Genesis of Evil was the first story of The Dalek Chronicles (surprisingly enough) and charted the destruction of the original humanoid Dalek race and the rise to power of the Dalek war machines after a devastating nuclear catastrophe. Zolfian and Yarvelling are the last two surviving humanoid Daleks intent on seeing their species survive no matter what the terrible cost.
Below is a selection of images from our first version of this first story released in 2004...
Carl Woodleigh writes:
Just received this today and I didn't reckon it'd be that good. It didn't cost anything and I've seen other fan productions, so what could I expect really? Well, it blew me away. It's not as good as Duel of the Daleks but it really does tell the story well, and those 3D and 2D images and all the animations are so good that twenty or so minutes just flew by. I'll definitely be getting all the other Dalek Chronicles that you do and probably all the others too as you are very good at this sort of thing. I felt very sorry for Yarvelling and Zolfian by the end of the story!
Bryan McCormack writes:
This first story tells the original version of the creation of the Daleks in a completely different way to Robert Holmes. There ain’t no Davros here!
A spinning TARDIS that rushes towards you in the Altered Vistas title screen gives you a taste of what you’re in for. Stunning 3D animation and Hartnell Era Daleks in full motion, colour and sound. From the pseudo-Star Wars opening to the Mars, Bringer Of War type theme, your attention is well and truly grabbed right from the off.
The scene where we get our first sight of Ray Cusick`s finest hour is suitably dramatic. Perhaps the soundtrack at this point could have given a bit more emphasis, but it still works very well indeed. The only thing that may disappoint is the lack of facial animation for the blue-skinned humanoid Dalek characters. But this is a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent production.
Daniel Pegg writes:
It's hard to believe this cost me just the price of some stamps, a Jiffy bag and a CD. The quality is amazing, and the way it brings to life the comic strip is out of this world. A few more moving images of the humanoid Daleks would have been nice, but when things do move, it makes it all the better!
I love the theme music (based on Holst?), and the background sound is really good, and in stereo too! But what I really like in all of these is the attention to detail and the little Doctor Who in jokes. With some of them they're only on screen for a tiny moment, but a fast finger on the remote shows all sorts of funny things. Really good stuff and I can't wait to watch the next one.
Rick Brindell (Loose Cannon) writes:
Well now that I've picked myself up from the floor where I just spent the last 10 minutes laughing my ass off from the Christmas song, I can tell you I loved the production. It played well all the way through.
The story nicely tied up the history prior to the original story, The Daleks. The production was very good. I loved the voice of the Warlord (can't remember his name). It reminded me of Peter Miles, and we all know he played Nyder in Genesis. Almost the same evil personality too.
I would make a couple of changes as follows: The scrolling text (ala Star Wars) at the start of the production rolled by too fast so I could not read the entire passage. The other thing (which could be attributed to VCD format) is the red text during the credits was fairly indistinguishable.
Looking forward to the rest.
Stephen Page writes:
I've just watched the first instalment. I'm very impressed. The whole production is very stylish - I loved the first moving Dalek shots! The music works very well - is that you? And the Christmas song - a fantastic bonus! Love the pop video style.
Dave Trill writes:
Genesis of Evil resurrects the original creators of the Daleks. I always thought Davros was a second rate Mekon! The production is spellbinding. A great synergy of visuals and music. OK, so the guys don't move much, but that's to be expected. Never work with children or animals if you are an animator not looking for laughs. But the children of Yarvelling, ah yes they rock. Stuart sticks faithfully to the spirit of the TV21 strip. You can almost smell the old ink they used to use. Take a look at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thedalekchronicles and you can find scans of the original stuff.
I also acquired Duel of the Daleks which is a real treat and shows the potential of Stuart's 3D rendering/animation skills. That really is superb. Genesis worked for me as I well recall the original Jennings /Whittaker strip. To view this stuff in CGI we are privileged, and still a little petrified. Stuart includes the truly awful I want to spend Christmas with a Dalek song as a bonus. Worth a look to remind us that Daleks are only motorised dustbins really... aren't they? Eugh!
Andrew Diamond writes:
I was pleased to arrive home on Thursday to find the DVDs had arrived. I've only watched Episode One so far but I have to say I think you've done a great job. The use of the original artwork in the titles really grounded your project and gave it just the right atmosphere, the music too was impressive. The voice acting frankly suprised me in its high quality. The images themselves are great, they really evoke the full-on "Daleks! In Colour!!!" feel of the strip, with the use of texture and strong colour palate.
