Customer Review

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A perfect creation..., 10 May 2006
This review is from: Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks [DVD] [1975] (DVD)
At last this classic Tom Baker / Dalek story comes to DVD, on two discs no less. The 6-part tale was originally broadcast in 1975 and although rather dated by today's television standards, still has considerable impact and power! It is also one of the most original and inventive of the many Dalek stories.

Disc one gives us all 6 episodes of "Genesis". The story opens with the Dr and fellow companions Sarah-Jane and Harry drawn "off course" to Skaro - the home planet of the Dr's arch enemies, the Daleks. The Dr's own race, the Time Lords, have summoned the Dr there to carry out a vital mission - to prevent the creation of the Daleks, or at the very least, influence their development so that they become less evil, aggressive creatures. The resulting story deals with the Dr's attempt to fulfil the Time Lords' aim, but there are many obstacles along the way, not least the Dalek's fanatical creator and evil genius, Davros...

As said, this is an original idea and marks a welcome break from the previous Dalek stories of the Jon Pertwee era, which were starting to become rather predictable and formulaic.

The crowning glory of "Genesis" is of course the now notorious character of Davros - a rather ugly chap with a face like a constipated tortoise (sorry couldn't resist) who zips around in a motorised device that looks exactly like the bottom half of a Dalek (you know, the slanty base bit with the round bobbles). Davros is brilliantly played by Michael Wisher, in what must be the definite portrayal of this character. One of most iconic of Dr Who villains, Davros was to return to the show on several other occasions, however later performances really don't match up to this one. Wisher plays Davros with moments of subtlety as well as showing a definite tyrannical side - but he never slips into the ranting, over the top megalomania of later performances (remember "Resurrection of the Daleks"?!). Davros in "Genesis" is sinister, malevolent and dedicated to the Dalek cause and has some truly excellent scenes. For instance there's a gripping stand off with Davros and the Dr, when the Doc asks Davros what he would do if he had the power of life and death.

What else is there to recommend? Well, considering that this is a Dalek story, the aforementioned pepperpot monsters are actually used very sparingly. However this is no bad thing - they still have some chilling scenes, such as the moment when Sarah sees the first Daleks being tested by Davros; or the final episode when the Daleks start to think and act independently of their creator and the other scientists - Davros really has created a monster...

Tom Baker is at the height of his powers here, giving a more brooding, intense performance than the rather maniacal, lunatic Dr he gave us in later years - though still peppered with moments of eccentricity and humour and that familiar toothy grin.

He's also well supported by his companions. Elisabeth Sladen, plays Sarah Jane Smith, one of my favourite ever assistants (and recently back on our screens in the new Dr Who - hoorah!) Although a little bit of a screamer at times she's still a gusty and likeable assistant, and pretty brave when she's climbing up the Thal rocket!

Ian Marter as Harry Sullivan is very much the middle class English man and perhaps has less to do than Sarah but is a good foil to Tom Baker's Dr.

The look and style of the story are generally successful, given the low budget the BBC was working with! There's some interesting allusions to Nazi warfare, highlighted by the costumes and the trench settings. The special effects are fair (again given the time this was made) but the most disastrous/hilarious have to be the giant clam creatures that attack the Dr, Sarah and Harry, making the Muppet show look frightening by comparison.

The story also offers the usual optional commentary, but I have to say I found this particular one pretty disappointing. Elisabeth Sladen and director Michael Maloney make a fair contribution, however Tom Baker's input is disappointingly sparse - given his reputation as a story teller and ability to tell a good anecdote you'd think he'd have more to say. The problem is he seems to have forgotten what the story was about (okay it was thirty years ago, but...!)As other reviewers have noted, the team really needed a good moderator to keep things properly focused on the story, or perhaps they should have slipped Tom the odd naughty beverage or two to loosen up his tongue.

Disc two of this set contains some excellent extras - for example, an extensive documentary which looks at the history of the Daleks and at each Dalek story in chronological order.

My only major criticism of this story is that although it's an excellent piece of drama and very emotive in places, the overall tone does tend toward the dour and grim, (as noted by script editor/writer Terrance Dicks too). The story could perhaps have done with an injection of humour at times - compare this tale to another classic 6 parter already released on DVD, "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" which manages to combine both the serious and the comic with great success. It's for this reason that I'm awarding "Genesis" four rather than five stars - too much of the dark and serious tips the balance, in my opinion. Still given the subject matter perhaps it's appropriate that the treatment is so serious.

On the whole this DVD is to be most recommended - so buy it before you get exterminated...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Feb 2009 18:35:29 GMT
Very good Review.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2009 15:46:35 BDT
Frogger says:
why does a Dr Who story have to have comic elements too. This can be an exception.

Posted on 4 Jul 2012 21:48:25 BDT
Alf Hart says:
Never dated!
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details



Location: London, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,045,219