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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Asylum of the Daleks


Rating - 8/10


Finally, after a long eight months of waiting, Doctor Who is finally back where it belongs, and I have been getting twitchy for time travel since Christmas Day of last year (has it really been that long?). Excitement for the new series has been building for a long time, with the news that the Ponds (Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill) are leaving in the first five episodes and the introduction of a new companion at ‘Christmas’ (you know what I mean). Regardless of the news of coming and going companions, the main reason we watch the show is to see Matt Smith return on fine form as the bowtie wearing elegant-shambles portrayal of the Doctor. It has been a long wait to see the show on our screens, let’s just hope it was worth the wait.

The first episode kicks off Series Seven with the return of the Doctor’s most notorious enemies: the Daleks. Apart from a few brief cameos in The Wedding of River Song, The Big Bang and The Pandorica opens, the pepper pots have been off the screen since Victory of the Daleks back in 2010. In this episode we were introduced to the new multicoloured ‘Power Ranger’ Daleks, which replaced the familiar golden bling Daleks that had become a familiar sight on the show since its revival in 2005. Since their last appearance, I started to realise that the Daleks have lost their original fear-factor and have become a pantomime like enemy that never really imparts a sense of terror. Steven Moffat, head writer of the show, argued that they are probably one of the most easily defeated enemies in the universe, and as s a result they have lost their ‘scariness’ and importance within the show. He said: "There's a problem with the Daleks. They are the most famous of the Doctor's adversaries and the most frequent, which means they are the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe". Asylum of the Daleks attempts to establish the Doctor’s greatest enemy as a foe that sends a chill down your spine rather than a colourful dustbin with attitude. But did it work?

For the majority of the show, Asylum presents the Daleks in the callous and vindictive manner that we have not seen in recent years. We are presented with a dumping ground full of insane and uncontrollable Daleks that are feared even by their own species – now that is creepy. That answers the question: how do you make the Daleks scarier? Present the one thing that terrifies them – which just happens to be their own species. I thought the idea of the Asylum was genius, and was able to provide a real treat for fans of the classic series We got to see not only the bling and Power Ranger Daleks back on our screens, but every Daleks throughout the history of the show including the Special Weapons Dalek, Necros Daleks, Imperial Daleks to name but a few. This was undoubtedly one of the most elaborate and bold Daleks episodes that we have seen in recent years, or perhaps have ever seen.

With regards to Series Seven, this episode throws the Ponds back into the Doctor’s life at a point when their marriage is at an end and they can barely talk to each other. It is clear that the cosy, lovey-dovey relationships that we saw in the last two series, along with the happiness of travelling with the Doctor as a couple have been shaken and may never be the same again. How their relationship changes before their departure in The Angels Take Manhattan is unknown, but I am sure that we as an audience are in for a rollercoaster ride of terrors, laughs and tears.

So what did you think of Asylum of the Daleks? Are the Daleks back to their old ways of terrifying people? Comment below, let me know or contact me on twitter @Rohanseal221B