The moving scenes like the establishing shots and of course the first sight of a 'live' Dalek machine ran as smoothly as a videogame cutscene, leaving me pining for a fully animated version. If one could look as good as those scenes it could rival many Saturday morning CGI 'toons on TV!
So thanks so much for The Dalek Chronicles. Apart from some reprints in an odd number of DW Magazine I've seen very little of the original strip, to have this is great. Thanks for doing it so promptly too. My name will be down for Episode 5. Well done!
Paul Twamley writes:
I have just played the first disc of the Dalek Chronicles and was very impressed, the accuracy of the Daleks is fantastic and the story very much true to the original TV21 (which I am old enough to remember). I cant wait to see the other discs.
Well done to all involved!
Steve Grace writes:
CDs arrived back today with thanks - only had a chance to watch the first 10 minutes, but I am awe-struck already - a totally professional presentation and first class thanks are due to you - I'm very jealous that I don't have the skills to produce something like this - will send more feedback in a few weeks' time when I've had a chance to watch all properly, in the meantime you should be very proud of your work!
David John Barker writes:
The insertion of real images of atomic testing to illustrate Skaros devastation worked well and fitted into the animation without trouble. The extra conversation between the main characters helped their characterisation as in the comic they seem rather more 2-D (please excuse the pun).
The voices were all very good and fairly distinct, especially the dalek mutants. Overall this episode was like a well produced audio drama with the benefit of illustrations and some simple animations to increase the immersive experience. One criticism is the speed at which the introductory writing goes by, but I see that has been corrected in episode 2.
Also the bonus feature was an interesting diversion, your altered captions almost redeemed the song.
Prog.1: Genesis of Evil (19:16)
2: Christmas Surprise <bonus> ((3:19)
Prog.2 review : "Xmas Will Be Tragic Again" (apologies to Kate Bush)
Actually it ain't all that "terrible" (as Stuart's prologue warns – although for a Dalek song it was certainly the opposite of 'terrifying'), in fact it's hilarious, and I can quite understand its popularity in its time. Rather than being a serious contribution to Dalekmania 'twas more of an exploitative spoof – and a successful one at that. But with the added animation* to enliven its silly lyrics this number is transformed from "terrible" to Wonderful! [* plus some witty Subtext translations of "Merry Christmas" – obviously one of those englishlanguage phrases that just-happen-to-sound-like several other statements in Dalekese!!!]
If this opinion causes you any concern about my sense of taste, I can confirm your worst fears by recommending the 'Pop Idol' version of 'Nazi Punks F-Off' at: www.rathergood.com/popidol/
Prog.1 review : "Nemesis of E-Ville"
(SoundFX-note) the opening 'TV CENTURY 21' logo sequence has a bellchime-like AudioEffect that sounds very much like an audio experiment a SoundArtist friend (Alan Lamb) did by recording the sounds of a Chinese 'Bell-Ball' at high speed then playing back at normal and slower speeds to hear the deeper harmonics of the little chimes inside. Sounded like a museum-ful of Carillons collapsing in an earthquake, at most active rolling, and like the distant donging of multiple Big Bens at gentlest – very like the b/g for that logo bit.
Let us now abate the animator's ego a little and start with a criticism (miniscule): re the opening 'Star Wars'Tilted-text which moves past just that little bit too fast to comfortably absorb the last 4-line block of text before having to attend to the onset of the show. I do understand however the subjective difficulty of trying not to be unnecessarily slow, too, but it's easy to be misled by one's own familiarity with such text (just like the nicely animated location titles that don't stay up quite long enough to get one's imagination around before they're disappearing that bit too soon to be ready to focus on the location itself) and thus failing to allow for the viewer's unfamiliarity and inevitably slower uptake. (I'd also like to suggest that it might have been a nice touch to stand each block of lines upright as they recede, making them easier to read whilst being slightly less 'imitative').
In contrast to the above quibble(s), Episode One starts with a neato graphic of Skaro with a strangely contrarotating globe and atmospheric (cloud) envelope. It immediately occurred to me, though, that a cool addition (or <bonus> version of same) would be a 'MapSchematic' overlay-text listing the classic features and sites on the globe and the story locations.
And yet more blows are struck against the production-values by commenting on a tendency to over-animate some things (like the 'melting moment'/movement of the "Proto-9" in Ep.4 and that other 'meltdown' of the Bendy Tube on the just-released Ep.6) in this case Yarvelling's 'levithrone' which moves about too much and should be seen settling down before the next scene where suddenly it's still.
