frankenstein’s monster just lifted up and threw down a dalek
why hasn’t that happened in the reboot series
martha totally could have kicked one over onto its side
This is kind of the problem with the Daleks, though, isn’t it? They just aren’t very inherently threatening. They’re made of metal and they have guns and they want to kill you. That’s it. You can still blow them up or hit them with things or push them off cliffs or whatever. Or at least run away from them, because they move really slowly.
I get why the Doctor finds them especially scary: he knows that there are zillions of them and they’ll never stop, and most of all it’s impossible to sympathize with them, which is his main way of dealing with everything and everyone (except his companions). But the actual nature of their scariness isn’t well suited to the way Doctor Who works as a television programme.
Individually, they aren’t a threat that the viewer can take seriously. In a massed attack they’re a serious threat but also unstoppable. To be a convincing threat that the Doctor can still ultimately defeat, there has to be an imminent danger that they will attack in overwhelming numbers, but that attack has to be contingent on some sort of complicated plan that the Doctor and his companion(s) can personally thwart.
And there’s no problem with that in itself: obviously writers can and do come up with such scenarios. The problem is that there’s no reason why the aliens in those scenarios should be Daleks. Any plot that goes ‘quickly we must do XYZ or else a huge unstoppable army of Daleks will attack’ would work equally well if you replaced the Daleks with any other aliens, because there is nothing that an army of oversized salt-shakers with guns can do that an army of Cybermen, Sontarans, Judoon, Sycorax, Ice Warriors, or even Adipose couldn’t do. And, unlike the Daleks, they would probably do it in a more interesting way than ‘trundle towards you while shooting’ and for a more interesting purpose than ‘we are evil and want to kill everything’.
I sort of wish they’d just forget about the Daleks for at least a few series. New Who has had some great monsters of the week but it’s been pretty lousy on creating good re-usable alien cultures, especially threatening ones. Moffat tried to re-use the Weeping Angels and it just made them rubbish. I suppose the Silence could work if they were brought back at some point, but their shtick is so unusual and specific that they aren’t eminently re-usable. But otherwise, it’s been, what the Judoon? And… I actually can’t think of any others. Someone needs to get working on that.
Then we can stop bringing the Daleks back, and after a few years someone can ask the Doctor what happened to them and he can say ‘Oh, they’re all gone now, Martha kicked them into a big hole’.