50 Years of Who: The Monsters & Villains
John Hussey continues his 50th anniversary retrospective, this time looking at the Doctor’s enemies.
2013 is a milestone year for all things Whovian as Doctor Who reaches its grand 50th anniversary, marking 50 years since the show first materialised on our screens back in 1963. Along with my 50th Anniversary Doctor Retrospectives (the 11th Doctor will be published in December following Matt Smith’s final episode), I will add another tribute to Doctor Who TV with ’50 Years of Who’ which serves to look over the different elements of the show that have kept it running throughout its long legacy.
Next up, the monsters and villains.
The Monsters & Villains’ Function
Like the companions, the monsters and villains’ function within the show is straightforward. They act as a rival for the Doctor and his companions to face in (almost) every story. They are the opposite of the companions; instead of trying to help the Doctor they hinder him and try everything in their power to stop his heroism and good deeds. Every hero needs a good old-fashioned villain and that is exactly why the monsters and villains serve as a vital function within the show. It gives the Doctor his fundamental function in life and that is to prevent the evil of the cosmos. As said poetically by the Second Doctor in ‘The Moonbase’, “There are some corners of the universe that are riddled with the most terrible things. They must be fought.”
Just as the companions act as a means for the audience to delve into the Doctor’s mind, the monsters and villains do practically the same but instead manage to release the darker natures of his many personas. Throughout the show the many different monsters and villains have been there to challenge the Doctor both physically and mentally. His morals are tested constantly in his battles against evil throughout the universe and thus demonstrates he has a darker side, which if provoked, can do a lot of damage. The monsters and villains act as the Doctor’s challenge during his adventures in time and space and also show to the viewers and the companions that both the universe and the Doctor’s journey isn’t always a happy one and are riddled with all kinds of dangers. It also demonstrates that the Doctor’s past, present and future isn’t always fun and his name is filled with darkness, as well as good.
The Different Types and Personalities
There are different types of monsters and villains within the show and each of them are very different and form the basis of how that monster and villain are perceived and how they act in both behaviour and how they react with the Doctor on his travels in the TARDIS. Also what’s interesting about these types is that the monsters and villains can easily be put into different categories or even change their type over the course of their appearances on the show.
The most common monster and villain are the ‘Monster-of-the-Week’ type. These act as individual adversaries each week as the Doctor journeys on a new adventure. Although these monsters and villains merely serve as one-off enemies, they are still very important to the show and each of the plots they appear in.
The next most common type are what is known as the ‘Main Adversary/Enemy’. Their role is being the main reoccurring enemy to the Doctor and thereby being the most powerful and most deadly to both the universe and the Doctor. Prime examples of the ‘Main Adversary/Enemy’ is, of course, the Daleks and the Cybermen.
Another common monster and villain is the ‘Nemesis’. These villains are similar to the ‘Main Adversary/Enemy’ but are more personal to the Doctor and prove to be intellectually equal to him. Usually the ‘Nemesis’ is a member of the Doctor’s own race, the Time Lords, with prime examples being the Master, the Rani and the Monk. The ‘Nemesis’ tends to be a reoccurring villain who returns time and time again to challenge the Doctor through mental and physical games. Due to the ‘Nemesis’ normally having a background connection with the Doctor, and thereby knowing stuff about his unknown past back on Gallifrey along with his way of thinking, the ‘Nemesis’ tends to be the most dangerous adversary for the Doctor, especially in the case of the Master who is his natural Moriarty.
Then there is the ‘Reoccurring Adversary’ which are the enemies and villains that don’t quite register as ‘Main Adversaries’ or ‘Nemesis’ but become reoccurring enemies for the Doctor to face along his journeys. Some of these enemies return more often than offers but they still maintain a complete sense of danger beyond the average villain/monster. The Mara for example has only appeared twice, whereas the Ice Warriors have appeared five times throughout the show.
The new series created the category of ‘Story Arc Mastermind’. This is the monster or villain that is revealed at the end of the series/arc to be the main adversary and the cause for all that had been going on. Basically the big end boss for the series finale after many weeks of hints pointing towards their return or involvement within the plot threads that had been unfolding throughout the series.
The different types of personalities define the motives of the Doctor’s many different enemies. These different motives can be categorised as well and serve to create another selection of choices to place the different monsters and villains within.
