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Are the Big Enemies Being Overused?

Guest contributor Barry Dixon takes a look.

doomsday-dalek-vs-cybermen

With the Cybermen coming back for Series 8, I wanted to examine whether these types of monsters or enemies are being overused. Wouldn’t it be more appealing for a less used monster to be given more time?

First, let’s look at when the Daleks have been given ‘time off’ in the classic era. There were 5 whole years between Evil of the Daleks in 1967 to Day of The Daleks in January 1972. Although maybe not the best Dalek story, Pertwee and Manning said it was the nadir of their Doctor Who experience. The Radio Times said it was “Tremendously Exciting”. There was then a 4 year wait between Genesis of the Daleks and the 1979 story Destiny of the Daleks. Although, again, the latter wasn’t too well received, it was classed at the time as enjoyable due to the wait endured by the viewer. A 3 year wait occurred between 1985’s Revelation to 1988’s Remembrance Of The Daleks. It was described as the best Doctor Who story in a considerable time. This could be because it was the best or because it was their eagerly anticipated return.

Now, since the revival the Daleks have appeared in every series and various specials in one way or another so I would have to lean towards the side of them being overused currently. Now we all like a Dalek story (well most of them) but surely even their biggest fan could begin to tire if fed too much of a good thing?

cybermen-yearsThe Cybermen have been around since the 60’s too like the Daleks but when they have had to wait for a return, they’ve really had to wait. Twice seven years has passed, 1968 – 1975 and 1975 – 1982. Although 1975’s Revenge of the Cybermen didn’t get the best reviews, the return must have delighted a large section of Who fans. 1982’s Earthshock faired better critically with one reviewer saying part one had one of the best cliffhangers of the whole series due and the element of “didn’t see that coming.” Three years passed before seeing them again in 1985’s Attack of the Cybermen. Again reviews weren’t great and then 3 years later we got the 25th anniversary story Silver Nemesis with a similar response.

Since the new series began the Cybermen have been used a bit less than the Daleks but they still seem to have been given a lot of screentime. It could be argued that their time has, like some of the classic series instances, not been used as well as it could have. Whether that was because the writers thought that the Cybermen just turning up would be good enough, well, who knows.

Personally, I think a break could do the Cybermen and the Daleks good and give them a big return with a well-written and thought out story in say 3 years instead of every series. The shock of seeing them again after almost forgetting about them could be immense, it would send the social media world and fans in general mad with excitement. And I for one would love to see Peter Capaldi’s Doctor do battle with them (especially the Daleks) in a big episode somewhere down the line.

Obviously Doctor Who will get new writers coming in and to make an impact they may want to make use of the Doctors biggest enemies which is understandable so I can’t see a decent break anytime soon especially with the 10th anniversary of the new show next year. But some of the best stories have been those without the Doctor’s biggest enemies: Blink, The Eleventh Hour and Vincent and the Doctor for example.

This is not saying stories with the Daleks, Cybermen etc are poor, far from it.  Arguably Victory Of The Daleks and possibly Closing Time as well as some I’ve already mentioned weren’t the best but I feel that the impact, surprise and excitement element of them returning after a longer break could well make that story better for it.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Step back in time...

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287 comments
Elionu
Elionu

They are overused. 


Although what would be even more of a huge shock, while waiting years to re-use the overused daleks and cybermen, would be to say, re-introduce an enemy that hasn't appeared for over 20 or 30 years, in a well written story.


Whovian_Brownoat
Whovian_Brownoat

The short answer to this is Yes. The long answer is Yes. Yes they are.

Noybusiness
Noybusiness

"Although maybe not the best Dalek story, Pertwee and Manning said it was the nadir of their Doctor Who experience."

I'm not sure about this sentence. Where does the "although" come in, if you're saying it wasn't good and they said it wasn't good?


"A 3 year wait occurred between 1985’s Revelation to 1988’s Remembrance Of The Daleks. It was described as the best Doctor Who story in a considerable time. This could be because it was the best or because it was their eagerly anticipated return."

Ace and the latter two seasons of the Seventh Doctor were very good.

Baker Street is taking a Deep Breath
Baker Street is taking a Deep Breath

My thoughts exactly. When a "big" monster has a significant break it's return guarantees good viewing figures, immense anticipation, massive excitement and fandom freak-outs. That's why I'm looking forward to the Master's return so much - it's gonna be big, and big is awesome.

gameguy523
gameguy523

I personally find the Moffat era does a better job with this. We get a lot more original ideas and villains like the Silence and less of those generic Dalek/world domination stories. 

