This month Doctor Who turns 50.
Wow, ’63 was an awesome year for pop culture!
I used to watch Doctor Who on PBS, usually on a Friday or Saturday evening. The stories were weird, the budgets were low, the accents were British. Yeah, it was awesome. 20 years ago you didn’t see much like it on TV. I’m really glad that this show got out there and has a worldwide following.
One of my favorite aspects of Doctor Who is all the awesome creatures and monsters that populate this unique world of science fiction. These are my 10 favorites:
10. The Midnight Entity
This is from a 10th Doctor story called “Midnight” where the Doctor is stranded on a crashed spaceship with a number of other people. While awaiting rescue a bizarre entity somehow enters the ship, takes over a passenger, begins mimicking speech and causing all sorts of chaos and paranoia. I love this monster because it is so vague; you never actually learn what it is, what it looks like, how it can survive the on the hyper-hostile surface of the alien planet. By the end of the episode you learn nothing, and that makes it all the more creepy. Usually the Doctor figures out what type of creature something is and neutralizes the threat, but not here. The Doctor, the ultimate brainiac here who always has the answers, has nothing here. I hope they never bring this creature back, and leave it vague, undefinable, and horrifying.
This mentally unstable Time Lord appeared in a couple of Doctor Who episodes, namely “The Three Doctors.” I like the aesthetics of this guy. The mask and robes looks great, and I think it would be an awesome Halloween costume. I like tall-head masks for some reason; maybe they remind me of Galactus. I don’t know. Anyway this is the guy that made the Time Lords what they are. His experiments allowed his people to manipulate time, though he was thought killed in the process. As such his name is legend to the Gallifreyans. In reality he is stuck in another universe and is now evil and insane! Sweet.
This badass ancient-Egyptian god-alien hails from a Fourth Doctor story called “Pyramids of Mars.” Trapped in an earth pyramid, Sutekh mind controls the Doctor and causes all sorts of mischeif. I like ancient-Egyptian stuff like pyramids and mummies, and this story is chock-full of all that good stuff, with the typical Doctor Who pseudoscience spin, of course.
Octopus people. Yep, that about sums it up. What is not to love about octopus people? I have to say, the costumes look really good for 1976. Most of the Doctor Who monsters from this time period (and earlier (and later)) look kinda cheap. Compared to some others, the Zygons look a million-bucks. They come from a Fourth Doctor story called, appropriately, “Terror of the Zygons.”
This is the most recent monster on the list, appearing for the first time during some 11th Doctor episodes. What creeps me out is the odd combination of traditional “Gray” alien and the damned Slender Man. The first time one of these guys appears on screen I just about lost it. I know that aesthetic doesn’t appeal to or frighten a lot of people, but it gives me the heebie-jeebies big time. I also really like the whole memory wiping angle. Each time you encounter one of The Silence it wipes your memory of the encounter. You may have had dozens of horrifying encounters with these guys already and you don’t know it!
This thing is from a Fourth Doctor story called “Horror of Fang Rock” which is the first Doctor Who story I ever watched. The Rutan is a glowing-green blob monster that eats people. Aside from the nostalgia factor, what I really love about this creature is that it is a glowing-green blob monster that eats people. Sometimes that is all you need.
Here we go, the longest running foe of the Doctor, first appearing in the second ever Doctor Who story, simply called “The Daleks.” These creatures are actually genetically modified aliens (the Kaleds … spell it backwards) that have been grafted into weaponized tank shells after having all emotions but hatred and anger removed. Definitely the most famous and iconic of all the Doctor’s enemies. What I really love about the Daleks (besides the plunger for a gun) is just how silly they are. These guys are supposed to be the most terrible menace the universe has ever faced, but I get a huge grin on my face each time I see one spin around its goofy lasers and screech out their catchphrase “Exterminate!” Who doesn’t love a Dalek?
Yeah, I hate spiders. I really, really hate spiders. These things are big spiders. Gah! Yep, they are the monsters from the last Third Doctor story, entitled “Planet of the Spiders.” Big Spiders … do I even need to say more about this?
Okay seriously, who doesn’t like the Cybermen? These metallic goofballs got their start way back in a First Doctor story in 1966 called “The Tenth Planet.” Unfortunately this story is missing an episode, and that sucks. I like the Cybermen for a number of reasons, first and foremost is that they are pretty much just like the Daleks, but not nearly as goofy. I mean, they don’t use plungers for weapons. That can be kind of a strike against them though, because the plunger-gun is my favorite part about the Daleks! Anyway, these guys have been recurring baddies for years. I like the longevity, I like the updated costumes in the new series, I like the crappy costumes in the old series.
Yep, its a cliche but I don’t care … the Weeping Angels are my favorite Doctor Who monsters. Created by Steven Moffat for a 10th Doctor episode called “Blink,” these creatures are intergalactic beings that have taken the forms of angelic statues … kind of. When nobody is looking at them they don’t really have a form and can move quickly and freely. It’s only when someone is looking at them that they take the form of the statues. So every time you look away, or blink, the creatures are coming closer. Awesome! I also love the idea that they don’t kill you, but deposit you in another time. You get to live, but to your family and friends its as if you have disappeared. That is pretty nifty.
Well, those are some of my favorite Doctor Who monsters. I can’t wait to see what new nightmares are made in the next 50 years of the show. I hope everyone gets to watch the Day of the Doctor special on the 23rd.
’till next time!