One of the final storylines for Third Doctor Jon Pertwee brings back the Doctor's great nemesis, the Daleks. In Doctor Who's "Death to the Daleks" our hero as well as companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) find themselves on the planet Exxilon, fighting the mysterious unknown… and Daleks. Written by Terry Nation, the story is something of a departure for Dalek tales in that the humans (and the Gallifreyan at the show's heart), at least temporarily, have to partner with the metallic monsters.
Although this may seem wholly impossible, at the beginning of the story, the TARDIS actually breaks down, sending the Doctor and Sarah Jane somewhere completely unintended. And, even more shockingly, something bad is happening at this location. Yes, okay, it's a terribly, horribly, ridiculously typical Doctor Who set up and eventually one begins to wonder why the Doctor didn't steal a more stable TARDIS. However, the way it initiates aside, "Death to the Daleks" proves a rather good Whovian experience.
The planet Exxilon, or something on it, for some unknown reason has sapped the power of all electronic devices (Daleks still work because they're powered by the thoughts of the creatures inside). There is also a terribly scary group of locals present who kidnap Sarah Jane and it is up to the Doctor and a bunch of astronauts to get her back and unravel the mystery. Plus, you know, Daleks.
Actually, while the story works, the Daleks seem almost an afterthought to it – this isn't their brilliant plan, they show up and find themselves without their evil death ray (because that is powered in a more conventional way), and have to team up with the Doctor to get to the bottom of it all. It is an alliance which, surprise surprise, is incredibly uneasy and ready to end at the drop of a hat.
It isn't that I'm against Daleks showing up just for the sake of having Daleks, it just feels as though they could have been made slightly more integral than they are. It is clear from the beginning that the alliance will never hold up (the Daleks even reequip themselves with regular old guns shortly after discovering that their death rays don't work) and that basic fact makes the entire thing that much more odd. The only thing that really makes the story different from any number of Doctor Who stories is this alliance aspect, something which is immediately undercut once it begins.
Okay, so that's why it's bad, but on the whole, it's actually a fun little adventure. It isn't just that Daleks chasing the Doctor is never really bad, it is (at least in part) that there is some comfort and familiarity to it, from the Doctor's having to solve puzzles to make his way through a maze to the little moments like Sarah Jane making sure that the Doctor won't disappear when she ducks back into the TARDIS only to have him disappear as soon as she does so.