This week’s list might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m going to do my best to expand your mind a little bit.
You seen, for me, nothing is as wonderful as a series – be it books, television, or films – where characters and storylines and plots are deep, vast and engaging. One such series that manages to pull this off (and has done so for many years) is the British television series Doctor Who.
I won’t bore you with many details on the series – only just repeat my recommendation that you watch it and give it a legitimate try (it’s on NetFlix, people). But, as science-fiction series go, Doctor Who is the standard to which all others hope to copy and never, ever achieve. Sure, you occasionally get your “Eureka” and “Warehouse 13”… but as good as those are, they will never capture the heights that Doctor Who has.
So, since I have been promising a Doctor Who-themed post for a while, today’s list will be the Top 10 Greatest Dr. Who Villains/Monsters.
The list was created by listing, what I felt, are the greatest on merits such as significance to the overall Doctor Who universe; how many times they have reappeared; did something truly important happen to the Doctor in an encounter against them; and other factors as simple as “Do I think they’re cool?”
Summary: Made up of a futuristic material called “The Flesh,” these creatures started out as life-life doubles (doppelganger, hence the name) of mine workers in an acid filled place – but a freak electrical storm gave the Gangers “life.”
Notable episodes: The concept of The Flesh originated in the episodes “The Rebel Flesh” and “The Almost People,” but other “gangers” played important roles in the story of the 11th Doctor.
My Thoughts: The whole concept of the Gangers was very creative and, of course, when things went wrong they provided excellent suspense for viewers. Despite the hostile intentions they had towards the humans, you still understood the villains’ fears and anger as they all truly possessed the thoughts, emotions and desires of a person, and were able to learn and become their own individual. The later use of the flesh-made copies also provided great twists in major points… I just hope they don’t keep relying on it the rest of the series.
9) The Silurians
Summary: A humanoid species that was on earth before mankind, the lizard-like creatures hid underground and hibernated for centuries until a drilling project went deep enough to be seen as an attack on the Siluarians’ home and an act of war. However, they were originally a foe in the 1970s (with three eyes and being bigger), but their return in the 11th Doctor’s story arc are more human-like.
My Thoughts: As a species, they have been given a good amount of development in the newer episodes, with a look at their culture and sense of war and honor truly adding a sophistication that is enjoyable. There is something deadly, yet beautiful about them.
8) The Sontaran
7) The Headless Monks
Summary: A mysterious group/cult, there is very little known about them overall, save for their appearance in “A Good Man Goes to War” against the 11th Doctor. They were big, dark robes/cloaks with hoods that give the impression of them still having a head – but when that hood is pulled back, there actually is no head. They battle with broadswords that seem to glow with energy (not unlike a lightsaber) and can shoot lightning while in battle.
Notable Episodes: “A Good Man Goes to War”
My Thoughts: I don’t think we have seen the last of the Headless Monks in Doctor Who, although a lot needs to be done to make them as interesting as they have been hyped up to be. Their alliance with The Silence in order to help capture/kill/whatever The Doctor shows that the culture has a vast reach. Their position at #7 really has to do with my suspicions that they’re going to major players against the 11th Doctor.
Summary: A fictional race of cyborgs who are amongst the most persistent enemies of the Doctor. Cybermen were originally a wholly organic species of humanoids originating on Earth's twin planet Mondas that began to implant more and more artificial parts into their bodies as a means of self-preservation. This led to the race becoming coldly logical and calculating, with every emotion all but deleted from their minds. (thank you, Wikipedia)
Notable Episodes: Their first appearance was in 1965 in “The Tenth Planet,” but they have had countless encounters with The Doctor, the most memorable probably being the two-episode story that saw the fan-favorite companion, Rose Tyler, being lost to an alternate dimension (“Army of Ghosts” and “Doomsday”) – something that no other alien enemy of the Doctor can claim.
My Thoughts: For a while, the Cybermen were just as efficiently lethal as even the Daleks, but in recent stories, they have become more of a convenient enemy for Doctor Who writers and are almost comical villains at this point. But – their history and affect on The Doctor over the years is something to be respected.
5) The Silence
My Thoughts: If you want a creepy alien bad guy, the Silence is a damn good place to start. Their powers (after you see one, you immediately forget, yet they can influence your actions via subliminal thought) make them extra menacing. As of yet, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of them.
