The Blog of artist David "Draculasaurus" Burson. -
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Monday, September 27, 2010

The iDaleks

India ink on card stock

There has been a lot said on the subject of the new paradigm Daleks, a lot of it negative.
Their introductory story, "Victory" wasn't terrible, but it wasn't really firing on all eight cylinders either.
Many people have complained about the new design, but I think that they've been redesigned in a very clever way, from the inside out.
The Daleks have always had a huge problem from a story telling point of view, they're too hateful, too well armed, too numerous and too intelligent to lose against the Doctor.
Daleks are supposedly these super smart homogeneous hate machines with total intolerance for other living things, but you can't just have them glide into a room and exterminate everyone without some threats and dialog first. It's not a great way to tell a story.
The writers have always had to deal with this problem, had to concoct some reason or another why the Daleks aren't acting like their nature dictates that they should, exterminating first and asking questions later (if at all).
There are quite a few ways around this narrative problem, some of them brilliant, but they've pretty much all been done before in the long history of Doctor Who, and with repetition they'll seem more contrived every time.
Enter the iDalek-
Now instead of one race of identical killing machines, we have five distinct Dalek types; A Drone (red), a strategist (blue), a scientist (orange), a mysterious Eternal Dalek (yellow) and a Supreme Dalek (white).
I've heard plenty of people dismiss this as an artless attempt to sell more toys.
I really don't see it that way. It seems to me like it's literally a new paradigm, a whole new way of thinking about the Daleks.
Now for the first time they can have conflicting opinions and debates among themselves and realistically be unsure of which course of action to take, instead of constantly failing in the same way over and over again like a villain from the 60's Batman TV show.
Maybe the scientist Dalek is against exterminating the Doctor because he wants to question him about time travel, maybe the strategist Dalek is against exterminating the Doctor because he wants him to be free to rally their enemies and bring them out of hiding.
All of a sudden the Daleks can have differing opinions and therefore much more complicated goals and motivations, not to mention, dialog amongst themselves more in depth than "I Obey!"
If they sell a few extra toys, that's great too. From what I remember of playing as a child, it's a lot like story telling. Let's not forget Mr. Moffat's in the same line of work.


  1. If it were only about the toys they would have just kept the same drone structure just with 5 different new colours. Its not like there haven't been dozens of design variations over the years.

    By naming them (and I love the mystery of only 4 of them having obvious job title names) you can introduce all sorts of internal conflict, perhaps even a civil war (if by accident a second supreme dalek were created...)

  2. Yeah I agree. There's so many places they can go with stories now.
    It feels like a real fresh start!

  3. That's a really fresh and interesting take on it. The new Daleks are growing on me, certainly by the time of Pandorica I didn't even notice they were startlingly different. They're more like the movie Daleks which I love.

  4. What a load of tosh, the design is total crap your reasoning does not make the design any better. A bad design is a bad design, the reason the original worked in the first place is the shape balanced in all the right places these do not period.

  5. That's fair enough. I was really just commenting on the concept of having the Daleks "personalities" and motivations differ from one another, not on the visual re-design.
    So no, what I said isn't a load of tosh. -well, it may be, but not for the reasons you've mentioned. :)

  6. They are total crap which ever way you look at it, proportionally they do not work at any level period.

  7. I hate people that just dismiss an argument out of hand without any real reason or anything to back it up.

    The Daleks needed a massive overhaul, and they got one.
    I think the caste system is a refreshing change, and if handled by a decent writer, the Daleks could become the race they're made out to be. Just making them nameless, identical "space Nazis" doesn't always work. By introducing castes, there's potential for conflict, for subterfuge between groups of Daleks.

    The bold colour scheme feels to me like a natural progression: From the 20s-30s Art Deco styling of the RTD-Era Daleks to a bold, 60s- pop art style of the new Paradigm. And at least now we can tell who's speaking.

    The design of the Dalek is inherently flawed anyway, but hey, what can you do.