DaftDalek is Ceter Papaldi
DaftDalek is Ceter Papaldi

I believe the Daleks in the Moffat era don't have as much gravitas as in RTD era, because we they don't have a "face" anymore. We used to have the Dalek Emperor, the Cult Of Skaro, Davros, the Supreme Dalek.. Now we just have random Daleks who are usually being exploded...

ChristineGrit
ChristineGrit

To me they're not not so much overused as not scripted very imaginatively. In the past the Daleks tended to think out strategies (perhaps not always good or logicial ones), we did not have explosions all the time, and surprises were involved. Many people may criticize victory of the Daleks but that wasn't because of the great idee ofhaving them serve cups of tea (still love that scene), but because of the new Paradigm and the space planes. You can use them as often as you want, as long as you let them do unexpected things, and let thém win once in a while (or is that too bleak?).

The Finn
The Finn

To me it seems that the New Series writers are more scared than Classic Who writers that the show won't be coming back next series, and that's why they feature certain monsters and aliens

Liana21
Liana21

I like the Cybermen and the Daleks, more the first ones, and i don't mind see them once a series, if the stories are good and they're equilibrated with another classic monsters (Ice Warriors, Silurians) and new monsters.

SeanBennion
SeanBennion

Daleks and Cybermen get used too much for two reasons. One being for reasons of merchandising so that they can be money spinners for the BBC and the other reason is a total lack of imagination from writers and the production department. Whats needed is an amazing script that is made better by the inclusion of either the Daleks or the Cybermen.  Interestingly I'd also like to see the Daleks re using the Ogrons again in a future story. At present a return of the Krotons would be more exciting than the return of either Daleks or Cybermen.                                                                                                      There are so many classic era villains that could make a return, The Monk, The Mara, The Rani, Tractators, Sil, Sea Devils,Axons or even the Dominators  and Quarks.                                                










LucasW
LucasW

I don't have any problem with monsters returning frequently, so long as they get good stories. That's the problem, I don't think any of the recent Dalek of Cybermen stories have been as good as they could have been. I would also prefer it if cameos (like in Day and Time) were kept to a minimum as they reduce the impact when the creatures get a full outing.

antimon_bush
antimon_bush

As Moffat once said, it should all be story-driven. So, if you have a great story for Daleks, bring them back, if not, don't. Too often, they brought Daleks/Cybermen back for the sake of bringing them back (especially during RTD era). This usually results in poor story. So, I do not mind appearance of the Daleks, but only if you have a good story for them.

Although, it is still better not to overuse anyone. For example, River Song could be a good recurring character, but she was overused during season 6, and now nobody wants her to appear again. DW need recurring characters and enemies that will appear every 2-3 years, but never be overused. 









craig33
craig33

I think the Cybermen and Daleks returning once a season is about right. The Daleks weren't too heavily featured in the 50th but they had to be there and fitting they were there when the Doctor was ending his regeneration cycle. I'd like a Dalek story every season and a Cybermen story every other year alternating with another classic monster, Either ice warrior's, Master, I'd lobe to see the Tractators return or the Terileptils.

Ivegotnewkidneys on the 23rd
Ivegotnewkidneys on the 23rd

I know not directly related to the topic but do you know what monster I like new who do at some point Viyrans from the big finish audios 

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

I thought they had a contract with the estate of Terry Nation to use the Daleks once a year or lose the rights? That's what I keep hearing at any rate. If so, it would explain why they were able to have long breaks from the Daleks in the old days but keep bringing them back since 2005.

To me, it doesn't matter which monster/enemy they use so long as the story is good. Having said that, I would love to see some of the classic enemies like Omega, and a few others back, yes. And I always enjoy seeing new ones as well.

From what I understand, there are monsters they can't use though, coz they belong to the writers who created them. So apparently it's not only about which monsters they want to use, it's also about which ones they are allowed to use.

The Administrator
The Administrator

Today is a very different world to the classic series. Today, people expect the Daleks and Cybermen to show up every series. Kids want it. And most of the time it's just cameos which are harmless. Series 7 was in fact the first time since Series 2 that there was a Dalek story and a Cyberman story in the same series. Complaining about the Daleks and Cybermen being overused is in my eyes like complaining that Vampires are being overused in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Which is to say, ridiculous.

allons_ywibblywobbly
allons_ywibblywobbly

Speaking of the 10th New Who anniversary...if it won't be a special episode (or a minisode...I'm still hoping for a "Fires of Pompeii" remade from the Twelve's point of view, but oh well...), could it be at least some sort of Confidential with all the New Who Doctors talking and sharing their experiences? :D I mean, I know we sort of had that with Matt and David last year, but I want all of them, Matt, David, Capaldi, Eccleston (please, please), John Hurt and Paul McGann. So? Pretty please? :D

Tomb of the Cyberbob
Tomb of the Cyberbob

I was around when Day of the Daleks came out (oh dear).  It was just so incredibly exciting.   I do agree - a weakness of new Who is that it doesn't seem to have enough confidence in new monsters, particularly, I might add - in using them in the big-finales.    Recently of course we did have The Silence, but then this year it was back to another oldie - The Great Intelligence.    Time to promote one or two of the new monster, methinks.  Having said that - Capaldi HAS to meet the Daleks....

