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Doctor Who – The Ark (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Ark originally aired in 1966.

Yes, I bet it’ll take some time to get the whole of the population down here, so the sooner you get started, the better, I should think.

Don’t worry. It may not take as long as you think.

What do you mean? Are you up to something?

Em… no.

– Dodo (yes, Dodo) outwits a Monoid

The Ark is an interesting piece of Doctor Who, both in terms of structure and in terms of theme. It’s a very clever concept, with the four-parter effectively split into two halves as the Doctor and his companions join the same story at two different intervals. It’s a wonderful high concept, with the action jumping from across time while keeping a fixed location. However, The Ark is also notable because of its less-than-subtle political under-currents, one of the relatively rare times where Doctor Who has seemed reactionary, conservative and downright colonial in its attitudes.

The end of the world as we know it...

The end of the world as we know it…

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Doctor Who: Evolution of the Daleks (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Evolution of the Daleks originally aired in 2007.

Caan, let me help you. What do you say?

Emergency temporal shift!

– sadly the Doctor doesn’t follow this with a dramatic “CAAAAAAAN!!!”

Well, that went off the rails rather quickly. Okay, to be fair, the problems here were all hinted at in the first part, with those potential obstacles only turning into gaping flaws as this two-part adventure galloped toward the finish line. And, again, Evolution of the Daleks fails because it has too much ambition, rather than a complete lack of it. Still, the episode is a mess, full of mismatched ideas and crazy concepts that really don’t work especially well within the context of a Dalek episode. It’s not too hard to imagine a lot of these elements being recycled into a working story for the show, but the main problem seems to be that none of those elements work especially well with the Daleks.

I can see it in its eye-stalk...

I can see it in its eye-stalk…

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