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DALEKS IN MANHATTAN
Whenever Daleks appear in Manhattan and on the Empire State Building things can't go well. I can't figure out why I hate this story so much but I absolutely loathe it. This part is not as bad as part two but still. It has a good cast, good "location work" and makes the feel of the depression and the time feel really real. The acting is not bad and I feel everyone does a great job even if Tallulah's accent is annoying, she s essentially likeable. Freema does a good job and keeps Martha real and her "You can't experiment on people--it isn't sane, it isn't human" is so heartfelt. The guests are very good with the exception of the foreman. The music is spot on. Even the Empire State Building feels real. Frank is really cute and even the Doctor will let him kiss him if he wants to in yet another gay reference, this time not likening gay to evil (I missed a few going back, the witch Lilith had two mothers so naturally they were evil; the two old women in GRIDLOCK weren't evil but spent 20 years in a car). Frank, from the look on his face, wanted to kiss the Doc. He seems to vanish in part two somewhat but more on that later.
Then why do I hate this story so much? Not sure. It's not like the Daleks haven't had more silly ideas in their heads than this Final Experiment. I really loathe the foreman character and the actor playing him. Still, it's horrid to see him sucked into the Dalek like that and it's sort of...strangely cult cinema, exploitation cinema but it's....really bad. The effect is not awful and the idea is sound for a Dalek plan. How did FOUR OR FIVE Daleks get here? I know Sec vanished in emergency temporal shift but did the other three? I thought I counted more like five here. Who are they? Do we find out in the next part? I didn't really care at this point. When the Dalek human was revealed it looked terrible and the idea, again not totally out of league with Dalek ideals--or maybe it is---was a sound one to investigate but I can't help but feel it's just stupidly done. Then when it says, "I am a human Dalek," all hope for this story goes out the window.
First, if you have a great looking guy like Ryan Carnes, who's built fine, show him off. The make up work on him BEFORE he becomes a pig isn't the greatest and doesn't make him look so good. Maybe Tennant was worried someone would look prettier then he? In any event, then he is turned into a half pig man. Now that is not something I'd do if I had Ryan Carnes in a show. On top of that, I like pigs. I've seen many of them. I've heard and read stories of how heroic they can be and how they save lives and are very smart. To make them the villains...is somehow bothersome to me.
In any event, some of the sequences in the sewers under the building are scary and tense but...didn't Daleks have some sort of device to register human body heat? Is that broken down? They seem to miss the Doc and Tallulah in the alcove and a bunch of others. I thought Frank was dead meat when he fell down the shaft to the pigmen but he wasn't so there's a surprise for me. Most characters I like get killed off. The musical number wasn't very good and Martha's wrecking of it wasn't funny or interesting.
Still nothing here is terrible wiht the exception of the arrival of Dalek Human Sec. It just looks so STUPID and doesn't do the idea any justice. The preview for part two makes it look like all chaos breaks loose and in a way it does...it just doesn't make much sense and it is so very awful. This part is not as bad but it truly should get a 4/10 or a 1/5 or maybe a 2/5. The set up is a good one. Perhaps the GREAT DEPRESSION needed a story all to itself and instead of having the Daleks in it, it could have focused on the history. Maybe it was thought an alien was involved but the Doc and Martha could have found that indeed, a human was killing humans. THAT would have been more involving then this mess. I guess I"m finding it annoying that every time the Doc and girlfriend go into the past (and the future for that matter) there has to be an alien monster plot going on. It's tedious already. Add to that a below par monster mask and the heralding of the ridiculous looking human Dalek and a plot that blows all beliveablity out of the water and one gets the feeling that DW has already jumped the shark. Mind you with stuff like HUMAN NATURE, BLINK, and MIDNIGHT coming not to mention the Agatha Christie story and the Pompeii story, I don't believe it has jumped the shark just maybe humped it alittle. Still the Master two parter that ends this season is so awful...it just might make one thing DW has had it. Quality wise if not quantity wise. And yet people watched this and watched part two of this misguided, uncomfortable, errant story. Truly a dissapointment because the time zone is such a good one to tell tales, human tales, and to get it so right in feel and atmospshere and so wrong in just having the Daleks and pigmen there...is a let down. Helen Raynor is capable of writing good stuff but this isn't an example of that.