Who here has seen the Matt Smith Doctor Who episode the Cold War? It was excellent. Really fun. But the Ice Warriors, who are a brilliant Doctor Who monster from the old days, felt a bit out of place in it. Slow, lumbering and bulky, it was a collision of what the old series did wonderfully, but the new series does better – monsters! The monsters now are quick, deadly, scary and fun. The monsters of the old series were brilliant for the old series, but some of them – not all, I should add – lose something when they are translated over from the old to the new. They can’t all fit in as well as the Daleks, Cybermen or Silurians – some of them, while being lovely nods to the old series, should have really stayed there.
I’ve read plenty of articles arguing which monsters deserve a 21st century return, but here are five villains – some monsters, some people – who were amazing foes of Doctors one to eight, but ones that I hope don’t come back to cause Peter Capaldi, or any future doctors, any trouble.
A totally cold, logical and scientific Time Lord with no care for the lives of the people she uses in her experiments, the Rani was another renegade Time Lord who was more like the Doctor than the Master, but lacked the Doctor’s humanity. She was manipulative, uncaring and efficient, who saw people as specimens and history as a scientific playground, ripe with opportunities for her to dabble and study, regardless of the lives or the timelines that got in the way.
The Master fit in really well with the new series, and is perhaps the old foe who has been best handled in the new stories. The Rani, while fun, is better staying put. I think she would be dull in large doses; she’s in two stories, one of them watchable (the second one is the good one), but I think if she was back in the new series there would be the worry that she’d be overused, and having her come back each series to cause scientific mayhem would really start to grate after a while. She was OK in the old ones, but when you take away the science bit of her character, she doesn’t really have much else. Cold? Manipulative? Time lord? Why not let the Master do it. There have been some awesome female villains in the new series (Madame Kovarian, Margaret Blaine, and Mrs Sweet, for example) and I’d rather see new female villains for the Doctor to face, rather than one who’d be in mainly for a nostalgic throw-back.
In a story by Douglas Adams – one of science fiction’s greatest authors – the Doctor and Romana visit Paris, and get involved in the plans of Scaroth, Last of the Jaggeroth, which involves the Mona Lisa and the beginning of life on Earth.
This particular Jaggeroth has been fractured throughout time, and he is attempting to undo the event that scattered himself so that he can be complete once again. The story is praised as being one of the best old Doctor Who stories, and there is plenty about the Jaggeroth that we don’t know about.
But I wouldn’t be happy to hear about a new Jaggeroth story, mainly because the old one was so good. It was by Douglas Adams! The writer with an unbeatable imagination and skill with science fiction concepts and humour, taking a monster from one of his stories (he wrote three overall) and bringing it back for a new audience is unnecessary. The story was complicated, funny, fast paced and full of entertaining characters, and even though there is a lot the Jaggeroth could do in the new series, I don’t want to know about it. Scaroth was the last of the Jaggeroth, and I like him as the last.
A cynical, violent, manipulative manifestation of the Doctor? Who wants to absorb his remaining regenerations!? No way! He sounds well good! And he was, definitely the best thing about Colin Baker’s run as the Doctor. He featured in a very long story where the Doctor was put on trial by the Time Lords for meddling in the affairs of the universe. I’ve seen a lot of people who say he should definitely return in the new series…
Except we already have a new villain who did the same thing, quite recently, in one of the best Matt Smith stories. Amy’s Choice featured the Dream Lord, who turned out to be an assortment of the Doctor’s Negativity caused by psychic pollen.
If the Valeyard was to return, then he could be confused for the Dream Lord, or at least people would assume they are the same character, and I think it’s best to keep them in separate eras, so that they can both be enjoyed by fans, new and old, without being mixed together. We don’t want any unfair comparisons between the two, do we? They are both very good, and by bringing the Valeyard back people could argue that the are the same, or some other weird argument about them being joined up, or something. It’s not like you can’t enjoy them both, anyway – both Amy’s Choice and The Trial of a Time Lord (the Valeyard’s only TV story) are out on DVD.
Not to mention, the Valeyard was supposed to be created at the end of the Doctor’s twelfth life, and we’ve already seen that now, Valeyard-less. And that whole section was confusing enough without adding another mystery into the mix!
The Doctor versus giant, meat eating, dog-worms!? Neat-o! The Third Doctor and Jo battled these deadly dish-rags in a very cool and imaginative story set inside an electric zoo. They were huge monsters, who had no evil plans, they were just there for the eatin’!
While the advances of CGI would allow us to see Drashigs slither and zoom around, eating everything in their path and generally being destructive big wormies, I think they would also require a lot of well written storytelling in order to make the most out of them. There’s no real way of stopping them, unless the Doctor goes all James Bond on them again and uses the sonic screwdriver to blow stuff up, and since they are animal predators, there isn’t any way where they can plan anything. It would have to be a transformers style big-CGI-monsters-invade-or-something story, that would be too complicated to explain how they get to where ever they’re going, and how to stop them using the Doctor’s well loved pacifism.
There are some monsters I’d love to see brought back as CGI mega-baddies; I wish for another story with the nightmare controlling giant snake Mara, or have swarms of Wirrn or Tractators looking more like insects than blokes in tubes, crawling up walls and along ceilings, real body horror stories – but I think the Drashigs should stay where they were, on whichever planet they were on in the old days, never to be bothered again.
The Sea Devils
I love the Silurians. The terrifying night of December ’99 when I first saw one fully – after two excitement-building weeks of shadows, first person views and slight teases – I remember being too afraid to go to sleep, for fear that there could be a Silurian in the house.
It was later on that I discovered that the Silurians had aquatic cousins, called Sea Devils. And they fought together in a story! No way! I bought the VHS and rushed home to watch and watch again. The Sea Devils were brutal, proper nasty, and wonderfully designed; sort of samurai fish things with guns. They were great fun, and they only got better in their original story, where they worked with the Master.
I’ve seen several fan articles screaming for their return but, I think, we have what something much better already. We have new Silurians, and just Silurians, and they are just as scary and entertaining as they were when they were rubber masks and tin-foil. They don’t need another version of them to be in the new series. Adding their more violent underwater relations would mean Silurian team-up stories, which, though fun, would mean less Silurian screen time. I also think that the Sea Devils would be difficult to pull off well, with the more advanced costume design and CGI. As I mentioned earlier with the Ice Warriors, the big, wobbly monsters don’t translate that well into the more fast paced, visually impressive new series.
So there we go – there’s my five Doctor Who monsters who should stay put in the past. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below, and, more importantly, keep watching and enjoying the Doctor and his friends, on their endless journeys through space.