Sunday, 24 March 2013

Doctor Who at 50: Cybermen vs Daleks

Last month, in my ongoing series of posts dedicated to celebrating Doctor Who in this its 50th anniversary year, I looked at the best of the lesser known monsters the Doctor has faced over the years. Now, it's the turn of two of the show's most iconic outputs that have struck fear into the hearts of Doctor Who viewers for half a century; the Daleks and the Cybermen. But which is better? There's only one way to find out...

The Daleks

Created by mad scientist Davros, the Daleks are mutants encased in tanks, with all emotions remove apart from one; hate. Their ultimate goal is to rid the universe of everything that isn't a Dalek, and they won't stop until they do...

Everyone knows the Daleks. Their idiosyncratic design, their staccato, grating voices have made the Dalek an icon of British culture, as synonymous in the public's image of the show as the TARDIS and the character of the Doctor himself.

However, the Daleks do have their drawbacks. Because of the viewers' familiarity with them over the years, it could be said they've lost their punch. Who boss-king himself Steven Moffat has said that, after fighting the Doctor '400 times', that the Daleks are 'the most defeatable enemies in the universe.'

As Moffat has also shown, though, after a drastic change to the Daleks' look (resulting in many fans complaining), the Daleks can be taken back to their roots, as in last year's 'Asylum of the Daleks', and  be made scary again. Surely the deadly Daleks, who have plagued the Doctor's life since the show's second ever serial, are better than the Time Lord's other great foe?

 The Cybermen 

Utterly emotionless, the Cybermen are us, but a version of us so dedicated to cheating human frailties that they have augmented themselves to the state that they are human no longer...
Definitely Doctor Who's second best-known monster, the Cybermen have the advantage over the Daleks in that they are far more malleable.

Whereas the Daleks have to stay virtually the same, it is a core feature of the Cybermen that they are re-imagined and redesigned constantly, which makes sense narratively as well as behind the scenes as they are always aim for 'maximum efficiency.'
On the other hand, the Cybermen are perhaps too similar to the Daleks to be superior. Certainly, there has been a trend in recent years, since their triumphant return in 2006, for the Cybermen to be window-dressing in several episodes rather than the stars, such as 'The Pandorica Opens' and 'Closing Time.'

As you are most probably aware, this will hopefully change this year as Neil Gaiman has written an episode prominently featuring the Cybermen for the upcoming series which he promises will scare us. In this, the (again redesigned) Cybermen may shirk off the role of background villain they have had for a while now and take centre stage.
But does that mean they are better than the Daleks?

Well, I can't decide which I think is the greatest so I am leaving the result in your good hands. Now you've read the article, please now have a vote on the poll below to have your say.If you're a Cyber-fan, go delete the competition! On the side of the Daleks? Don't let the other lot exterminate you!
Happy polling!

Who is the best Doctor Who monster?

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