When did the Daleks get so friggin' formidable?

In the new Dr. Who series, the Daleks seem to be much, much tougher than in the original series.

In the original series they were indeed technologically advanced: the third episode ever to feature them showed them with what amounted to a TARDIS lacking only an independent ability to navigate. Another arc revolved around preventing the Daleks from perfecting a “Time Destroyer”, a weapon that could instantly destroy entire planets with accellerated entropy. But I never got the impression that they were in the Time Lords’ league, let alone could actually threaten Gallifrey.

And in the new series each individual Dalek is astonishingly powerful: the Doctor claimed that one Dalek, ONE, could eventualy get around to killing every last human on Earth. In the original series the Dalek invasion of Earth was thwarted when their army of robotized slaves was turned against them, and the Daleks were overrun by mobs with nothing more than their bare hands and the willingness to take casualties.

Is there some backstory from the quasi-canon novels and radio plays featuring the Eighth Doctor that I"m unaware of that would explain this?

Nothing to add really. But as a 5 year old living in the UK at the time, the Daleks were the scariest fucking things imaginable to me. (Coupled with the Dr. Who shrilling theme music.)

If I were to fanwank, I’d say that the Timewar between the Timelords and the Daleks, which happened between the old and new series, was an evolutionary hotbed for Dalek offensive tech. By the end, the war was a stalemate, with The Doctor the only Timelord survivor, and supposedly no Daleks*. So I’d say they upped the ante considerably. Which again is consistent with the old series, I mean, the Daleks when first encountered couldn’t even leave their electrified rails, FPS. Now it’s “Elevate!” every episode…

Of course, Dalek survivors keep popping up out of the wainscoting of the multiverse like plunger-armed woodworm, but I don’t think many of those were actual war survivors - Cult of Skarro etc.

Somewhere along the line they developed the technology to siphon competence off of the Borg.

They studied the historical documents of Earth and saw one entitled “Doctor Who”, and studied these to ascertain the flaws of the Time Lords.

I must be of similar vintage to you, Leaffan. However, I seem to recall I could sit through Dr. Who quite happily but used to be scared witless by Ken Dodd and the Diddy Men.

The most pressing question about the Daleks, IMHO, is why nobody ever just ran upstairs to get away from them wheeled buggers.

Ellef, consider yourself exterminated :stuck_out_tongue:

As the special features of “Genesis of the Daleks” suggests, the Daleks possessed a massive inferiority complex that turned into one hell of a superiority complex. They just don’t give up and try and try again. Somewhere in the Who EU, mention is made of the spread of Daleks beyond this galaxy, protected by time bubbles, so there are always Daleks to learn from old mistakes and continue. While their racism prevents them from altering their basic make up, the Daleks think nothing of improving their technology or bulling other races to do their bidding.

Ah, I’m not the only one! Those grotesque diddy fuckers haunted my dreams. Ghastly little homunculi.

I wasn’t scared of Daleks, either, but that mid-70s green plant monster bigger than a house made me convinced that the silver birches in my street were going to eat me.

Daleks were’nt the Big Scary for me in the 70s - Davros was though - a fair bit.

The Sontarans (due for revival in the New series, I understand) sent me scuttling away behind the sofa, and there were some giant green caterpillar things that were pretty bad too (laughable in retrospect, I bet).

Was that the beastie that did poor Boycie in?

Funnily enough, Daleks weren’t the main terror for me either. The Cybermen, quite able to climb stairs and break through walls, were more terrifying. Perhaps it was their face, the blank expression seemed to be more threatening than any other snarling alien face.

Having said that, the terror of meeting a Dalek in the Armagh Planetarium, when only 5 years old was quite enough for me.

The Autons did for me - blank plastic faces and flip-down hands with guns. Uugh.


IANA totally rabid DW fan, [really] but I’ve read dozens upon dozens of the novels that were published between the original show and the new series. They are considered canon, you see the 9th television doctor referring to events from the books [destruction of the time lords].

I can’t remember the details, but the ultimate destruction of all the time lords did involve the daleks [was that brought out in the show?] – so yes, pretty damn powerful. Sorry I can’t remember the details of all the dalek evolution in the novels.

Mr nofloyd has all the novels, he might be able to sort out just the dalek novels and see what the progression has been. Boy, we do sound pretty rabid at that.

There’s one reason Daleks have it over Cybermen, and the end of Season 2 of the new series illustrated this nicely - Daleks have a sense of humour! A lovely, sarcastic whit after my own heart.
Dalek-Sek: Cybermen are superior to Daleks in one respect…
You are better at dying!

Laughed? I nearly wet myself.

“We are the Borg. Resistance is futile.”
“You will be assimilated.”

“Nice plunger.”

Malthasar? Is that you?

I’m of a later generation. That Berty Bassett type creature in The Sylvester McCoy Doctor Who haunted me.

I want to see that movie before I die.

When the effects budget got bigger, essentially.

Bloody hell! Along with The Pyramids of Mars, The Seeds of Doom was up there as the traumatising Dr. Who story in my childhood. I haven’t seen it since the original broadcast and hadn’t realised until now that John Challis was in it.

The stuff you learn on the Dope …

And Kirk and Picard team up with, say, the seventh and tenth Doctors to defeat them …