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@Elionu I think the Sontarans were introduced well initially, in 'The Sontaran Stratagem'/'The Poison Sky'.

And I think Series 7 - Part 2 just consists wholly of the worst episodes. Other than 'Cold War', where the Ice Warrior was done quite well. I haven't seen the classic versions of either of these 2, but from what I've seen they're not badly re-made.

kozickib
kozickib

@gameguy523  Except the Silence were a horrible enemy, overall. Ill-defined at best, the way they were explained at the end of the last season was done rather poorly (it was kind of clever, but only kind of, and the revelation of their origin seemed more a footnote than anything else). Sure, I'll admit they were exciting for maybe a season, but they seemed trite after a while, and the longer they ran in the series the more annoying references to them became. There was a lot of build up and not much payoff at the end. And there was so much wasted potential with this enemy arc as well, for instance, Madame Kovarian turned out to be a relative nobody (when she could have been made into so much more). 














Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@gameguy523 It has less 'Dalek' stories. But the one's that it does have, ruins them somewhat. Same with 'The Cybermen' (although they're featured more).

'The Silence' are certainly very good. I really like them. But Moffat tends to overdo things, to a point of ruining them. Like, with the Silence, where in 'The Time of the Doctor', it is claimed that they were only one rogue group of the species. That really does lessen the fear factor; though that's not enough to completely destroy them, for me. The Weeping Angels (the most ruined, for me) - keep re-appearing, and every time, Moffat changes the rules of their existence. They were so simple at first. Then they were changed so that in 'The Time of the Angels', they can now turn you into one (sort of). In 'Flesh and Stone', despite their previously stated super speed, and automatic turning to stone when being looked at: they turn to stone, when not being looked at, destroying the previous logic that it was a reflex action. This contradicts 'Blink's solution to have them all look at each other to defeat them, as surely, if they can control it, that wouldn't have worked. Also, in 'Flesh and Stone', when they are stone, while not being looked at, one manages to move its head at a slow dramatic rate. That could have been done, and probably would have been brilliant with another alien, but not with the alien that travels incredibly fast. 'The Angels take Manhatten' - Every statue is now a weeping angel. Other than that, I love this episode. But it is so silly to now say that every statue is a weeping angel. And I'm pretty certain, no matter how fast, and however cool it looked on screen, someone would've seen the Statue of Liberty move.

In terms of Daleks: 'Victory of the Daleks' - I don't like the space plane bit; I think that's silly. And 'Asylum of the Daleks', shows Moffat apparantely being determined to destroy any threat level the Daleks previously had - When they ask for help, and when they have their memory erased of the Doctor (which somehow turns out to be every document everywhere of the Doctor in 'Time of the Angels' - as River was released from prison as the Doctor apparantely doesn't exist, so she didn't shoot him). Also you can't grow a Dalek from yourself. Obvously none of it is real, but what you see of a Dalek is a travel machine (as stated in 'Genesis of the Daleks'). That's effectively like having another creature grow a tank from itself, with a human inside that.

JolomontheCube
JolomontheCube

@DaftDalek  what about the white supreme and prime minister daleks?


But yeah, they suck now because they don't kill anymore

ShameOnSM
ShameOnSM

@DaftDalek Fantastic! someone that actually agrees with me, I can't remember the episode but there was a dalek begging for mercy I hated it. The reason why this is all happening is because Moffat actually hates the daleks but he has to use them in every series.

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@Liana21 As long as they don't change the classic monsters too much. I don't like the modern silurians. They're good, but they're completely different to the classic versions. They could have just taken the new silurian look and used it for a new alien.


But I agree, as long as the stories are good, I see no problem with seeing Daleks once a series. Though I haven't liked any of their stories throughout the Moffat era; and I don't like the cameos.

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

Yes I'd be much happier is cameos weren't to happen at all. It was a disappointment for me, when they advertised 'The Big Bang' to have all/many of the aliens. Yet, when it came to the episode, they were only shown a miniscule amount.

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

Moffat said that? Well that's a bit hypocritical of him.

The Daleks and the Cybermen were not ever brought back in the RTD era, just for the sake of it. Whatever your opinion on each of the Dalek/Cybermen episodes isn't relevant. Their stories were still very well thought out, and came out great ('The Stolen Earth'/'Journey's End' and 'The Next Doctor' came out less amazing).

