Thursday, September 13, 2012

Daleks and Disappointment

I live with so much disappointment in life.  It’s so tragic.  I was inspired last week and revived my long abandoned Dalek designs.  This was mostly out of apprehension over my other designs removal but also in anticipation.

The new season of Doctor Who started this weekend and I was very excited that I’d see “the most Dalek’s ever seen on screen at once”.  It’s not by the way. They lied about that.  Advertisers do that I suppose.  There are more daleks on screen in "the parting of ways" (I counted by the way) than in this episode but I suppose there is less variety of Daleks in that episode so whatever...

"Asylum of the Daleks".  I had hoped the return of this iconic villain would herald some deep change in the show.  Something to pull it out of its spiral of boring poorly paced writing and move it back towards the epicness that it once had. 

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a hater, I like the 2005 revival and the original run equally.  I’ve watched Doctor Who since I was a kid.  It is a cherished memory.  The 2005 doctor who breathed life into that memory.  Looking back at the original the subtext and nuance I remember from my childhood don’t exist.  It was campy, badly funded, and generally made little sense even within a single episode.  But I loved it.  The new series took everything that was horrible about the old doctor who and proved it was amazing.  It rewrote the whoniverse so that it was epic and massive and both new and old at the same time.

Then Davies left and Moffat took over.  Some people like Moffat I hear.  Understand, I have zero problem with the Matt Smith as the doctor.  I don’t get a boner over Karen Gillian but I think she makes a splendid companion.  And even what’s his name I always forget is much more tolerable than most male sidekicks that the doctor has had.  But Moffat… Moffat.. Moffat… Moffat!

There is a reason his name is used as a title for evil Imperial commanders in the Star Wars movies.  Some people sing his praises.  I think he is a little kid that’s been given his say and should be slapped upside the head.

See Moffat knows how to do seriously big scenes… sort of…  He also knows how to make characters act… kind of well…  Moffat also knows how to manage a big overarching plot… kinda in the last 5 minutes…

See Moffat is sort of like George Lucas but more tolerable of a human being.  He’s got this addiction to flash in the pan scenes.  For instance! Asylum of the Daleks opens with the Doctor meeting someone on the surface of Scaro.  Scaro… The Dalek homeworld which was destroyed in like episode 3 of the original series.  The red irradiated planet shown which should have been white and petrified according to its original incarnation, if not just totally blown up.  Less aggravating than a planet that was blown up not having blown up, but just as stupid, is how this episode pans across a burnt city scape and up the decaying form of a giant fucking Dalek.  So Daleks built giant Dalek shaped skyscrapers on their desolate not blown up Dalek home world. What's the point of an eye stalk on a skyscraper? Was it pretty pictures, sure.  But was it fucking necessary??? I argue not.  part of the excitement of Doctor Who is you don't know what they hell is happening till it happens.  In the episode "Dalek" you get that a dalek will be in the show but it doesn't start out that way.  And even for 5 minutes you wonder how the beaten half dead dalek is gonna factor in and then bam dalek murder fest happens.  That's how the Daleks should be handled.  From scene one of "Asylum of the Daleks" it seemed pretty obvious the goal was to make my eyes bleed daleks. Its a slap in the face saying, "Oh hey did you know daleks were gonna be in this episode" it insults the viewers in my opinion. Epic scenes are great but come the fuck on they should be epic for the sake of the plot not epic cause you want to blow your CG budget for the year.

And then there is of course the whole, lets make daleks out of people.  And they say it, you make Daleks by subtracting love.... Let me say that again in case your mind is boggled. "By subtracting love".  Subtracting love… Love… FUCKING LOVE!!! How about subtract love and then add 3 million years of radiation and genetic mutation, cloning, geneingeering, eugenics, galactic and inter-temporal war, and of course add a fucking hover tank.  FUCKING LOVE MY ASS!  Why do daleks have to… sigh.  And that is the thing, he knows how to make a pretty picture but misses all the subtext and emotion of pretty much everything.  Saying something like "that how you become like a dalek they remove your emotions, make you cold, make you alone, make you hate everything that isn't you.  So hold on to what matters because love beats hate any day, Amy."  See what I did there.  Its punchy, it builds on itself a bit.  It makes you feel the punch line. And it implies the exact same concept.  Its like moffat thinks we are all 2 year olds when it comes to dialog.

