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Doctor Who Primer — Part Three

By Christopher Brosnahan
Okay, so enough about The Doctor himself. There are two other things that need a quick look at as well — specifically, the two best known enemies The Doctor has. They're both aliens. And they're both awesome.

The Daleks
The Daleks are those things that you've probably seen that look like pepperpots. They're basically small tanks in a kind of smoothly triangular wedge shape, with an eye stalk, ray gun and plunger. (Yes, a plunger.) Despite this, they're hugely popular and easily the most marketable thing about Doctor Who — which is a good thing, since they've been around since the second story.

The metallic monsters themselves aren't actually the Daleks. The Daleks are the genetically modified creatures within. The machines are life support units / mobile tanks. They were created by a dictator / scientist named Davros in order to be the ultimate army. They're brutal, swift and utterly devoted to wiping out any life that is not Dalek. After destroying the other race on their planet (the Thaleds), they branched out and started to conquer the universe.

According to the timeline in the original series, they conquered the earth in 2164, and we fell easily. And according to the Time Lords, there is no way out of the inevitable. The Daleks were built to rule the universe, and they will do it. They're basically SS troops, just unstoppable machines instead of humans.

As we've seen in the new series, one Dalek is easily capable of destroying an entire troop of soldiers, and quite possibly a city — single-handedly. The ray gun is extraordinarily powerful, they can levitate and the plungers are made out of an adaptable plastic which can basically do anything they want it to do.

The only person who has survived being around them more than once is The Doctor, and even he's scared of them. They're deadly. They have a catchphrase, and it's just one word: "Exterminate."

The Cybermen
The Cybermen have been around since the first Doctor — in fact, they were around for his death. The Cybermen were a race that was dying from disease before they decided to amalgamate themselves with technology to remain alive. If they became more machine than human-like, so be it.

They're totally silver, and they are capable of being sinister looking — although in their early appearances they were actually funnier in design than anything else. However, unlike the Daleks, whose appearance has been pretty much the same since their debut, The Cybermen evolve. Because that's what they do — they evolve to survive. They travel the universe, constantly conquering new civilisations and races — assimilating them, turning them into Cybermen. Eventually, they claim, all life in the universe will be assimilated and will become Cybermen. Those who resist will be killed anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Sounding familiar? I'm betting it will to any Star Trek fans — especially when you hear their catchphrase. Yes, they have one as well, and while it's not quite as simple as "Exterminate", it's pretty simple: "Resistance is useless."

Yep, The Borg — created a mere thirty years later — are suspiciously similar in concept to the Cybermen. If you know about The Borg, you know about the Cybermen. The differences between them are largely cosmetic. They haven't been back in this series, but they're confirmed for the second season.

You may be getting an idea now just how ahead of it's time Doctor Who was. It's possibly the most influential science fiction series that has ever been broadcast — even if you haven't seen it, you'll have felt its impact. Whether it be the humour, style, concepts or even just because Star Trek nicked The Borg from the Cybermen, you've been impacted. But the thing is, it's an important show in television history because it's the longest running science fiction TV series ever. More than that, it's a damn good one. Which is why it's such a significant thing that it's finally back on TV.

While it's not been picked up in the US yet, don't worry — it will be. The new series has been a huge hit on the BBC, and it's slowly being picked up around the world… either by illegal downloading or from legitimate viewings on the TV. Some US network will eventually air it, and when it does… watch the damn thing.

Take it from me. You'll love it.

: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

Part 01 :: Part 02 :: Part 03


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The Edge of Forever 55


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