Moffat's era however has brought back Cybermen and Daleks simply for the sake of cameos.

 Notsosmartguy  the dalek of Jersey
Notsosmartguy the dalek of Jersey

@antimon_bush too be fair river song's story is over as far as me and a lot of other people are concerned and bringing her back would lesson her the impact of that . Also river song was in series 6 a lot was because it was her origin story.    

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@TheDreamer oh why does there have to be so much hate. Can't everyone just allow each other to share the ideas. Goodness me it's so silly.

'You have to use Daleks once a year or you lose the rights' - I mean, who comes up with that, and what's the point.

Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

"I thought they had a contract with the estate of Terry Nation to use the Daleks once a year or lose the rights?" -That has never been substantiated as fact, no, but it is a fairly common speculation.


Doctor What
Doctor What

@ShameOnSM @DaftDalek It was in the best series finale yet, The Big Bang. It was fine because that dalek was damaged and powerless, and showed us that the daleks are just coward bullys, without their armor and gun they're nothing. The dalek in Dalek also claimed for mercy, but as this was an RTD era story, it doesn't bother you, I suppose. It's really pitiful to blame Moffat for everything you don't like in the show, as well as plainly stupid to say that he hates the daleks when you don't have any idea about what he really thinks.

Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

And yet the entire Dalek Empire begging for help was fine? No,Moffat doesn't hate the Daleks. In fact, he has tried to give them a rest in order to restore their credibility since they had become too reliably defeatable (seriously, they're left on the brink of extinction five times within the span of four series). And no, the "use a Dalek every year" clause has never been proven to actually exist.


TheDreamer
TheDreamer

@Ollie Walton Harrod @TheDreamer @Amy is Hannibal  Hate from who, Ollie? Where? No one here said anything hateful... and I don't see any comment not allowing shared ideas, either. In fact, your comment is the only one that seems angry in this thread. Have a jelly baby. :)

Thanks, Amy. I keep hearing that said, but I wasn't sure where it came from. :)




Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@Doctor What @ShameOnSM @DaftDalek I don't think that's the same, with 'Dalek'. I actually had no problem with 'The Big Bang's Dalek asking for mercy (I suppose I didn't think about it), but I really didn't like the Daleks actually summoning the Doctor, and asking for his help in 'Asylum of the Daleks'. I also hated them having their memory of the Doctor erased in that episode (which later somehow turned out to be every document of the Doctor, or something like that, because in 'The Angels take Manhatten' River was supposedly realeased because the Doctor apparantely didn't exist).

But in 'Dalek', the one Dalek has been tortured for quite a long time, so I think it's acceptable to say that sometime during that, the Dalek gave up hating. I don't know exactly, I'm just okay with that instance.


Huknar
Huknar

@Notsosmartguy  @Ollie Walton Harrod I struggle to understand that legal problem if it is even true. The BBC have a greater claim on the dalek design and I think they'd win rights to them in a court battle.

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@Amy is Hannibal I'm talking about more recently. Some were dying in Series 5.


Octavion - yes

Abigail - She was already dying. But yes, I suppose that half counts.

Lorna - yes

Amy and Rory - didn't die. As A Friend of the Ood has stated, they lived happily together, just in another time.

Both of Clara's echo selves - Are just that. Clara still lives. To use an analogy: They were like her video game selves/or robot bodies. She went into the timestream, controlled 2 other forms of herself and helped the Doctor. Or, just think of it like 'Edge of Tomorrow'. She dies but wakes up again (kind of like Rory did).

Just compare the number of deaths  in a Moffat era episode to that of an RTD era episode.


A Friend of the Ood
A Friend of the Ood

@Amy is Hannibal Amy and Rory were never actually killed off. They were sent back in time and lived to be very old. That doesn't count. Oswin and Clara only died to set up the "Impossible Girl" arc. The rest were characters who were in only one episode. He hasn't actually killed anyone important.

kozickib
kozickib

@Amy is Hannibal Oh come on, Amy and Rory ran way too long (should have been killed off a season earlier if you ask me) plus Rory came back the first time he was killed (much to my annoyance, until I started liking him more than Amy, which was a bad sign). The Clara clones/avatars keep coming back, so no real loss there. And Octavian, Abigail, and Lorna were merely minor characters. No real loss (and no real dramatic effect) in killing off someone who's easily forgotten a few episodes later. 

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

Oh, no. I count the minor characters. When I say not enough people die, I'm talking about the cast of single episodes.

And Amy is Hannibal's point isn't bad because Amy and Rory didn't leave soon enough. It's that they didn't actually die.

Not that they should have died. But you can't then count them as people who did.