Discussion Spark: Daleks
(in 2011 when I was blogging full time, I did a question of the (every now and then) day feature that never caught on. While I never got the intense discussions I was after, I really liked and still like the idea, so I’m re-instituting semi-regular question groups about a particular topic, anything from ultra serious to silly. The first topic is Daleks, the iconic enemy of Doctor Who. Blame Overthinker for the subject. I drew a blank and went with what he suggested.)
Questions on Daleks:
What makes Daleks compelling villains?
Are they more frightening as faceless masses or when they have individual personalities? Why?
If there were no Doctor Who, how could we stop the Daleks from exterminating us all?
Do you buy their motivations or think that mass extermination is a bit unreasonable?
Doctor Who is categorized as a children’s show? Are Daleks appropriate for children to encounter?
If Daleks aren’t the most frightening of Doctor Who villains, who or what is?
Which of the Doctors do you think handled Daleks the most effectively? Why?
My responses below the cut:
Daleks are interesting because they are both deeply human in their motivations and utterly inhuman. They operate out of jealousy and fear, but insist that they are operating out of completely rational motives. They are very much like extremely deadly toddlers.
I think they’re more frightening as faceless masses, because then they are totally incomprehensible to us. When a few surviving Daleks break away and form a religion that allows for individuality, they become easier, not more difficult, for the Doctor to handle.
If there were no Doctor Who, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because the world would have ended on December 21, 2012.
Mass extermination is a lot unreasonable, but it makes sense in the original context of ‘purity’. That is why once individual Daleks started having personalities, they became somewhat less effective. Each personality is a bit of impurity in the Dalek whole, and thus to purify, they should be self destructing. Of course a few of the episodes dealt with this, but I still don’t think they were as effective.
I find it interesting that in Britain Doctor Who is considered a children’s show, because it deals consistently with very complex subjects and adult relationships. In some ways it makes me blush for American childrens’ programming. As for whether Daleks are appropriate for children, it would depend on the child, on the ability of the parent(s) to explain matters, and on the ability of the people in question to handle any issues that become difficult for a child to discuss because the concepts are hard.
I think the Weeping Angels are terrifying. Of course, it’s just an update on Gargoyles, but they’re terrifying, too. Blink was perhaps the scariest episode ever. I have to admit, Daleks to me are sometimes more annoying than terrifying. It’s the voice, I think.
I’m agnostic about which Doctor is most effective. I have my favorite (the 9th Doctor – yes, I know I’m in a minority) but in terms of which Doctor can handle Daleks best, no opinion.
Your answers go down in that nifty space down there. Get on it!