I'd like to say I gave the episode a fair shake.  Maybe I didn't.  Maybe I'm glorifying Davies run on the show but so much more could be done with the concepts at play.  For instance when I read the title of the episode… “Asylum of the Daleks”… I thought, "Well the Dalek race has been through the wringer lately maybe they gave up".  I figured, maybe the new paradigm Daleks, you know the smarty Daleks people hate that Moffat introduced earlier, are magically smarter than the old Daleks.  Maybe they finally realize they lost the timewar and maybe even the general war on everything, if so just maybe they would ask the Doctor to stop the time war.  Imagine that.  A group of Daleks actually asking the doctor to change the course of history so their race doesn’t get wiped out over and over again.  And the doctor would have a chance to save his people before they resurrect Rassilon and go all apeshit nuts on the universe.  How would that be for an opening episode? The entire season could be the doctor trying to rewrite the history of the Daleks to save them from the time war and vicariously insure the timelords never get involved and thus both races are saved.  But he could be thwarted at every turn by the psylence (or however you spell that) or whatever the fuck they were called.  Only in the end to find out that the psylense are agents of the timelords or something awesome where Rassilon is trying to stop the Doctor from Timelocking the Time War.  That would be wicked cool.  Talk about an epic over arching plot... and the puzzle... "Silence will fall when the question is answered."  We all know the question is "Doctor Who?" its retardedly obvious, or maybe i'm just gullible.  It could be as simple as a password to control the Moment and unlock the Time War.   

But of course that’s not what happens.

And I knew that going in.  I went online and looked up some reviews based on the previews.  And I learned the Asylum of the Daleks was really about an Asylum of the classical sense.  The Dalek’s version of Arkam. (yes I say that picturing a Dalek Joker). And from that I though, "ok that would be cool too".  Dalek Sek went insane and had prophetic visions.  They implied the Psyche Daleks in the old series were insane or would go it eventually due to their emotions.  I could see the Daleks making an Asylum to send their crazies too.  Like Sek the crazy daleks would be of use to the "normal" Daleks at some point so they might not kill them just imprison them.  And if the crazies got loose what would they do to the norms that imprisoned them?  I mean that was a cool idea too.   The Doctor kidnapped by the Daleks to go kill a Psychic Kaled mutant that has taken over the asylum and is systematically destroying the Dalek empire.  SO the doctor gets sent to the Asylum and has to fight his way through insane kaled mutants, weird brain-squid tentacle monsters attacking them. That's what the daleks are really, the travel machines are just mechanical tanks they live in. The inmate daleks could have cobbled together  travel machines built from spare parts with strange weapons improvised from whatever they could find.  And at the end a show down with a colossal mutant kaled that would demand to know whether the Doctor really believed saving the normal Daleks was "Right".  But again that’s not what we get. Oh no.  We get dusty time war era daleks in a sewer system.  Why the fuck would you send someone to a mental hospital in a hover tank??? At least take the fucking gun away.  So many missed opportunism.

And lets talk about zombies.  Specifically dalek nanite controlled zombie humans.  WHAT THE FUCK!.  Really? We can’t get away from zombies in popular culture did we really need Doctor Who and the Zombies?  Shit really? I hate the idea of reanimated corpses in general, its physically impossible. Its a trope for the week minded to frighten people. "Oh how do you kill them they're already dead???" If they can't fucking die what's the fucking point of trying to kill them build a fucking wall.  But in doctor who did we really need zombies? A show were no one caries guns and they run around scared a gratuitously large amount already, are zombies really needed? I say not.  Not to mention that’s not Dalek MO.  They make mutant slaves or stick mind control chips in your brain.  They don’t turn you into zombies. That’s more a cyberman thing and even then it would be kinda stupid.  Just fucking stupid.  Not to mention if Daleks had that kind of technology why not just shoot every fucking planet with a nanobomb to zombify everyone. Either the Daleks are fucking idiots or Moffat is and I choose Moffat.

I'm digressing way off my chosen rant but I can't stop now.  So lets touch base on one of my real pet peeves.  The Parliament of the Daleks.  Apparently Daleks now follow a republic system of government.  See and I thought they were a military dictatorship and that’s why they had ranks like Supreme and Emperor but apparently they get to elect pretty much every bronze suited dude into their representative government. So what they are a constitutional monarchy now? Projecting much Britannia?  But wait there's more apparently the Daleks have a psychic network of sorts!  I don’t remember this, they've mentioned Dalek psychic abilities in past episodes so it could be in the old series but I don’t recall it. What this means is that apparently you can delete memories from the Daleks if you can “hack” their psychic network.  They aren't individuals they are worker fucking bees now.  Each Kaled mutant in his personal hover tank is nothing more than a data processor for a dumb terminal hooked to the emperor server. Fuck...  You know, when you think about it, a psychic network makes a parliament useless right? I mean if everyone can share thoughts instantly full on democracy can be done at the speed of thought.  And if the Dalek's had a psychic network why are they always surprised when the Doctor shows up after one of their guards has gone missing?  

