Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Most Terrible Things... They Must Be Fought

What good is the Doctor without his many foes?

Plenty, I'm sure, but there wouldn't be as many wet beds or couches with shrieking rugrats behind them if not for THE MONSTERS.

Even though stodgy Canadian co-creator Sidney Newman hoped 'Doctor Who' would be educational and historical, without any bug-eyed monsters, B.E.M.s appeared in the second story ever and never let go. The sixties saw the genesis of gelatinous and unpleasant critters of unspeakable horror in droves, many of whom still slither their way across our screens today.

Most notably, the Daleks. Brainchild (among others) of Terry Nation, these 'living, bubbling, lumps of hate' sealed from birth to death in cylindrical tanks wreck havoc on the galaxies and warp children's minds. The ultimate fascist icon, the denizens of planet Skaro despise all other life and shriek 'Exterminate!' while brandishing what appears to be (but isn't) an egg whisk and a toilet plunger.

Runner-up in the baddie department are the Cybermen. As 2010 showrunner Steven Moffat eloquently described them: they're Daleks with legs.By my count (and I GUARAN-DAMN-TEE you I'm wrong but too lazy to count again) the Daleks top the sixties story count at 6 (including the first appearance of their Emperor). The Cybermen (and their scurrying deadly Cybermats) appear in 5 stories. The reptilian Ice Warriors of Mars and the rotund robotic Yeti appear twice each.

The Doctor and his traveling companions are menaced by alien weirdies like the Sensorites (seen here), Menoptra, Zarbi, Dominators, Faceless Shapeshifters, and Monoids.
They flee metallic nasties with a grudge such as the Mechanoids (read: clunking Christmas tree decorations), War Machines (not Jim Rhodes), Quarks (not the guy from Deep Space Nine), and Krotons (no, not CROUTONS).
They dodge horrendous mutations like clams and crabs and seaweed. Kind of a nautical theme, I guess. Easy to make out of plastic bags? Unlikely.

They narrowly avoid heavy metaphysical hitters like the Mind Robber and the Celestial Toymaker (bending reality to their mental whim before 'The Squire of Gothos' or 'Q' made the scene.

The Doctor even had two run-ins with members of his own mysterious race of time-travelers: 
The Meddling Monk (left) and The War-Chief (below). With the first profiteering from primitive humans and the second forcing captured humans to fight like bugs in jars in his Death Zones for fun and profit, it was clear that the Doctor might be the best of a bad lot!

Then again, the winner of the 1960's baddies by story content has to go to a certain chatty species of carbon-based bipeds we all know and love: with over twenty stories featuring villainous HUMANS from multiple eras. From Aztecs to space pirates, from The Reign of Terror to the Land of Fiction, the Doctor had to face down more shifty humans by weight than anything else.


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