DOCTOR WHO 7.1: “Asylum of the Daleks”

The Parliament of the Daleks

As season premieres go, out of 10, “Asylum of the Daleks” gets an 11. I’m not prepared to anoint it the best of the revived series yet, but it’s certainly a contender. By turns creepy, breathless, fun, resonant, sad, scary, hopeful, nostalgic and even informative, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the opener. It reflected on the Doctor’s amazingly long history with the Daleks (He first met them in the second story of the series, waaay back in 1963!) and still managed to reveal new facets of the Daleks, proving that they are still evolving after all these years.

The story, in a nutshell, is a simple quest. The Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) are kidnapped by the Daleks who dispatch them to their legendary prison planet, the Asylum, which is packed with insane, damaged and battle-scarred Daleks. The planetary containment field was damaged by the crashing starliner Alaska, and the thought of the force field collapsing and allowing a planet of insane Daleks to ravage the universe frightens even ruling Parliament of the Daleks. Too scared to do the job themselves, the Dalek send the Doctor and his companions to turn off the shield from inside, so the Daleks can bombard the planet and destroy it. But there’s one more problem: The Doctor makes contact with a human survivor aboard Alaska: Oswin Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman).
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The Prequel to “Asylum of the Daleks” You (Probably) Didn’t See

Thanks to Pond Life, we all know how Amy and Rory came to the point where they were SPOILER WARNING kidnapped by the Daleks END SPOILER WARNING, but how did the Doctor find himself on Skaro?

In the opening moments of “Asylum of the Daleks,” the Doctor (Matt Smith) explained that he had been summoned by Darla via a dream message mentioning her daughter and directing him to the ancient home of the Daleks.

Well, here is that dream message — a surreal sequence penned by Steven Moffat himself — in which the Doctor is approached by a (very persistent) hooded man…

How cool was that? It started out light-hearted and grew chilling by the end. It’s quite a contrast to Pond Life. I love how unflappable the Doctor is — but then again, I imagine this sort of thing happens to him fairly regularly. However, when he finally pronounced the name “Skaro”… was that… fear in his eyes?

DOCTOR WHO Series 7 Episode Synopses

I’m the type of fan who doesn’t mind knowing a bit about upcoming episodes of my favorite shows; I just don’t want to know everything. Thanks to my previous job at Soap Opera Weekly, I got used to knowing what was coming more than two weeks ahead of time, and often I saw prime-time shows way before the rest of the home audience. I thought that was cool.

BCC America have posted official synopses of the first three episodes of Series 7, which kicks off on Saturday. These won’t ruin the episodes for you, but if you want to avoid knowing anything about what’s coming up, you should skip today’s post. (I won’t be offended. Promise.)

Last chance. !SPOILER WARNING! The good stuff comes after the jump…
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America’s Appointment With the Doctor Moved Up!

The 11th Doctor has taught us that “Time can be rewritten” — so why not a press release? Taking just such a course, BBC America has decided to debut the first episode of the new season of DOCTOR WHO on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. ET, one week earlier than previously announced.

The good news is that not only do we get the Doctor and the Ponds sooner than we thought, we Yanks get to keep up with the Time Lord’s activities on the same schedule as our friends in Great Britain and Canada. Thank you, BBC America!

Here’s a look at BBC America’s new teaser trailer, which includes new footage (along with the new date):

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Can the Doctor “Save the Daleks”?

Oh, of course he can! All the Doctor has to do is… er, um… Hey, wait a minnit!

“Save the Daleks”? WTH?

Save the mad pepperpots he’s been battling since his first incarnation? That’s crazy! Anyone who thinks that ought to be locked up in an… asylum…. Yes, I see where the episode title comes from now…

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BBC America Schedules Doctor Appointment for Sept. 8

Not to blow my own horn (too much), but I called it! In a piece of reasoning worth of the Ninth Doctor, I predicted that BBC America would hold back the premiere of DOCTOR WHO Series 7 for one week, due to the Labor Day holiday weekend, when viewers will be outdoors, rather than perched in front of the TV. Odds are the BBC will debut Series 7 on Sept. 1.

Lo and behold, BBC America has done exactly, that, trumpeting the scheduling of “Asylum of the Daleks” for Saturday, Sept. 8, at 9 p.m. ET. Check out the promo (which is really just the Series 7 long trailer with a concrete date inserted at the end, but let’s face it, this is an awesome teaser!)

ETA: On Aug. 22, BBC America changed its mind and moved the premiere forward to Sept. 1, thus invalidating the end of this trailer, so it was removed. Please take a look at my Aug. 22 post, “America’s Appointment With the Doctor Moved Up!” for the new trailer — featuring new scenes!

Somehow, having a definite date makes it both easier and more difficult to wait for the first episode to actually air! I mean, c’mon, the way Matt Smith delivers the line, “Dinosaurs — on a spaceship!” is just as amazing as… well, dinosaurs on a spaceship.

DOCTOR WHO Brings out the Gimp

We all (I hope) fondly remember the Russell T Davies era that so successfully relaunched DOCTOR WHO for the 21st century, and now the show is (sort of) doing something for Davies in return…

Bleeding Cool reports that years ago (before he was even involved in DW), Davies privately commissioned a Dalek in all-black livery for his home, and his friends took to calling it the “Gimp Dalek.”

Yesterday’s BFI screening of the Series 7 premiere confirmed that “Asylum of the Daleks” truly features every Dalek ever — including Davies’ Gimp Dalek! Current executive producer Steven Moffat had his predecessor’s specialized Dalek shipped to the studio, where it was included in filming, thus making the Gimp Dalek a canon character in the Whoniverse!

I wonder if the Gimp takes a lot of naps in the basement…

DOCTOR WHO’s Debut Moves Closer

It’s official: The first story in DOCTOR WHO’s seventh season will be called “Asylum of the Daleks,” and it will debut on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at The British Film Institute. The debut episode will also screen Aug. 25 at the 2012 Edinburgh International Television Festival.

The episode has been teased as containing “every Dalek ever,” from the original models seen in “The Mutants” to the Special Weapons Dalek of “Remembrance of the Daleks” to the New Paradigm from “Victory of the Daleks.” Personally, I think “Asylum of the Daleks” is a cray-cray name for the episode — unless it’s meant in the sense of political asylum. I cannot picture the petulant pepperpots getting their blobby green heads shrunk at a sanitarium — can you?

Executive producer Caroline Skinner told the BBC’s official DOCTOR WHO website: “This is an epic Dalek adventure that kicks off the new series in explosive style! If you think you know all there is to know about the Daleks, think again!”

I think I can’t wait!