4) The Dream Lord
Summary: The embodiment of all the negative and dark thoughts, emotions and impulses of the Doctor himself, the Dream Lord only appeared in one episode but was menacing and powerful enough to make the Doctor powerless. As opposed to the tall, handsome appearance of the 11th Doctor, the Dream Lord is short, plain looking and genuinely unpleasant and malicious – showing enjoyment from playing with the emotions and minds of the Doctor, Amy and Rory.
Notable Episode: His only appearance is “Amy’s Choice” … which probably makes that Karen’s favorite Doctor Who episode of all time since she has said that Dream Lord is her favorite villain. (and yes, that helped his rating on the list)
My Thoughts: As a stand-alone episode, it’s one of the best that I have ever seen. The Dream Lord’s motives are incredibly sinister and the Doctor’s inability to stop him makes him an impressive threat. He is totally unlikable and truly attacks the heroes as the personification of dark thoughts and self-loathing would – without remorse and with sick pleasure.
3) The Master
Summary: A long-time archenemy of the Doctor dating back to 1971 (“Terror of the Autons”), he is a renegade Time Lord that was meant to be the ultimate frontline soldier in the Time Lord’s war against the Daleks. However, thinking the Daleks would win, the Master fled to the farthest reaches of the universe and hid his Time Lord essence – forgetting who he truly was and becoming biologically human. When he regained his Time Lord essense, he immediately stole the TARDIS and took over the world… twice.
Notable Episodes: “Terror of the Autons” was his first appearance and he had numerous run-ins with the 5th Doctor, but his return to the modern series starts in “Utopia.”
My Thoughts: A perfect match, as archenemies go, the Master is just as brilliant as the Doctor, yet uses his talents for evil gains. But as he does so, he delivers excellent one-liners and has a flair that is enjoyable to watch. In the end, his character redeemed himself and got some revenge for the hell his life had been in an epic final battle that saved the universe. However, it needs to be noted that the Master I am familiar with is only the most-recent and that I haven't spent much time watching the classic version.
2) The Weeping Angels
Summary: Also known as “The Lonely Assassins,” the Weeping Angels are a dangerous race of aliens that feed by stalking prey and removing them from their current time (sending them back in history) and feeding on the energy that occurs when it happens. The interesting aspect of the creatures is that they are a fast, silent predator – but if another sentient being observes them, they become quantum locked and take the form of a stone statue. The Doctor describes them as "the deadliest, most powerful, most malevolent lifeform evolution has ever produced."
Notable Episodes: The species made its debut in the 10th Doctor episode, “Blink,” which is, admittedly, probably my favorite Doctor Who episode of all. They appeared again in “The Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone” in a two-part arc.
My Thoughts: For me, the Weeping Angels are great! The thought that you can’t take your eyes off them or they will rip you from your own time and send you back into the past is as scary as a non-lethal “death” can get and, truly, their first appearance was one of the greatest Doctor Who episodes to ever be written. Even watching the show, if I try to not blink when the angels are on the screen – keeping my eyes open suddenly becomes the hardest thing to do, ever! Also, they have shown to inspire a lot of fear and respect from the Doctor himself - yet they have had so few appearances in the show... that speaks volumes.
1) The Daleks
Summary: An alien race that were “created” after having to look to science (and a mad scientist) in order to keep themselves from losing a war, the Daleks live inside their tank-like cyborg shells. Various storylines portray them as having had every emotion removed except hate, leaving them with a desire to purge the Universe of all non-Dalek life. Collectively they are seen as the greatest enemies of the Doctor.
Notable Episodes: Too many to list here.
My Thoughts: While strange looking and having a straight-forward mindset, the Daleks still manage to surprise and challenge the Doctor with every encounter. For me, the best encounters between the Daleks and the Doctor were during the 10th Doctor’s episodes, which even included an episode where a Dalek sought to advance the species by creating a human-dalek hybrid (this Dalek being one of the only to ever seek out the Doctor’s assistance and have a noble goal). Recently, newer aliens and threats have enabled writers to give the Daleks a rest, but the threat of them is always enough to add tension to a Doctor Who episode.
So, what do you think? Did I miss anyone or any species completely? Is someone too low on the list (or too high)? Let me know your thoughts and I’ll try to respond to each one.