There are some films and novels where it seems obligatory for a TV series to do a parody of at some point, such Cinderella, A Christmas Carol, The Wizard of Oz, Psycho, Star Wars etc.
One plot that is parodied over and over again but where the original isn’t that well known these days is Fantastic Voyage, a 1966 sci-fi film. The title might not seem familiar, but you will recognise the plot; to save the life of an ill person a group of people go in a submarine which is miniaturised so they can enter the ill person’s body and fight the disease from within. It’s been reincarnated in various different forms, and this isn’t even the first time it has been done on Doctor Who, it had been done in the classic series episode The Invisible Enemy. This time though the body they have to enter is a Dalek.
In a spaceship of people who are in a war with the Daleks have found an injured one who they think has turned good, and want the Doctor to cure it. The Doctor, Clara and three soldiers enter. The soldiers are the commander, Journey Blue, and the other two are named Gretchen and Ross. These two seem to be very obvious Redshirts, i.e extras who are just there to be killed off, and that indeed does happen. Ross is the first to be killed by the Dalek’s antibodies. The Doctor is a bit callous here, as when the antibodies have targeted Ross, he gives him something which he tells him to swallow. He thinks that’s going to help him, but it is actually just a tracking device so that after Ross is killed the others will be able to follow where the Dalek puts its waste. Gretchen is also killed off, though she gets more of a “heroic sacrifice” ending than a “canon fodder” one…
… Or so everyone thinks. Gretchen wakes up in “Heaven”, and is offered a cup of tea by Missy. This is definitely leading up to something, though I guess we’ll have to wait and see what.
Despite her name sounding like an X Factor boyband, I loved Journey Blue. She was brave, tried to get the better of tough situations, was a very good person. I was disappointed that when she asked to join the Doctor and Clara he turned her down. I would love to see her again, but I doubt we will.
An ex-solider we very likely will be seeing again though is Danny Pink, a new teacher at the school Clara works in. It looks like he’s going to be Clara’s love interest this series. I don’t know if he will come aboard the TARDIS, but as he teaches Maths and Clara teaches English, what that make the Doctor the Science of that trio? I quite liked that Clara commented that in one day (though across time and space) she met a male soldier named Pink and a female soldier named Blue.
For the main plot it was predictable that the Dalek would revert back to its normal state of being a killer once it was repaired. Apparently it saw the light once it saw the birth of a star, so they try and regain its memory of that which brings it back round to the good side. I enjoy the Daleks as much as the next Doctor Who viewer, but I’m not interested in listening to them indulge in navel-gazing. Perhaps I’m in the minority. I didn’t much care for Dalek in series one either, and that’s generally seen as a good episode. Not that there isn’t action in this episode, there are plenty of lasers and explosions. Probably too much really. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many variations of the Fantastic Voyage plot, maybe I just find episodes which have long, long, long conversations to be tedious, maybe I’m such a jaded TV viewer I actually find that explosions can be a bit dull to watch if there are too much of them, but this episode just didn’t work for me.