The point is they are a military dictator ship!  They live to kill everything but themselves where’s the debate?  They would have built the bridge to nowhere in record fucking time and then exterminated everything at the other end of the god damned bridge.  They are fucking daleks!.

And now to the heart of Moffat’s failure.  See the girl behind the curtain of crazy dalek number one is the future doctors companion.  You know once they dump the dead weight of Amy and Rory’s failing attempts to have a life.  So Amy and Rory just want a regular old life in no where’s vile England.  Amy and Rory's personal life has been a great selling point of the new series. It feels real... sometimes... you know when Amy isn't randomly trying to rape the Doctor or when they aren't magically divorcing in the first five minutes of an episode with NO exposition.  I get it, time travel show.  What's been 6 months off air for us is like 5 years for the girl who waited and the nurse who waited longer.  Fucking understand that, but maybe something should be hinted at, like a fight scene every so often.  Maybe some bickering about shit in the christmas episode something.    Karen and Arthur are good actors and their stage direction when acting has been good but the gaps between their moments and sometimes lack of a consistent connectedness to each other has been problematic. To the point that when Rory says "The unspoken fact of our relationship is that I love you more than you love me!" is obvious blatant fact not just an insulting attack he made on Amy's character in the heat of passion.  Perhaps it's intended to feel that way and Amy would be better described as "the girl who settled" rather than the "girl who waited." Speaking as a man who had crushes on female friends in college I recognize this type of relationship can be very real, the problem is that the jarring manner in which their relationship is treated on screen feels like their lack of a proper loving relationship is more the product of the writers ignoring them for portions of the show than the intended friction of always question if you're good enough.  this is bad character writing and generally poor pacing not bad acting as such.

Ultimately we need something more exciting in a companion going forward than Amy's desire to be a normal house wife, or maybe Rory's desire to be a normal house wife.  Karen Gillian’s attractive and all but she doesn’t really add awesome sauce to the show.  Her character has become a long string of wishy washy good by and hot and horny hello scenes directed between the two men in her life.  Ultimately entertaining but slowing to the show's pace.  After the first 10 minutes when I figured out the chick they need to rescue was a Dalek I thought awesome! Dalek Companion!.  That’s right! I said it.  Moffat’s greatest mistake was turning his back on this idea.  DALEK FUCKING COMPANION… not a Dalek doing that to a companion… err sorry bad images. No a Dalek as a companion.  Better even, a deranged Dalek that thinks she’s human, as a companion.  How awesome would that be.  Super genius to keep up with the doctor. Teeth to frighten enemies.  Deranged paranoia to keep the doctor on edge.  And of course a tragic back story with lots of plot hooks to draw out over the course of a season.  Of course that would be possible only if Moffat was a good producer.  And if you aren’t sold on the idea, picture this… Dalek painted Hello Kitty pink wearing the 4th doctor’s scarf!  BAM perfect.  Keep the chick who is gonna play the dalek as she is.  Keep her trapped in a little apartment inside her crazy little Dalek brain just have her sassy attitude follow the doctor around in a fragging tank!  Moffat I hate you…  I hate you because you don't think like this.

I love Daleks though.  I love how repeatedly people make fun of them as wheelie bins but they still manage to terrify and surprise us. They are fantastic and typify the amazing ideas that Doctor Who brings to life. I guess the stupid weeping angels are the new thing now.  Supposedly they’ll be in this new series someplace. Deranged statue aliens, great.  They are just a different type of villains I guess. They are villains like hungry wolves are villains to those who are slow and made of meat.  Daleks are villains to everything that doesn't want to be shot which is pretty much everyone. I hope the Weeping Angels eat Moffat.  Their temporal digestion dissolving his past present and future until he never existed would be justice.  Then maybe Davies would have had another season before he moved on and Who could have found a real successor after that.

Any Who… I’ve uploaded Steven’s relatives.  In my Shapeways gallery you’ll find a variety of new Dalek models.  The formidable Special Weapons Dalek.  The commanding Dalek Supreme.  The agile Spider Dalek.  The colossal Dalek Strider.  And of course the imposing Dalek Emperor.  Note standard, special, supreme and spider daleks should stand approximately 33 mm tall when assembled.  Strider and Emperor dalek should stand approximately 80mm tall.  Each sprue builds one wargame scale Dalek with a group of weapon options.  Due to changes in scaling and design elements new Dalek model parts are not compatible with old Dalek models.  Arms and parts are generally interchangeable between models of same size.  Special Weapon options can be exchanged with neck weapons on the strider or emperor’s arms.  Strider’s heavy weapon is unique in size. Models have been shelled for printing in Frosted Detail.

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