Doctor Who: The RTD Years Vol. 1 - Revisiting DALEKS IN MANHATTAN - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: The RTD Years Vol. 1 - Revisiting DALEKS IN MANHATTAN

Ah, the Big Apple in the '30s! Land of opportunity, jazz, and, as it happens, genetically modified pig slaves and our favourite shouty salt-shakers, the Daleks. Russell T Davies must've thought: “Why NOT mix Depression-era New York with an alien invasion?” It sounds zany, but that’s RTD for you. And let's be honest, thanks to the pen of Helen Raynor works! Let’s plunge into the bizarre world of 'Daleks in Manhattan'.

The Daleks - They’ve Got Ambition, Baby!

The Daleks, bless them, have never been great at subtlety. When they want something, they simply exterminate obstacles. However, in this episode, they've gone all-in on a masterplan, complete with human-Dalek hybrids and grand ideas of world conquest. One can almost imagine a Dalek trying on a fedora and humming Sinatra’s "New York, New York".

From Hooverville to the Heights of the Empire State Building

Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the story’s setting in Hooverville is both grim and evocative. It captures the despair of the time while juxtaposing it against the grandeur of the Empire State Building, a symbol of hope and ambition. This creates a setting ripe for Dalek intervention, their own twisted ambition mirroring the dreams of the city's inhabitants.

The Doctor & Martha - Bright Lights, Big City

David Tennant’s Doctor is in his element, facing off against his oldest enemies, all while trying to make sense of the Daleks’ new direction. Tennant excels in portraying a Doctor who's both fascinated and horrified.

Martha Jones, meanwhile, is growing into her role as the Doctor's confidant. Freema Agyeman's performance is heartfelt as she grapples with the strange world of the past while confronting the eternal threats of the universe.

The Ensemble - From Showgirls to Shanty Towns

Enter Tallulah, the quintessential '30s showgirl with a three-Ls-and-an-H name, and a heart of gold. Her love story with Laszlo, who turns into a Pig Slave (because why not?), gives the episode an emotional core. Their relationship is a testament to the idea that love transcends appearances, even if your beau has turned a bit... porcine.

A Spider in the Big Apple: Andrew Garfield's Foray into Who-verse

Before he swung through New York's skyline as Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield dipped his toes into the world of Daleks, pig-men, and the TARDIS. His role as Frank, a resident of Hooverville, is a far cry from his superhero persona. Garfield imbued Frank with a mix of vulnerability, determination, and old-school New York chutzpah. It's a testament to his acting range that he transitioned seamlessly from a Depression-era lad to one of Marvel's iconic heroes. While his stint in 'Doctor Who' was brief, it was a tantalizing glimpse of the star power that would soon catapult him into Hollywood's A-list.

Dalek Sec: The Evolution of the Daleks

The creation of the Human-Dalek hybrid, Dalek Sec, is an intriguing turn. He’s an eloquent, contemplative villain, facing existential questions about Dalek nature. His transformation challenges the fundamental idea of Dalek purity, and through him, RTD invites us to reflect on the rigidity of beliefs.

Standout Scenes: Heartbeats and Hybrids

The unveiling of Dalek Sec in his hybrid form is genuinely unsettling. The blend of human and Dalek is a macabre marriage of man's ambition and Dalek ruthlessness.

Another standout? The Doctor’s heartbeat. In a quiet moment, as he lets Solomon listen to the dual heartbeat of a Time Lord, it's a poignant reminder of his alien nature amidst the very human backdrop of 1930s New York.

Continuity and Callbacks

While the Daleks have always been the Doctor's nemesis, the introduction of the Cult of Skaro and their desperate measures to survive brings a fresh dimension to their narrative. Their actions here, especially the tragic arc of Dalek Sec, echo in stories to come, including the emotional 'Journey’s End'.

Reflections and Revelations

"Daleks in Manhattan" is a story of contrasts: poverty and opulence, despair and hope, ambition and surrender. It's also about the dangers of unchecked ambition, both human (as embodied by the Empire State Building) and Dalek.

Concluding Notes

Look, any episode that combines Daleks, the Empire State Building, and show tunes was never going to be your run-of-the-mill 'Doctor Who' adventure. "Daleks in Manhattan" is a wild ride, but beneath the spectacle lies a rich tapestry of emotion, philosophy, and pure, unbridled ambition. It's both a love letter to New York and a warning about the perils of wanting too much, too fast. And if you don’t come away humming a show tune or two, with a newfound wariness of pigs, I’d be very much surprised.

All said and done, Raynor and RTD gave us a tale that’s as grand as the city it’s set in. It's a reminder that no matter the era, no matter the galaxy, and no matter how many tentacles you might have, the dream of making it big is universal.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to ensure there aren’t any genetically modified pigs lurking around. You never know with New York, after all!

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