Take a 'Doctor Who' story from the eighties at random, no need to wait, I'll look one up for you:... 'Revelation of the Daleks', perfect example. You've met all the players here, the only surprises are the ghastly things they have planned for all the corpses... oh, dear, I've said too much. There were a lot of popular returning enemies. I had much better odds of picking one of the six with the Master in it, but my purpose was served. As an extra in such stories, you also had a pretty good chance that if you played guitar, a Cyberman would CRUSH YOUR SWEET HANDS!!!
You'd face impersonal evils: like a space station chock full of the incurably ill, or the reality TV of planet Varos where participants are tortured, or an urban tower fallen into ruin where running afoul of the gangs is probably the best thing that could happen to you.
Then again, you could face very personal evil indeed: like the chatty and ravenous Androgums who regard 'human' as just one more exotic meat to sample on holiday.
The Doctor weathered all of these, and more. Like the Eternals, bodiless ephemeral types on a boat race in space with human crews being left to explode or asphyxiate if they failed.
Or The Mara, of whom I have spoken, an un-killable evil that lives within the hearts of men, and/or is a big pink wobbly snake.
(No titters, ladies.)
You'd meet many a mad, mangled, and greedy cove in these tales.
Pity poor Mawdryn and his cohorts, having stolen the ability to regenerate and discovered to their sorrow that their open wounds never go away. Would it be so wrong to kill the Doctor if it means ending their own pain?
Hiss and boo at the slug sadist Sil (aka Jabba the Hutt's Mini-Me), representing the Galatron Mining Corporation of Thoros Beta, noshing on marsh minnows and chortling with glee as others suffer. His predecessors were the Usurians of the seventies, his antecedents the Slitheen of the noughties, or the Ferengi of some other show. We love to hate the greedy, and Sil excelled at that. Also, he was slimy, which I like in a monster.
Shiver at the third eye in the back of the head of a Tetrap. UNSIGHTLY!
Weep openly like a tiny child, drooling in fear at the Tractators, burrowing up from beneath the ground to take you away. Yes, they look like potato bugs and they can barely move, but they use human limbs and bits in their slave digging machines. Ugh. I don't mind telling you with all the build-up they got I was pretty damn scared of these things. EVEN looking as crap as they do.
Speaking of looking like crap. The Kandyman of Terra Alpha is mocked and dismissed in many magazines and online reviews I've read, but this guy STILL creeps me out. I mean, HOW CRAZY do you have to be to end up as a candy-coated cyborg who drowns people in syrup? That's setting a new standard for insanity as far as I'm concerned. Kandyman makes a Batman villain look like Fred Van Sane of Sanity Street, Lucidville. This guy INTENTIONALLY has GUMDROPS for FEET. I'm just saying.
Plodding out of the water, creeping out of the graveyard, the undead Haemovores travelled back in time from a future half a million years hence where the Earth is rotting in chemical slime. Inevitable, horrible, and the only thing that gives them pause is the strength of your beliefs. If any.
Maybe you believe in the pursuit of happiness, but suppose happiness was the only legal emotion? Helen A wanted her people to be happy, or at least they should always LOOK happy. On pain of death. Perhaps a slight exaggeration of then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Slightly. Helen's dog was a hand puppet Stygorax called Fifi. To my knowledge, Maggie T had no such puppet.
Maybe you believe in magic- but its mythical practitioners tend to be pretty amazingly off the rails! Morgaine La Fey of Arthurian legend tried to call down nuclear Armageddon on the Earthly domain of the Doctor (or as she had always known him: Merlin.) Jean Marsh rules the roost at evil bitch queens: you might remember her as Bavmorda from Willow. She must not be ALL bad- she married 3rd Doctor John Pertwee once!
Maybe you believe in science: but wait, that goes awry, too! The Time Lady known as the Rani is a renegade like the Master, but she has no vendettas to pursue. She simply seeks knowledge (and maybe a modicum of veneration) by any means necessary. Every episode she was in had abysmal writing. Just atrocious. Well, call it an acquired taste. But SHE was awesome. Haughty, brainy, deadly and ready to plant her laboratory boots on the face of lesser creatures in the pursuit of experimentation over the edge of acceptability.
Maybe you believe in your friends... but what if they're only hanging out with you in order to stick a knife in your back? Can you trust those closest to you? Your dear companions? (Tune in Thursday!)
Maybe you believe in yourself: but should you? There's a Time Lord known as the Valeyard who puts the Doctor on trial for his VERY LIVES. And even when he's spewing jaw-cracking lines like "There's nothing you can do to prevent the cathexis of spurious morality!" he comes across as a palpable threat. That's some hella acting when you're dressed like a baked potato.
BEST NEW VILLAIN: It's a tough call and I don't mind telling you I fretted over this, but I intend to adumbrate from epistopic interfaces of the spectrum and offer you the Valeyard. I cannot do him justice here, maybe no one can. Certainly Michael Jayston, the actor, is dead. But that rarely stops a Time Lord...