Suddenly another compliment induces "critical whiplash" as I highlight Stuart's phenomenal Additional Scripting which shows a keen sense of comic book-dialogue appropriate to the extensive expansion of scenes that retain all the original speech balloon-content (plus vocalized interpolations of useful bits of the narrative-textboxes) from the original pages – which, by the way, represents the achievement of turning the 3-page / 8,9&10-panel original strips into 20 minutes of on-screen entertainment (well, minus titles & credits).
The Chronicles' Dalek-machines are beautifully depicted as accurate versions (pop-rivets and all) of the 'pre-slats' model of the original TV Daleks (unlike the initially odd-looking renderings of the first TV21 story which were improved – save for the Title Panel – for the second).
The Dalek Production line sequence is interesting for showing the 'skirt'section minus the 'shoulder'assembly, but with the 'rings' sited directly on top of the skirt! One can either take this as an error or decide that it represents some of the internal framestructure similar to the rings which are possibly a continuation of this framework once the shoulders are mounted (?). Note that this feature/flaw originates with the comic.
Once the first Dalek "war machine" gets into motion we see how perfectly Stuart captures the style and mannerisms of classic Dalek movement(s).
It is important to note that this is an exceptional First Effort with more successes and fewer flaws than would be readily accepted in a Fan Production generally, and that the problem of animating human(oid) characters, whilst awkward at the start, quickly gets better as the viewer becomes conditioned-to/accepting-of the given production style as well as the animator developing the technique through practice and experiment along the way. (It is enjoyable to observe the developmental arc throughout the series, particularly if viewed in sequence-of-production rather than episode order.)
Even if this project had not improved significantly throughout the series I would still be happy to have them and this opening work is quite delightful enough in its own right, packed with great visuals, sound and performances. I reckon Stuart and his voice-production team would be able to create top quality original audios as well, any time they felt like taking a crack at it!
Steve Swales writes:
An important one of course, since here is the elaboration of the original myth surrounding the creation of the daleks as cyborgs – no Davros in this Genesis!
Attention to detail is evident from the first few frames – even the zoom to Skaro has the planet's continent mapped correctly to the obscure 1960s references.
Warload Zolfian's voice is superbly camp in that Dr. Evil 1960s style but Stuart resists the post-modernist temptation of camping the whole thing up. When the dalek cyborgs finally show up as the new order, they are still genuinely chilling, the intonations being faithful to the Hartnell-era characterisations, slow and very metallic.
With the first motion footage of the golden emperor on view, watching this I got the feeling of a childhood dream coming true at last, and with more to come..
Extra: I'm gonna Spend My Xmas with a Dalek: I'd heard this song before but this is the first time it really made me laugh out loud, something to do with those subtle nuances of dalek yuletide greetings being translated for us at last!
Nick Mellish writes:
When I first heard about the fan-made animations of The Dalek Chronicles, I must confess that I was a tad sceptical. How, I asked, could anyone reasonably adapt such short stories into a coherent piece of animation? A quick browse around on the Altered Vistas website revealed that they had in fact been carefully adapted for the screen, as it were, and so I decided to see what I made of them; I sent off some blank CDs and but days later a bundle of VCDs had made there merry way to yours truly. The man responsible for adapting the comic scripts, animating them, directing them and even providing the occasional voice too is named Stuart Palmer, and I must say that I have been blown away by his efforts and am thinking of setting up a shrine full of Golden casings and eyestalks.
The first story from The Dalek Chronicles is Genesis Of Evil, which is, in my opinion, one of the weaker stories. The plot is as follows: Zolfian - a nasty piece of work - is acting characteristically nasty and plots are being hatched to destroy the Thal race once and for all. However, a short Nuclear Blast later makes things appear less than rosy and after two years of hiding, Zolfian and Yarvelling, the two remaining members of the Dalek race, leave their shelter and search for other survivors. Something has survived - in a metallic casing, designed long ago by Yarvelling himself, the Daleks live on…. The story always struck me as a bit too slow paced, with more exposition than is really necessary. With this in mind then, I am surprised at how much I enjoyed the animation.
It begins with a nice pre-titles teaser that sets up the feel of the story well, and the title sequence itself is very good, evoking a sense of excitement that the episode goes on to match.
The first thing to really hit me was just how good the incidental music was, composed by Empire 639 a.k.a. Stuart Palmer himself. Along with the production as a whole, it has a really strong sense of professionalism about it - this is no half-hearted attempt to emulate the genius of the comic strips; this is an adaptation which has quite clearly been a labour of love, and one that I shall be eternally grateful was undertaken.
The voice artists throughout the Episode are superb and again give it a real professional feel; Terry O'Keefe as Yarvelling particularly stood out for me as very good. The Dalek voices too are good, though not as modulated as perhaps I am used to, but this is not a point of criticism, merely one of personal taste, and to my ears they were perfectly acceptable despite my preferences!
