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Published on April 22nd, 2007 | by Christian Cawley

Daleks in Manhattan Reviewed

The Daleks are back and taking Manhattan by storm.Now I don’t want to jinx myself, but did you notice that they didn’t mention Rose? And why not? I mean the show haw has worked for 26 years without her, so why can’t it now?

But let’s not dwell there, there’s so much more in this episode worth talking about.

For one, Daleks, practically on my door step.

The Doctor actually setting foot somewhere I have been. I mean practically standing exactly where I did.

A companion who, when you watch her, doesn’t make you think "When’s she leaving? I’m getting bored."

And then there is the return of the Cult of Skaro.

For years in Doctor Who the Daleks always talked about their massive army, but more often then not, we only saw 3 or 4 Daleks at a time. Well now there is a reason for it. Sure they are the last surviving Daleks, but more to the point they are Special Forces team of sorts. The Cult of Skaro was formed by the Emperor as a sort of think tank. This doesn’t make them less fierce; it just means that seeing four of them as compared to an army seems right.

In the new series most of the Daleks have been drones. All they could say was "I obey" or other one or two word commands. Where now we have a return to form of the good old days when the Daleks could hold conversations. Their words may still be slim, but they hold more impact.

Did I mention they were in New York?

I bet you knew that. But what’s impressive about it, is that it looks like they were really there. The Production teams traveling to the US paid off. Between their shots and the CGI effects by the mill you can actually believe that the Doctor and Martha are in New York. It’s just the accents that let you know that you are not.

Seriously though, about 95% of the accents were very good, 5% of them were a bit dodgy, so I won’t really complain it. In fact I should praise the actors who got it right as well as the casting director.

This whole series so far has been head and shoulders above the last two, let’s just hope they can keep it for the rest of the year.

I do have to wonder though if Russell T. Davis has a fixation with pigs. I mean I know the are close to us genetically so it makes sense to have the Daleks perform experiments on them, but this is the second time a mutated pig has appeared in the series. The jokes about "Pigs in Space" are flying everywhere and make you wonder when a mutated frog will enter the scene. I’m holding out for Sweetums though.

Back to Doctor Who.

David Tennant is really pulling all the stops as his Doctor. He’s found his footing and he’s making those who he didn’t captivate last year hope that he will still be here next year.

Even though he did make me think he was the Doctor from day one, it’s nice to see that he can still top himself and make me think that he is even better then before. If he continues like this, his name will be as common place as Tom Baker.

Freema is also a joy to watch. Never once over doing her performance, or acting like she has the most sought after job in all the world. She is Martha Jones when you see her on screen, not Freema Agyeman. Let’s just hope she doesn’t get to comfortable with the role and start laughing in the face of danger.

The only two complaints that I can find with this episode are the name of the story, and the cliffhanger.

The name is fine enough, but as many on the internet have pointed out, this story feels like a classic Doctor Who story, so to me the name of the second part works much better as a blanket title for the story. Evolution of the Daleks is so much more classic.

As for the cliffhanger, Russell T. Davis and the Radio Times have a lot to answer for. Did they learn nothing from series one? Does anyone recall how upset the fans were when there was a trailer for World War Three after the cliffhanger to Aliens of London? And how this ruined the cliffhanger?

Now, they have stuck to the practice of keeping the trailer after the credits for those who don’t wish to watch it, which is fine by me, but why then, why would you go and release a picture of the Human/Dalek Sec on the cover of the Radio Time one week before the story airs? I mean that was the cliffhanger. It’s almost as if the new series team bought, read, and used the book "How to improve the new series of your Favorite Show, while at the same time still ruin the cliffhangers" as their bible for series three.

I shouldn’t complain too much though, as I can’t help but watch the next week trailers, but I would have loved to have sat there watching the cliffhanger saying "oh my… What?! You mean I have to wait till next week?!" rather then "Oh come one, that was the cliffhanger? What were they thinking with the Radio Times cover?"

Returning to upbeat mode…

Still if that is my chief complaint, then I really shouldn’t worry. The story was clearly one of the best of the new series and hopefully next weeks will continue the trend. The next seven days can’t go fast enough.

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About the Author

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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