Warning: This review contains mild spoilers for the episode.
Doctor Who has one of the most creative fanbases around, with the show inspiring its loyal fans to write their own stories. One such example is Doctor Who Velocity, who recently released the third episode in their series.
Following on from the previous episodes, the story follows Krystal Moore’s Doctor, with the help of the Master, as she attempts to stop Davros from taking over Earth by trapping humans inside Dalek robots.
The Doctor saw the beginnings of Davros’ new plan to take over the Earth. By embedding Dalek technology into the everyday lives of humanity, he was able to convince them to upgrade their lives by going inside their own “safe-space” – a Dalek shell! Now, the Doctor will travel to Earth and witness first-hand exactly what Davros has planned for the human-race. She meets Kevin Apiary a tech-guru genius who has unwittingly become involved in Davros’ plan and soon begins to reconsider what he has got himself into. The Doctor also has The Master at her side, who is suffering from Dalek caused amnesia. Will he help her defeat Davros, or might he regain his memory and cause her even more problems?!
The idea is a clever commentary on our own obsession and reliance on technology. Hiding ourselves away in pods is a bit extreme, but this serves as a kind of caricature of real life.
The series features the show’s writer, Krystal Moore, as the Doctor. Moore has the Doctor’s quirks and style down to a tee. She’s instantly likeable, with a friendly charm and good humour, but also delivers some strong, inspiring little speeches. I also love her outfit, which is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping Thirteen would have worn.
Aiding Moore’s Doctor is Chance Fuerstinger, who puts in an interesting performance as a confused Master who doesn’t remember who he is until partway through this episode. It’s an interesting concept for a character with such history, to see another side of him as he helps the Doctor. When he eventually does remember who he is, he doesn’t really have the menace or evil aura of the Master.
Kevin is presented as a likeable fellow, who just happens to have made a bad decision in working with Davros. Paycen McGahey manages to make us feel sorry for this guy and plays the part very well. We’re also introduced to Kevin’s mother, who follows in a long line of memorable mother characters in Doctor Who. Her playing gleefully in the Dalek pod was a particularly fun moment.
The series looks fantastic. Professionally shot and well directed, it is way above the standard of general fan-made videos. As with previous episodes, the effects are quite spectacular. Although not perfect at times, they are still mightily impressive. The titles are especially cool, with a delightfully upbeat and modern sounding theme to boot.
The design of the Hive Dalek pod and branding is spot on – reminiscent of Apple’s simplistic style, giving it an eerie sense of familiarity. Presumably they stole some Time Lord technology to fit people inside them.
And with the Thirteenth Doctor’s new dark, claustrophobic TARDIS, it’s fun to see such a bright, minimal TARDIS in this series. In fact, chuck in a biscuit dispenser and I almost prefer it.
Velocity gives us a new take on the Daleks, with a design that stays true to the original but also spruces it up a little for a modern look. Sadly we don’t get the familiar screechy voice and they end up sounding a bit more like Cybermen. There are also the battle Daleks, who look great. It’s nice to see a radically different (but still familiar) design for this special class of Dalek. Oh, and see if you can spot the bronze Dalek cameo too!
Actor Scott Grady also gives us a unique version of Davros (or “Dav-rowse” as the Americans know him). While he doesn’t look like the Davros we know and love(?) his urban, hipster Davros still comes across as a good threat, with a slightly unnerving edge to him.
The reason why Velocity stands out for me is this: Doctor Who is quintessentially British, which can sometimes be hard to translate, but this fan-made series manages to capture the spirit of the show, with a good balance of drama, humour and ‘quirkiness’ that wouldn’t feel out of place in the show itself.
The series is a great alternative take on Doctor Who and I really hope we see more of this Doctor in some new adventures.
You can watch all the episodes, as well as behind the scenes features, on the Doctor Who Velocity YouTube channel here.