to stop them in their plans of conquest.   

Their galactic conquests do increase exponentially as more Progenitors are now getting built.   With such a quick easy way to increase their numbers, the Daleks start sweeping through the galaxy at great speed.   However, they are now playing on a different chessboard.   Their attempts to rule the cosmos before the 30th Century went more smoothly because they were so much more advanced than their rivals.   Here in the late 30th Century, many civilizations have matched or even surpassed their level of technology.  Taking on some of the more prominent galactic empires proves far more difficult for them.  
            
Eventually, however, the Daleks amass enough energy and resources from their plunders to put their time travel campaigns back into full swing.    More TARDISes are built and the idea of using Time as a form of weaponry begins to get explored. 
            
But at the same time, the Daleks are playing a very careful game of intergalactic politics.   They are still not quite powerful enough to hold their own against the rest of the Universe like they did in the past.  So they begin forming secret alliances with various other galactic empires.     Dalek treachery has been largely forgotten about, of course, and these empires trust that the conquerors from Skaro will honor the agreements they make with them.   
            
At this point, the Daleks create their ultimate weapon: the Time Destructor.    The Dalek Masterplan ensues. 

While their plans with the Time Destructor don't quite go the way they intended, the Daleks are certain they have reached a point in temporal engineering where they truly rival the Time Lords. Having known about the Gallifreyans for quite some time, they despised them for their technological superiority and have longed to conquer them. We have seen an assassination attempt in Ressurection and a campaign to steal Time Lord weaponry in Remembrance.  But now, the Daleks feel that they are at a level where they no longer need stealth or treachery. They can make a full frontal assault on the homeworld of the Time Lords with their own personal might. 

War is declared.