The animation is very nice, and really helps to bring the comic strip to life. When I first discovered The Dalek Chronicles in dog-eared issues of 'Doctor Who: Classic Comics', they played out in my mind pretty much identical to how they are represented on screen. I think that my favourite aspect of the Episode was the montage of explosions representing the Nuclear Blasts, which I felt was very reminiscent of sixties Dalek stories.
The whole Episode is topped off by an amusing VCD extra in the form of a Christmas surprise. I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise, but I will freely tell you that it has quickly ascended up my list of favourite 'Doctor Who' extra features in any format and it made me laugh. A lot.
My one criticism of the whole production is that the animation is at times very static, and this can be off putting. One scene that jars a bit involves a Dalek casing production line. One moment it is moving along nicely, the next moment it is still as dialogue begins. However, this is not bad enough to diminish my overall enjoyment and so - as criticisms go - this is relatively tiny.
I really cannot praise The Dalek Chronicles series enough. As beginnings go, this really does stand proud. Genesis Of Evil is a high-quality production that has made my opinion of the source material (i.e. the original comic strip) heighten. The voice artists are all of the highest calibre, and the incidental music is perfectly matched to the overall feel of the piece. In short, if you enjoyed the comics, then you'll love the animations.
John Black writes:
Thanks for sending the discs back so soon, I have had a quick look at disc one and I am very impressed. I have always preferred the TV21 Dalek origin story (since it was such a vital element of that wonderful magazine) - to the Davros version and it is a pleasure to see those stories brought to life. Must go; have to get back to Skaro! Your effort and generosity are greatly appreciated.
Chris Longhurst writes:
Just watched Genesis of Evil - great fun. Although a long time Who fan (from the 1st episode back in 1963 !) I have never 'encountered' the TV comic Daleks before so I come to them 'fresh' as CGI stories. Very nice clean construction with great audio - both vocals and music. No doubt the 'fans' who are obsessed with canon would be horrified at the deviations from the original TV (and Big Finish audios) - but the 1st chronicle worked for me!
Paul Houghton writes:
Thanks so much for doing all 9 CD's in such quick time. Watched the first one Genesis last night with my young son as a warm up before watching an episode of the new series. What can I say - absolutely brilliant!! We were glued to the TV set for the full 20 minutes. You have totally brought to life the comic strip!
The music and sound effects are superb and make it so exciting, especially the climax where the Emperor gets his new casing - the hairs on the back of my neck stuck right up!!! I felt like I was 10 years old again!!!( I'm 41). Can't wait to watch the rest. I have a Doctor Who night every Sunday evening with my family (including my long suffering wife), where we watch an episode of the new series - The Dalek Chronicles are going to be a great addition to the schedule!!
Thanks so much and keep up the good work.
Dave Platt writes:
Watched AVO1 last night and thought it was brilliant. I thought the graphics were superb (lots better than I imagined they would be!) and the Dalek voices were awesome, better than the real thing !!
The Dalek song was garbage (defo not a no.1 chance !!!). Keep up the good work. The downside for you is that I would obviously like to get copies of all your other productions! Thanks again for the CD.
Scott (AKA undercoverfanboy) writes:
Well I must say that I liked the openers. Lovely graphics followed by those Star Wars type opening titles. OK, I am a sucker already. The soundtrack has really nice a touch of Holst added to give just the right hint of menace.
The opening montage of stills is really great and I must say is a good way of setting the vibe for the rest of the program. I like this animation as it is very much in keeping with the feel of the comics. I really like the feeling that it is basically like reading the comic but with sounds and so on.
The Nuclear blast montage is really good and is all a bit The Day After – the use of silence and fades over stock footage. Excellent stuff. Then the first arrival of the ‘war machine’ is really gripping. I also like the older style of annunciation from the Dalek but not all the way. I like the older style but not the original TV version where you sit and think ‘wow by the time you get this plan of the Daleks out the episode will be over!’ Then again I also am one of those crazies who really liked the 10th Planet Cyber voices! lol
The arrival of the Emperor is just magic – seen blearily through the eyes of a dying creator … bloody brilliant stuff . The Emperor’s words are law!
I'm Gonna Spend my Christmas with a Daleks
OK, now there is also the Go Go’s I'm gonna spend my Christmas with a Dalek… oho how good is this? I have had this one on MP3 for years and have always loved its ‘dread horror crap’ rating. It is awesome to behold.
