Daleks. The single word that can bring almost any Doctor Who fan to sit up and take notice, to watch or listen to any television show or radio play, and the best of the best of the Doctor’s reoccurring foes, and a very large part of why Doctor Who is still around today.
Sadly, Blood of the Daleks does not do them justice; instead it just retreads old ground, with a few interesting moments, but nothing we have not seen before.
Blood of the Daleks starts off in good fashion, with the Doctor meeting his new companion, Lucie Miller, who just “appears” in the TARDIS.
Lucie right off the bat proves to be interesting, wanting to travel in time and space, but perhaps not with the Doctor per se. She comes off as a wise-cracking modern woman, headstrong and very sure of herself even in the most impossible situations, almost like an Ace for the twenty first century.
Sadly, once the introductions are over and we find out that Lucie was sent by the Time Lords under a witness protection program, the play starts a slippery slide down a hill of old reused plot elements and not much story.
I remember DWM used to do these articles where they would compare two episodes of the classic series and compare them to one another and, using crafty word play, made them sound exactly the same. The same could be done with Blood, as there are two Dalek factions here on the planet Red Rocket Rising, the ones we all know and love, and the ones created by Professor Martez, who has transferred his brain into the body of Eileen Klint, a disgraced scientist.
Although there are excellent moments such as the Doctor gaining the trust of Tom Cardwell as he threatens to shoot the Doctor down for being alien, and the scenes with Martez’s Daleks are really well done by Nicholas Briggs, who brings a range to the Daleks that is both a surprise and a joy, but the rest of the story is old hat.
The two Dalek factions recognize that they are both slightly different from one another after the real Daleks arrive as false saviors of the population of the doomed world, and destroy one of the new race breed on Red Rocket.
From there and until the climax of the story, many of the elements employed in the tale make use of a Dalek war between factions (Evil of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks) and the death of the new breed’s creator as she (he?) halts production of more Daleks (Genesis of the Daleks).
I really liked Steve Lyons novels in the nineties like Head Games, and was shocked that so many familiar moments were reused in such a manner.
It’s not all bad though, as any chance to see, nay hear, Daleks screaming exterminate and blasting things to death is a treat to be beheld, no matter the boring or simply tired ideas.
Even better is the ending snippet, an allusion to a future villain in the radio series, the Headhunter, who can seek Lucie out in any time or place.
The supporting characters are also excellent, Tom Cardwell (Kenneth Cranham) playing both the mad man and the savior, and the funny message at the end by the president where apparently if I heard right the planet will now be saved by those wonderful people ‘just like them’ from the planet Telos (poor Red Rocket Rising…).