Tuesday, May 27, 2008

REVIEW - The Dalek Collection DVD


Release Date: Oct 19

RRP: £15.65

Duration: 250 mins (approx)

Stories included:
Dalek, Bad Wolf, Parting of the Ways, Daleks in Manhattan, Evolution of the Daleks, The Stolen Earth and
Journey's End


Extras:
David Tennant’s Introduction


Coming on the heels of the recent CYBERMEN COLLECTION is the similarly titled DALEK COLLECTION from 2|entertain. And, like that box set, this release features episodes from the 'new' series (seven in fact) though it doesn't feature all the new series Dalek stories (another trait the set shares with the Cybermen Collection). Bizarrely, we don't get treated to Army of Ghosts and Doomsday (though are they Cyermen stories?) but the viewer is treated to all the other offerings with the intergalactic pepper~pots since the show's return in 2005.

The Cybermen got a box set first? Bah!

I think we, as fans, often take for granted just how good certain stories are so it's quite the treat to go back and watch them singularly again. Although Dalek feels like such a long time ago (whatever happened to Christopher Eccleston?), the episode still delivers and it was no surprise to see it finish so highly in the recent Doctor Who Magazine "Mighty 200" chart. The finale for the same series is also rated highly and builds brilliantly on what the team gave us in that sole Dalek tale. Seeing millions of Daleks rendered so well, seeing their menace realised so chillingly more than makes up for all the duff Dalek stories over the years where they appeared to be a bit of a joke. Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways is more memorable for the emotional resonance that it continues to pull on.

Me in GI Joe? That sounds great!

Sadly, the set takes a bit of diversion here as we are presented with the series three clunker, Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks. I shan't dwell on the two~parter but it is filmed exquisitely and the Daleks are shot with a great deal of thought and style - reminiscent of the Sixties. But the entire plot comes off as unconvincing and The Doctor's "baptise" scene was ill~advised. As a side~note, if you were watching this collection for the first time you would get a bit confused here as the Series 2 finale, that introduced us to The Cult of Skaro (great name for a band!), is omitted from the set. Still, no matter - Daleks require no explanations.

Welcome to Chemistry 101

Finishing off the collection is the uber~finale to Series 4, The Stolen Earth/Journey's End (you can read my contemporarious reviews for these episodes HERE and HERE). Another story where the Daleks' thunder is rather nicked by those around them. They do give us a thrilling moment in the first part, where Exterminate! is heard by one and all - a truly great new series moment. After that we get the original odd couple, Davros and Dalek Caan (what a top sitcom these guys could make with each week Caan getting Dave into trouble, cue the Daleks 'creator screaming Caan! to the camera). Both played and portrayed with genuine menace and realism, and a touch of insanity too.

Davros & Cann: The Reunion Tour beckons...

Whatever your personal thoughts on that finale may be - I for one lurved every minute of it, and still do - that cliffhanger was an amazing moment in television history. There are flaws, admittedly (one button to control all the Daleks?) but, for me, they certainly don't get in the way of enjoying such a bold and exciting end to the series. Bold and exciting, but also deeply sad. Donna's "death" is tragic and utterly heartbreaking. (Damn you RTD!) Accompanying the seven episodes are an exclusive introduction from David Tennant who gives his own potted history of the Daleks along with his thoughts - a very nice companion piece but over too quickly!

Menu of the Daleks!

Considering how cheap it is (around a tenner!), it's hard to squabble about this set (complete with beautiful packagaing it should be said). Die hards will already own all these episodes but as a gift for a friend, or as an introduction into the show for someone who hasn't seen much, then this is perfect. It entertains no end and also hints at enough of the mythology to prick the casual viewer's interest in the world of Doctor Who. And that cannot be a bad thing.


Thanks to 2|entertain.

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