It is almost as bad as one from years ago: Dr Who is Gonna Fix It... was it by Bullamakanka? *Shrugs* Now the TV film clip for that was sterling stuff... dreadful folk music bushy styled types and a poor Dalek made out of old cardboard boxes ... not even as good as the crazy Dalek in Apocalypso by Mental as Anything!
Again ... fabulous stuff ... Die Earthling Scum ... tee hee
David Banner writes:
First of all I have to say that I was never a fan of the Daleks (heresy I know) and also never a fan of the TV21 comic strip. So this gets me off to a great start, so why did I bother with a Dalek film, well I was impressed by Stuart’s work with Loose Cannon and saw the trailer for Eve of the War which I thought was really good. So I decided to start at the beginning with the reasoning that the first ones are always rubbish and quality builds after that, there always seems to be a steep learning curve for these kinds of things and Eve of the War did look rather good.
So bunging in episode one into the dvd late one night I didn’t know what to expect (especially having stayed a long way away from “fan” films…shudder) and I was surprised. The beginning with Holst’s Mars accompanied with shots of the actual comic was really good, it was fast and tightly edited and using the camera to move over the still images gave it a sense of movement and action. So far so good. Then the film started…
And it wasn’t too bad for a first go. After the fast intro the film did seem a little slow but that is the story’s fault having to introduce so many things in a short space of time, let’s not forget that the source material is forty years old. The vocal work was very good, that did surprise me. I had thought the vocal track would be a little school playish, but everyone seemed to take it seriously. I was impressed with some of the background layouts, obviously a lot of thought and time went into it and it tells.
I am a strong believer in getting the small things right, most of the time they are not noticed but they add to the believability of the piece and when some small piece is wrong it really stands out and destroys what the film maker is trying to say. The animation was a good quality especially for a first film. It was blocky in places but computer images can be, and the humanoid movement was slow, and I mean slow. The Daleks by comparison moved very fluidly, you could believe that they can go at 30 mph down your road.
But, I did think that there was going to be lip synch and it did put me off a bit that there wasn’t. I found that to be quite jarring. I had to get into the mindset that I was watching a recon rather then expecting a film. I think that is the best way to approach viewing episode one, to think of it as a recon of a missing episode of the Daleks spin off series.
So all in all a good start, not as bad as I feared it was going to be, a little rough but quite watchable. I certainly shall get episode two and look forward to seeing improvements in future, and perhaps one day going from a recon approach to a full film.
Tim Balchin writes:
Enjoyed the start of the dalek chronical season very much.
The stills worked well and did not distract from our enjoyment of the episode.
I and my two sons, seven and three, were very entertained, budget is not everything.
Gordon Bathgate writes:
I've watched every one of your releases but I haven't sent any reviews until now. I decided to watch the series from the beginning again and let you know my thoughts.
With regards to Genesis of Evil, the whole production is very stylish and stays faithful to the original TV21 strips. The music and sound effects are wonderful. The only minor criticism I had was the lack of facial animation in the characters. However the animated scenes are magnificent and I know your production techniques improve vastly in subsequent releases.
It's obvious that this series is a labour of love for you. All in all this first story hooked me and I had to get the rest. Keep up the good work.
Matthew Kresal writes:
Having seen Children of the Revolution, Curse of the Daleks and Invasion From Space I was curious enough to go back to Altered Vistas' very first production. While it is not as advanced as the more recent ones of course it is still a fine production in its own right. In fact Genesis of Evil contains all the hallmarks that would mark the productions that were to follow.
The voice work and music in this story sets the standard for the productions to come. From Stuart Palmer's amazing Dalek voices to Paul St. Marter to Terry O'Keefe there is good voice work throughout. The music is also good from the Holst-inspired Dalek Chronicles's theme onwards you can tell you are beginning on an epic story. From the work on Genesis of Evil alone you can see all the potential that Altered Vistas has brought forth in its productions.
Then there's the animation. While the animation is not as advanced as it has become in the more recent releases it still does what it sets out to do: tell a good story. There are several highly memorable sequences from this story: the first appearance of the Daleks (in their famous pepper pot form), the truly well done explosion of the neutron bomb (nice combination of stock footage and animation that got the point across without being gory), and the final scene with the unveiling of the Emperor amongst others. Once again the standard has been set for the productions to come!
I won't even begin to mention the "special feature" on this release. I don't think terrible begins to describe it properly. Cringe-worthy and embracing are more like it. All I can say is consider yourself to be warned.
Genesis of Evil is the first Altered Vistas production and a very good one at that. From the voice work and music to the animation, here is a good start to some of the best pieces of Doctor Who fan media on the net. Well done everyone on creating not only a terrific piece of entertainment but the standard to measure all future productions by.