Follow-up of the Somethings

13th April 2010 • Blog Post by Seb Patrick •

Right, apologies to anyone reading the RSS feed (as apparently WordPress’ “more” tags aren’t accounted for in it), but this is INTERESTING STUFF, and I’m doing my best to keep visual spoilers out, but this stuff happens. Anyway, following the pictures posted yesterday, production/concept designer Peter McKinstry has shown up on Gallifrey Base to face the barrage of “WTF??!!1″s and give a bit more explanation about the thought process behind the redesign. Obviously this will make more sense to read when we’ve actually seen them onscreen, but it’s nevertheless interesting enough that I’m going through and quoting some of his pertinent posts now.

Oh, and there’s a new picture, incidentally, which sheds a bit more light on the matter. Anyway, over to Peter:

as Ray Cusick mentioned on his set visit, all those bolts and rivets were very human. if i was going to take anyting on board from anyone, its going to be Ray. so all the surfaces are free from the manuifactered feel of the previous model, there arent any nuts or bolts, or screws for that matter. these are meant to appear completeley sealed, totally impenetrable.

This is actually a really good (if badly spelled) point – I’m a big fan of the new series design, but I’d never really considered the idea that all those nuts and bolts and whatnot are slightly at odds with what the ethos of Dalek design should be – it should be clean, smooth, metallic lines and futurey-alien-tech-looking. An exception would be the “Genesis”-style variant, but those things were built by human hands, so they still make sense. But any Dalek developed this far down the evolutionary line would clearly be the “completely sealed, totally impenetrable” creature described. GOOD POINT, MR CUSICK, BIG TICK.

the original intension was to have them all stainless steel.

Which again, backs that up – although I half wonder if it wasn’t Moffat that had a hand in going full-pelt towards Cushing-movie-style bright-coloured incongruity (having already done the same for the TARDIS exterior). There are also those already complaining about the cleanness of the things – but again, that’s only right and proper considering these babies are, we presume, “factory new”.

theyre very different and thats freaking people out. which id argue the daleks havent done in a long time. it would have been preferable for them to debut on screen to retain that impact, but this sort of thing is inevitable.

He’s right, you know. Bloody RT.

He’s also right, mind, that the fact that people are “freaking out” is probably a good thing. In fact, it’s thinking about that that’s made me a bit more excited about the redesign – elements of it still look “off” to me in photos, but as a big old Dalek fanboy, I can’t help but get a giddy thrill at the idea of such drastic change, and the fact that rather than “Oh no, not another boring Dalek story”, their names are on fans’ lips for all the right reasons. The 2005 redesign was remarkably brilliant, but also very “safe”. This is anything but.

as for wether i should have stayed closer to the original, the thing i was trying to do was tread quite a fine line between being faithful to the original and making something new exciting and more threatening.

listen its fine, i knew this would blow up. ive been saying in the art dept since last july when the design was locked, i was probably going to get lynched. as i said… im not ashamed, im very proud of the new daleks. theyre more powerful and intimidating on screen, and they positivley dwarf the bronze version.

I do hope he’s right that they look “powerful and intimidating”, though, as my main concern about the still RT photos is that they look a bit comical. But brightly-coloured Daleks that are also big and scary and powerful and awesome? Yeah, I can get behind that. And who else reckons the expanded midsection is to allow for non-CGI-assisted swivelling?

One thing’s for certain – I’m even more excited about “Victory…” than I was about “The Beast Below”, now…

Seb Patrick once met Paul McGann, who immediately pretended to be Mark McGann. He writes for Den of Geek, BBC America, Film4 and the official Red Dwarf website, among others. He owns over thirty toy Daleks and wishes the Dapol factory tour was still open.

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