Doctor Who is a programme about change. It's always been critically acclaimed in some form or another, and it's also been a key part of British heritage and culture for many years. But, like the main protagonist himself; the characterised glue that has constantly kept the show stuck together; the time traveler whose personality and appearance has taken eleven different official forms and even more unofficial ones over the past near-50 years, the show constantly changes. It changes with new lead writers, it changes with the times and it most definitely changes with The Doctor himself, not to mention his countless companions. In the midst of all this change a number of problems have popped up over the years: plot-holes, continuity errors and such, which can let the self-proclaimed 'hardcore' viewer down if taken to heart. Fans of classic Doctor Who and even the Russell T. Davies era will find a fair few problems with the recently broadcasted series 7 (or 32, if you will) opener, titled Asylum of the Daleks - Errors which are most evident in the form of issues to do with the Doctor's greatest adversary themselves.
Now let's get one thing perfectly clear: I absolutely adore Doctor Who and I adore it now more than I ever did before current lead writer Steven Moffat took over, but I don't take it too seriously. A lead writer can't write a story of his own based around an adversary that has been present in a show since its second serial without creating continuity issues, and that's a fact, but so-called die-hards feel the need to point out unobvious errors and see them as episode ruiners. Fans who expected SteeMo to watch every Dalek story ever broadcast before writing his Dalek debut are quite foolish, to say the least, because when you look past the slightly botched continuity there is an absolutely fantastic story in Asylum of the Daleks, paired with fantastic production values (especially for a BBC budget) and a personal adoration of mine which comes in the form of some truly phenomenal direction from Nick Hurran, who also worked on two stellar hits from last year, The Girl who Waited and The God Complex. Speaking of last year, Doctor Who's sixth revived series saw a lot more head-scratching than most with its complex plot lines and timey-wimey madness, but thankfully with series 7 Moffat has wiped the slate clean and gone back to the basics with a very sophisticated, easy to understand script that worked wonders on our TV screens. The Doctor is back and he's made his return with a particularly explodey-wodey bang.
|The Parliament of the Daleks is one of many impressive sights to behold found within this episode. Look at all'a them Daleks!!|
Following their kidnapping, the Doctor and the Ponds are summoned to the 'Parliament of the Daleks', another supposedly new element of Dalek lore that was actually in some way referenced in classic stories but never explored. Man, it seems for every continuity error in this episode there's a bucket of fan-service. The Parliament pleases the eyes of non-fans, too, thanks to Hurran's stellar cinematography. This scene has the story of the episode set up rather swiftly, with us seeing a new side to the Daleks. You see, they're in quite the pickle - Their Asylum, a planet that houses the most insane, uncontrollable of their kind right to the core, has been breached by an unknown vessel. Even the deadliest warriors in the universe find fear in the prospect of a "tsunami of insane Daleks" and seize the opportunity to send the Doctor and his companions to the planet to remove it's forcefield from the inside, so the Dalek ships can initiate a mass-extermination involving both the cleansing of their planet and the demise of their adversary... And a couple of humans in the form of Amy and Rory as a little extra.
|The killer plungers are back and deadlier than ever, especially after their last appearance attached to tin-can Power Rangers. I kid, of course, but I'm glad the Daleks are a posable threat once more.|
|This screenshot is totally relevant.|
If you can look past the slightly botched Dalek continuity (and trust me, it's easy to do so and worth it, too) and the slightly annoying fact that Amy and Rory have nothing to do in this episode but argue about a plot device that makes very little sense following their previous adventures, then Steven Moffat has truly created an absolute tour-DE-force in Asylum of the Daleks... With the help of Nick Hurran's stellar direction as well as Matt Smith and the gang's brilliant performances, of course. They've been pushing this set of episodes as blockbusters, and Asylum absolutely fits the bill for that description. It's an absolute epic that does great things within its 50-minute time-frame, and there's not a whole lot else to add to all of the above. So, in conclusion, Asylum of the Daleks achieves a brilliant rating of...