Sunday, March 31, 2013

Movellan On Up

The 7th series of Doctor Who resumed last night.  In the upcoming seven episodes, in addition to the much anticipated Neil Gaiman penned Cybermen episode, scheduled, I believe, for next Saturday, we have been promised the return of the Doctor's old foes the Ice Warriors, last seen sometime during the Jon Pertwee era.   Those malevolent Martians, I am given to understand, being somewhat new to Doctor Who fandom, are the only major recurring enemy from the original series yet to make a reappearance in the new version.  So, with all the major alien races revived, perhaps its time to resurrect some of the minor ones who only appeared for one serial.
As you may have surmised, I have a specific suggestion for just such an opponent I would like to see return.  
A four part story from 1979, "Destiny of the Daleks" kicked off the show's seventeenth season and introduced Lalla Ward as the Doctor's "new" companion, the freshly regenerated Time Lady Romana.  This serial also marks the last Dalek story, indeed the final Doctor Who work overall, by Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks.  I've read that Nation was upset with script editor Douglas Adams' near total rewriting of the script.  Although I've also seen where Adams claimed the "script" he received from Nation was little more than a plot outline and he basically had to write the story from scratch. If you're familiar at all with Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, you will certainly be able to see his fingerprints all over this one.  His distinctive sense of humor is much in evidence, especially in the early scene where Romana tries out several new looks.  Also, in one scene the Doctor is shown reading a book by Oolon Coluphid, mentioned throughout the Hitchhiker's series as the author of such books as Where God Went Wrong, More of God's Greatest Mistakes, and Well, That About Wraps It Up For God.
The story finds the Doctor returning once again to the Daleks' home planet of Skaro to become caught in the middle of a conflict between his oldest enemies and a robotic race known as the Movellans.  We are told that the two races have been at war for centuries and now find themselves at an impasse.  The Daleks have returned to their old stomping grounds to dig up their creator Davros in hopes that he will help them end the stand off.  The Movellans seek to prevent this, and at the same time seek to recruit the Doctor to aid them in their efforts against the Daleks.
After this serial ended, the Movellans were never seen again, though they were mentioned in the Doctor's next encounter with the Daleks, "Resurrection of the Daleks", which aired in 1984 and was the fifth Doctor's one and only meeting with the Daleks.  In that episode, its revealed that the Movellans had won the war by creating a virus that affected the mutants who lived inside the Daleks' robotic shells.  Once again, the Daleks seek out the aid of Davros, this time to devise a cure for the virus.
In "Destiny of the Daleks", the Movellans are really little more than a plot device.  We learn next to nothing about them other than the bare bones facts that they are a race of shiny robots who don't much like the Daleks.  This leaves a lot of questions hanging in the air.  Since the Movellans are robots, someone had to build them, right?  Who these builders were, what happened to them and why they created a race of robots, not to mention why the Movellans were at war with the Daleks in the first place, are all questions that go not only unanswered, but totally unaddressed. 
Those mysteries are why I would like to the Movellans return to the Doctor Who universe. Of course, I have my own ideas.  They involve Davros, who in the episodes I have seen with him in them always seemed to have his own agenda separate from the plans of the Daleks, creating the Movellans himself and sending them backwards in time to destroy the Daleks.  
If you've got any theories of your own about the origins of the Movellans, or if there's any obscure aliens or monsters from the original Doctor Who you'd like to see brought back for a curtain call, let me know in a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Back in the days of Doctor #3, the Master had a schtick of allying himself with various alien races in an attempt to first defeat the Doctor and then to betray his extraterrestrial partners. There are more than a few races who might have an axe to grind with the Master and may wish to take it out on everybody's favorite Time-Lord, the Doctor, not knowing the difference.

    There are quite a few to choose from here. Some, like the Autons, have already been showcased in the new series and may be due for a return. Personally though, I've always had a soft spot for the Axons. As you know, Ray, The Claws of Axos is one of my favorite stories from one of my favorite eras of Doctor Who.

    For that matter, who knows how many aliens might have a bone to pick with the Master? Sounds like a clever writer could map a whole season around an idea like that, don't you think?

    Also, the Doctor is long overdue for another chess match with Fenric. (For the uninitiated, I'm referring partially to Dragonfire but mostly to The Curse of Fenric, possibly the best Doctor #7 story of all. --Ray knows how much I love Doctor #7.)