Destiny of the Daleks
|Destiny of the Daleks|
|Air date||1 September - 22 September 1979|
|Written by||Terry Nation|
|Directed by||Ken Grieve|
|The Armageddon Factor||City of Death|
WTF was Terry Nation thinking when he wrote this crap?! is the embarrassment that began Season 17 of the (s)hit sci-fi show Doctor Who. Fans are still trying to forget it ever happened to this day, even more so than they are with Mark Gatiss' (non)Victory, and that is saying a lot. It explains why it took so long for this story to get its own page.
Why this story is a total trainwreck
- Soooo, Mary Tamm decided she didn't wanna play Sexy Romana anymore because she was triggered by the "sexist" writing (even though her character was sassy and confident, unlike the archetypal "Doctor Who girl"), but she offered to return for a regeneration scene into the ever so slightly Sexier Romana. For some daft reason though, instead of using his brain and accepting her offer, Graham Williams was like "nah nah, it's cool, we got this" and decided to have Romana just instantly waltz on set already in a new body, because that totally doesn't scream "We didn't want to have to pay another person to be in this!".
- Additionally, they have a questionable scene where the newly regenerated Romana decides to try on different bodies for comedic effect that makes absolutely no sense in relation to what we've seen before. Some fans suggest from this that the regenerative process allows one to briefly change their bodies if they don't like it, but me being the sadist that I am likes to imagine that Romana was literally slitting her wrists every time she tried on a new body.
- John Leeson, the GOOD voice actor for K-9, was unavailable for the whole season, so in this story he was voiced by Roy Skelton, who sounds nothing like him. Fortunately in this one he only really coughs, but even so. Oh well, at least it's better than David Brierley's awkward impersonation that sounds like he has a cold.
- The cliff-hanger to part one has the extremely tatty-looking Daleks burst through what looks like a stretched out black bin bag and back Romana up against the wall and order her not to move. Credits roll. No, seriously, that is the cliff-hanger. Wow, so spoopy. I mean sure, it would work well as a reveal cliff-hanger of "HOLY SHIT THE DALEKS ARE BACK", but since the story is titled 'Destiny of the 'Daleks... I dunno, I think the audience had a bit of a hunch that they'd appear here somewhere and thus wouldn't be shocked.
- Michael "I Wisher you were here" was too busy with theater work to return as Davros for this story, so the production team hired David Gooderson instead. Alright, maybe he could be good as Davros... But of course, the stingy BBC don't bother to remold the mask so it will fit his face or even give him a goddamn voice changer, so his interpretation ends up being easily the weakest of them all. It's a shame too, even when Davros is in shite like The Magician's Apprentice or Journey's End, he usually at least looks and sounds good. Unfortunately, here is the odd occasion where he doesn't.
- Another big mistake was also letting David Gooderson provide some of the Dalek voices. You get Roy Skelton's Daleks who sound awesome and intimidating and "right", then you get Gooderson's who sound camp af.
- At one point the Doctor examines the body of one of the enemies the Daleks are fighting, the Movellans, and discovers that they are robots. The Doctor then says, and I quote: "Just as I thought... Just another race of robots, no better than the Daleks". Later on in the story, he finds a discarded Dalek mutant and seems to react in shock to the fact that they were once organic lifeforms even though he met their ancestors before. The final nail in the coffin is when Davros HIMSELF refers to the Daleks as robots.
- The acting from all involved, especially the extras, is absolutely horrendous excluding for Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, David Gooderson (debatable, but if given the sufficient resources he probably would've been great) and some other cast member who was apparently deaf so kudos to him for trying.
- Remember how unwelcoming Skaro was in The Daleks? Remember how creepy it was in The Evil of the Daleks? Remember how utterly brutal life there seemed in Genesis of the Daleks? Welp, here we are with Destiny and it's basically... a bright quarry and some caves with no feeling of tension or danger. Boy, how far we've come.
Anything good about it?
Well, Tommy obvs. Lalla looks fab in that outfit. While horribly acted, some of the extra's deaths are material for a gigglefit... yeeeeaaaa, that's about it...
To be fair, there were fans who only hated it because "the Daleks can't lose! Waah!" regardless of whether or not this would have been a good writing decision. Since then, fans have found better reasons to hate this serial, as explained above! So yeah, that goes to show that fanbases aren't always going to become increasingly hopelessly stupid. There is enough hope for humanity to know that sometimes we can learn and do better. Such as not making another Destiny of the Daleks.
Sadly, there will be no hope for expelling this from your memory.