Top critical review
Invisible Daleks and hibernating Daleks
on 11 February 2015
This story follows on from ‘Frontier in Space’ (novelised as ‘The Space War’). The two stories don’t really have a great deal to do with one another however. ‘Frontier in Space’ merely brings the Daleks’ plans to the Doctor’s attention and enables him, with the help of the Time Lords, to track them to Spiridon. Of course, Spiridon isn’t really the planet of the Daleks at all. It transpires that it is merely a base of operations where there is a massive Dalek army in hibernation. Working on the assumption that this army is ready to be activated and sweep across the universe once war has broken out between Earth and Draconia, it seems odd, considering the failure of this plan in ‘Frontier in Space’, that the Daleks seem to be carrying on with it. Surely there needs to be a rethink now that the Master and the Ogrons have failed. That this isn’t acknowledged in ‘The Planet of the Daleks’ lessens the relationship between the two stories.
This is a pretty standard novelisation of the serial. There isn’t much that hasn’t really been seen before in other Dalek stories. Why the Thals are even included is a bit debatable. It might have been more interesting, and more in keeping with ‘‘Frontier in Space’, if a team of either Draconians or humans (or better both) had accompanied the Doctor to Spiridon and fulfilled the roles played by the Thals.
Some of the visual impact can’t help but be lost. The arrival and onscreen presence of the Dalek Supreme doesn’t make the same dramatic impression and the invisibility of the Spiridons or their purple cloaks aren’t as effective. As a trade-off though, the ranks of the Dalek army don’t come across as toys.
Even so, this is still an exciting and enjoyable story written with plenty of pace and action.