The most obvious personality/motive is domination and conquest. These traits serve the majority of the monsters and villains within the show, allowing the dark twisted creatures the Doctor faces an undesirable thirst for share carnage and destruction wherever they so trend through time and space. Usually there isn’t a clear and justifiable reason for these actions, simply just a desire to control and conquer everyone and everything. The Doctor makes it his duty to stop this from occurring.
Another type comes under those who wish to gain personal achievement through evil. Sometimes this can be for both good reasons and bad. A bad example would be the Master who only strives to achieve power for his own personal agenda of simply becoming the master of all things. Now although the motives do come under the similar motives of domination and conquest, it’s the fact that the Master craves this result through his entire being and has no other function other than controlling the universe and defeating his nemesis the Doctor. A good example would be the Silurians. Although they go about to do bad things, the reasoning behind their actions is simply to regain their homeland that they believe had been stolen from them by mammals.
There is then the evil genius who acts as the perpetrator for unleashing a terrible amount of destruction throughout the universe. These mad individuals are dangers within themselves but fundamentally are usually remembered for the crimes of creating the bigger threat within the picture like Davros with the Daleks and John Lumic with the Cybus-men.
A unique type of villain comes with those who wish to perform evil acts in order to achieve their goals for a better tomorrow. The evil acts are there to achieve a good solution. The Silence fall under this category as they attempted to destroy the universe and then force River Song into becoming an assassin all for the purpose of killing the Doctor. This would’ve prevented the Doctor from reaching Trenzalore and entering his tomb by answering the First Question. In their minds, they were doing the right thing for the greater good.
The most unique adversary is of course ‘the Doctor himself’. He can prove to be just as dangerous as the enemies he faces by the decision he makes throughout his travels. Although the Doctor has good intentions at heart, some of his actions have grave consequences for the universe and loved ones around him. The Valeyard is the prime example of the Doctor’s evil. Introduced in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’, the Valeyard is the manifestation of all of the Doctor’s negative energy and thus gave the Doctor an insight into what possible future awaits for him. It is also hinted through the mysterious John Hurt incarnation that he has conducted terrible acts that have stripped him of his presence within the Doctor’s life due to him breaking the promise that defines the meaning of his chosen name Doctor.
Finally, there are the different types of villain through species: aliens and humans. The human enemies tend to be a little more unique in the sense that they represent our own race and thereby place us in the centre of the problems. It also defines the simple conclusion that our race aren’t always the good guys and can become corrupt, thereby becoming the very thing that the Doctor strives to stand against.
Why they have kept the show going
The monsters and villains have kept the show going for the sole reason that it has given the Doctor a purpose to his character and of course the show itself. The monsters and villains form the very basis of each of the stories (at least within the majority of stories as there have been occasions where a plot doesn’t have a villain within the narrative like within ‘The Edge of Destruction’ and ‘Time Crash’) in which they become the central problem that the Doctor has to face and prevent.
The Doctor’s life goal was originally to explore the universe and all of time and space in order to learn more about the world outside of the Citadel on Gallifrey. But of course once the first story kicked in with ‘An Unearthly Child’ it became apparent that there are consequences and dangers within the Doctor’s adventures. At first the Doctor wasn’t interested within challenging the adversaries of his adventures but it quickly became a part of his life and he would stride to confront the evil of the universe in order to prevent them harming the universe and those around him.
The monsters and villains slowly became the purpose of the Doctor’s life, along with taking companions to see all of time and space and looking for adventure. They also began to define him and who he really was. Sometimes it would show he was the hero of the day, while other times it would define him as a more mysterious and dangerous character, something I think constantly makes us, the viewer, question our loyalty to the character as we never quite know who he is and what he’s truly thinking.
Like the companions, the monsters and villains define what kind of tone and story will take place within the narrative every week. They play a massive part on the shaping of the show and how it is written every week. The type of enemy defines what tone and atmosphere will be displayed.
