I’ve been watching the broadcast of the animated restoration of “The Power of the Daleks” on BBC America, and though it’s only been on for a couple of weeks, I wanted to go ahead and write down some of my thoughts on it.
The animation, while good, will never quite match the magic of seeing the actual actors–but that’s okay. What matters is that we have the story back for the first time in 50 years, and it’s a brilliant story that didn’t deserve to be wiped in the first place. After regenerating for the first time, the Doctor arrives on the planet Vulcan (no, not that Vulcan) and is mistaken for an examiner from Earth. A mysterious capsule has been unearthed on the planet, and the colonists think that the Doctor has arrived to examine it and give them permission to open it. Judging from the title, you can probably guess what’s inside.
I must admit, there was a certain magic in watching the first ever regeneration scene. It was very low-key, and the Doctor was nonchalant about the whole thing. He experienced some momentary confusion (not being able to remember where he left things, referring to himself in the third person), but nothing like what we’re used to seeing lately. I almost wonder if the reason this regeneration was so easy is that his body had simply reached the end of its natural life. Pretty much all of his subsequent regenerations were the result of some sort of trauma, which was probably severely disorienting. Come to think of it, that’s what happened to the War Doctor at the end of “The Day of the Doctor”–his body reached the end of its natural life and was renewing itself, and when we saw him again in “Rose”, it was obvious he had pretty much just finished regenerating (the scene in Rose’s apartment is the first time he sees himself in a mirror). Ben and Polly were confused as heck, which I imagine was the feeling of every single person watching the show, but they eventually came to accept the new Doctor–and so did the audience.
On the whole, I’m glad the powers-that-be decided to animate this story since the chances of it ever being found intact are very slim. I hope they do this for the other lost episodes. There are so many great stories from the First and Second Doctors that deserve to live again that it would be a shame if this was a one-time-only deal.