The Tardis arrives in London in the 22nd century only to discover that the evil Daleks have taken over Earth and, with their army of robot men, plan to crack the planet like an egg to exterminate all of the humans.
This is an incredibly enjoyable classic Doctor Who adventure even with the occasional campy production values and stilted dialogue. This is one of those rare episodes where almost everyone in the central cast had something to do (Susan, as usual, was completely useless the entire time) and the plot was sophisticated and mature enough to hold interests.
Granted, the budgetary constraints were evident several times and, as usual, the plot was pulled super-thin several times to squeeze as many episodes out of this serial as possible, but the strengths of the show were quite evident as well. Honestly, I think I liked William Hartnell’s Doctor more in this episode than I have ever liked him before and it’s fun to see so much of Doctor Who’s mythology get laid out at such an early stage in the long-running series.
Another complaint that I have is, despite the fact that the Daleks are always a lot of fun, they are pretty stupid in this episode — probably some of the most unobservant folks I have ever seen. I mean, how many times can they roll by people who are hiding so badly and never notice? I swear, in the episode installment, one of them rolls right by the Doctor and looks right at him and never notices.
But, hey… Sixties children’s television. What are you going to do?
I have to give mad props to Barbara’s portrayal in this serial as well. Where she’s usually only been a few (dozen) rungs above Susan on the usefulness scale, she actually kicks all matter of metal booty in this episode as she goes solo for a while. I really appreciated that for her and hope that the trend of showing her as a strong, capable, and courageous character continues.
Now, let’s talk about Susan… Good riddance. What a terrible character she was, useless and helpless… everytime any episode focused on her, I just seethed. I know that leaving her behind is one of Doctor Who’s all time classic moments, but when you really think about it, the Doctor just left his daughter in a ruined hell on earth near an active volcano.
What a jerk!
Still, I would be eager to get rid of Susan as well so all is forgiven.
They say this one was a classic and they were right. It’s very enjoyable even though the meandering subplots will probably put you to sleep, but the Doctor’s characterization is spot on and the story itself is strong despite the camp which, in some strange way, actually makes it more endearing.
And, like I said… Susan leaves so that’s a bonus.