Also the monsters and villains can form the darker storylines of being the reasons that the companions and the Doctor perish or leave. Adric is a prime example of a companion who was caused to die because of the enemy, i.e. the Cybermen, within his last story ‘Earthshock’. The same can be said about Amy Pond and Rory Williams in ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’. The Weeping Angels were the reason they were harshly taken away from the Doctor and River Song. Tegan Jovanka was put off from travelling with the Eleventh Doctor in ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ due to becoming fed up of all the carnage she had witnessed during her travels with the Doctor. The Master was the sole cause of the Fourth Doctor regenerating after he caused him to fall from the Pharos Project satellite after they had a battle. The list goes on and these moments remind us how deadly the Monsters and Villain can be and pushes the Doctor’s purpose to continue knowing if he doesn’t stand up against them, then others will suffer as well.
Strangely enough the monsters and villains can a hook for the audience, especially with the main reoccurring villains like the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Master, the Sontarans, the Ice Warriors, the Silurians, the Weeping Angels and the Autons. They become a massive part of the show and as iconic as the TARDIS, the Doctor’s gadgets and the theme music (which will be touched on in the next article). They become a symbol within the show even though they are the baddies and should be despised by us. Instead we welcome their return and the mere announcement gets us all excited. That just shows how important they are to the show and how much we love them. It really does define their many purposes within the show and why they have kept it going. A lot of people would say that if it wasn’t for Terry Nation and his genius in creating the Daleks all the way back in 1963 in their debut story ‘The Daleks’ (or ‘The Dead Planet’ – Part One of the story) then Doctor Who wouldn’t have survived. I do agree with that statement but not just because of the Daleks, but for all the many adversaries and reoccurring enemies that have come and gone throughout the show’s 50 year legacy. They have all marked their place within the history of Doctor Who and have kept it going by giving the Doctor his fundamental reasoning in life and because of them, the Time Lord will continue to travel far and wide in his blue box in order to stop them from destroying all that is precious to him.
Best monster & villain stories
‘Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways’ – The Daleks
The Daleks within Series One – the first of the revived series – served very much as a hook, just as Susan Foreman did within ‘An Unearthly Child’. They provided a nice link between the classic series and the new, drawing in old and new fans alike with their terrifying presence and famous death-cry. The Daleks proved they were cunning, silent killers that lurked in the dark waiting for their moment of triumphant return in which resulted in a bloodshed for the humans onboard Satellite Five as the dreaded creatures slaughtered them all one by one. They also made the Doctor very scared and pushed him to his limit as he tried desperately to finally put a stop to their terrible reign of destruction.
‘Earthshock’ – The Cybermen
The Cybermen within this particular story created surprise and suspense. The surprise being their return which was kept secret from the public to act as a nice, well, surprise. They inflicted terror upon our screens again having been off the air for about seven years with their redesign and new plans of ensuring their victory within the Cyber-Wars. The ultimate surprise was Adric’s death at the end of the story, which the Cybermen basically caused (if not indirect).
‘The Deadly Assassin’ – The Master
The Master was certainly at his lowest point in ‘The Deadly Assassin’ and proved he was a survivor and refused to allow death to be his defeater. Currently on his last life and reduced to a decaying husk, the Master schemed a plan to eradicate his world of Gallifrey along with all of his species, the Time Lords, to gain the powers of the Eye of Harmony and to restore his regeneration cycle – thus giving him new life in order to continue his reign of terror across time and space.
‘The War Games’ – The Time Lords
The Doctor’s own race were first unveiled in order to bring the Second Doctor to his unnatural conclusion after they placed him on trial for obstructing the Laws of Time according to their design. It was at that moment that their mythological powers and inner traits of darkness were first put into the light and it explained why the Doctor ran away from Gallifrey in the first place. Although not totally considered a villain of the show, the Time Lords have had their fair shares of evil downfalls either as individual renegades from within the highest order or as a race.
‘Revelation of the Daleks’ – Davros
Conducting experiments on humans upon the planet Necros, Davros really did become a sadistic maniac and almost considered himself god as he created new life in a new form of Dalek. Manipulating the people of the world to do his bidding, Davros almost achieved the victory over the Sixth Doctor but luckily was put to a stop by his original creations. His crowning moment of insanity has to go to the scene where he offered character Tasambeker the chance to become a Dalek if she murdered her boss Jobel.
