5 December 2018: It Takes You Away review added.
26 November 2018: The Witchfinders review added.
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DEATH TO THE DALEKS
"It is vital that they continue to believe there are only four of us!"
A bit of a mess, Death To The Daleks. A forbidden city, two alien races at war with each other, sacrifices, monsters, Daleks, humans, plague, tests of valour, bombs... plenty of stuff here, but none of it even slightly original. Never mind the quality, feel the width.
Characterisation couldn't be more by the book: the yawnsome earthlings on their mercy mission, complete with Nasty Selfish Guy Who Repents and Nobly Blows Himself Up, are the worst culprits, but Ballal the Sweet Little Alien isn't much better. And the city-worshipping Exxilons are eerily familiar - can we spell Colony in Space?
In what's overall a pretty duff Daleks story, it's the Daleks themselves, with their Dalekcam and cunning plans, who are the most interesting. Although frankly that's not saying much, given the bog-simple My First Dalek characterisation they have for most of the adventure. And to put the tin lid on it, any menace these death-dealing masters of evil might project is shot to hell by the appalling music. Carry On Dalek? Good grief.
And is it just us, or is the Doctor's laborious trip through the City of the Exxilons a total waste of time? Considering that the two Earthmen blow up the beacon anyway, as far as we can see all that hopscotch was utterly pointless. Bad Terry, no biscuit.
Bright spots? Sarah, of course and as usual, is well worth watching. Although she's more screamy in Death To The Daleks than she has been previously, we love the way she shows initiative with the parrinium. And we could watch anything where the Third Doctor's wearing velvet and kneeboots all day. The first glimpse of the City of the Exxilons is pretty cool. And...um... oh yeah, we like the Root. Yes, even though you can see the string. Sometimes the simple monsters are the best.
MORAL: If at first you don't succeed, try explosives.
THIS IS AN EX-ASTRONAUT
It's not quite as "It's..." as the beginning of The Mutants, but it's close.
YE CANNA CHANGE THE LAWS OF PHYSICS
Why is there suddenly an echo in the TARDIS when the lights go out?
THERE'S NOTHING LIKE A CHANGE OF SCENE
Sarah does a creditable job of beating up the Exxilon, but why doesn't she drag it out of the TARDIS and slam the door, rather than running outside where there are bunches of them?
DOCTORS MUST BE KEPT ON A LEAD AT ALL TIMES
Mere milliseconds after Sarah says quaveringly "You're not going to go away, are you?", the Doctor buggers off!
IT WORKED FOR INDIANA JONES
What good do the Exxilons think it's going to do setting a trap that throws a papier mache rock down the hill? By the time it arrives at the bottom, the enemy will be long gone.
The Doctor says "Certainly, when the only alternative to living is dying.". When isn't it?
We note that the Doctor somehow finds time to clean the mud off his boots before going into the Exxilon City. (Not that we're obsessed with his boots or anything...)
BECAUSE I'M WORTH IT
The Doctor flings himself impetuously into the fray when he thinks Sarah is about to be sacrificed, which is a damned sight more than he did when it was Jo on the slab in The Daemons.
ZIP A DEE DO DAH
Why do people in the future always wear jumpsuits?
DUMB AND DUMBER
The Doctor trotting off on his own down the underground passage is unbelievably stupid. He's going to go down it half a mile and then come back? What will that do? And his reasons for going alone are even sillier. How is Sarah supposed to watch his back from that distance? And what makes him think Sarah is safer where she is than with him?
When the Doctor's attacked by the Root, why doesn't he just run back in the same direction he came?
IT'S ON THE TIP OF MY TONGUE
Just why is it that the Exxilons have to destroy the City to save the race, again?
YOU ARE HERE
When the Doctor's looking at the maze map, how does he know which is the entry and which the exit?
YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK. GOODBYE
Why is the floor pattern an intelligence test? Without something like the sonic screwdriver, you'd have no chance of working it out.