Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Doctor Is In [Review: Asylum Of The Daleks]

It turns out the Daleks have socialised medicine and a surprisingly progressive attitude towards mental health issues. Who knew? However "Asylum Of The Daleks" the Doctor Who series opener never makes it quite clear whether their secret Asylum is a state-run NHS or a Medicaid-style insurance programme. Perhaps there's hope for them yet.

Thpoilerth follow.

The Doctor, Rory and Amy are captured and delivered to a Dalek spaceship where the Dalek "Prime Minister" sends them on a mission to an entire planet of captive, insane Daleks. Insanity is best viewed as a relative term in Doctor Who.

This episode promised to bring together all the Dalek designs from all the different Doctor Who eras. However the show is a victim of it's own super-high production values. Thanks to the brilliant atmospheric lighting, and the equally brilliant set and model work, the decaying and malfunctioning Daleks in the Asylum are as menacing as ever but you never get a clear view. Also these daleks did not appear at all.

I did spot a Special Weapons Dalek at 24m 58s though, which is some small consolation.

More interesting was the nanofield - a new way for Daleks to control or enslave humans, which also creates a crisis for the trio when their protection against the field is lost. There's a twist in the tale which I won't thpoil for you but I guessed fairly quickly as it reminded me of a situation in a Duncan Jones movie.

This episode is good but not earth-shatteringly brilliant. It doesn't need to be. It's the series opener written by Steven Moffatt and no doubt it's real purpose is to set up plot arcs, surprises and themes for the episodes to come. I would be very surprised if the nanofield doesn't re-emerge at some point, it's a fantastic plot device. The episode introduced some interesting characters, including the Dalek Prime Minister O_o and a character played by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who will be joining the series to play the Doctor's travelling companion in a few months.


Maurice Mitchell said...

Terrific review. I was looking for the other Daleks and they all looked the same to me. I was disappointed till now.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Thank you! Here's hoping Dinosaurs On A Spaceship will be better - any chance we might hear Matt Smith declare "I have had it with these motherf***ing dinosaurs on this motherf***ing spaceship?"