‘The Two Doctors’ – The Sontarans
The clone warriors attempted once again to harness the power of Time Travel, after their failed attempts in ‘The Invasion of Time’, this time trying to crack the DNA of the Second Doctor through surgical experiments. The brute warriors attempted an alliance with Dastari and his augmented Androgum Chessene but due to their lack of ability to do so they prepared for their betrayal but it ended up back firing on them.
‘Cold War’ – The Ice Warriors
The Martians made a fine reintroduction within this story and showed off their might and also revealed some new revelations about their strengths and power. Grand Marshal Skaldak was alone in the universe and so decided to discard his honour as a warrior by un- shedding from his robotic armour and performed a stealth surveillance of the submarine in order to gain knowledge over his enemies. The fast moving lizard creature from within the armour proved a deadly predator and his will and determination to seek vengeance on humanity was near enough sure and almost destroyed the Earth through atomic warfare.
‘Terror of the Autons’ – The Autons
The plastic mannequins returned to cause terror with the help of the Master in which they found new ways to kill their victims. Firstly through the usage of a couch, then through an evil looking troll doll and then through a phone wire before finally trying to kill the world through beautiful looking Daffodils which suffocated you on sight. Another terrifying addition was disguising themselves as policemen who attempted to apprehend the Third Doctor but he soon unmasked the truth (quite literally).
‘Doctor Who and the Silurians’ – The Silurians
Homo-reptillia rose from the Earth after a long hibernation in order to reclaim the lands that were rightfully theirs. The Silurians proved to be both a great species full of intelligence and technology as well as homicidal maniacs that would do anything to achieve their goals. The Third Doctor tried hard to achieve peace between humanity and the Silurians but unfortunately even after the creatures were placed back into hibernation, the Brigadier wouldn’t risk them trying again to kill humanity and so they were apparently all destroyed.
‘The Name of the Doctor’ – The Great Intelligence
The Great Intelligence proved to be a formidable foe when he used the knowledge he gathered to unearth the dark secrets behind the Doctor’s tomb on Trenzalore by taking his friends hostage in order to force the Time Lord to the one place he must never go. Once it had achieved its goals through bribery, the Great Intelligence attempted to rewrite the entire history of both the Doctor’s timeline and the universes by preventing all of the Time Lord’s victories.
‘Mawdryn Undead/Terminus/Enlightenment’ – The Black Guardian
Everyone knows that the universe revolves around good and evil and to come across the guardians of those counterparts was an interesting piece of story-telling. With the White Guardian being the good and the Black Guardian being the bad, it seemed inevitable for the Doctor to become the Black Guardians enemy. Within this three-part story (12 episodes in total) the Black Guardian wished vengeance upon the Fifth Doctor and so engineered Turlough, who would later become the Time Lord’s companion after proving himself a good person, to kill him on his behave through bribery.
‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ – The Valeyard
This villain proved the most interesting out of all of them simply because the villain in question is fact the Doctor himself. The Valeyard forms the Time Lord’s darkness which manifested between his Twelfth and Thirteenth incarnation. The alter-ego of the Doctor tried desperately to bribe the High Council of the Time Lords into giving the Doctor’s remaining regenerations to him after they aided in forging the Doctor’s trial into making him guilty. The Sixth Doctor was aided by the Master in discovering the truth behind his prosecutor and ultimately stopped him from stealing his remaining regenerations along with preventing the assassination of the members of the High Council present at the trial.
‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ – The Weeping Angels
The Lonely Assassins attempted to attack Manhattan by building their very own battery farm in the form of a creepy hotel. Those lured within it by the said creatures would spent the rest of their existence there, living out their lives within one lonely room while the Weeping Angels fed off their timeline. The Eleventh Doctor stumbled across this plan and ultimately was unable to save Rory Williams from his fate of being sent back in time. In the end his fate was sealed within stone and even Amy Pond decided to accept this outcome. It was one of the rare occasions his enemy was victorious and the Doctor lost what was most dear to him because of it.
The third part to ’50 Years of Who’ will look over the Gadgets and Gizmos that have aided the Doctor throughout his travels in time and space. I will also talk about the two signifying elements to the show, i.e. the TARDIS and the show’s iconic theme, and I will discuss why they, like both the companions and the monsters and villains, have helped shape and keep Doctor Who alive for its 50 years of legacy.