News Categories
Archives

Unpopular Opinion: Strax

Guest contributor Jeevan Sidhu thinks it’s time to retire Strax.

The-Snowmen-Doctor-Who-Christmas-Special-Trailer-(16)

From “We stare into the face of death!” to “May I take your coat?

Sontarans are in many fan’s opinion, some of the best antagonists in the Whoniverse, second only to the Daleks and Cybermen. Their appearances in The Time Warrior, The Sontaran Experiment, The Invasion of Time, The Two Doctors and even (though many will disagree with me) The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, were brilliant. A proper enemy for the Doctor and his companions, however, the last 41 years of Sontaran history were completely destroyed by one simple five-letter word…

doctor-who-the-snowmen-gallery-(42)Strax.

I know, I know, but before you all bombard me with hate comments, just hear me out. My main issue with Strax is the reason many people love him: it’s that he’s funny. I’m not going to deny the fact that Strax is a funny character. He can be hilarious, I’m not going to forget the memory worm scene for a while, but it’s becoming too much now.

In my mind, having a funny Sontaran is just as bad as having a funny Dalek. However, if it were a Dalek that was with Jenny and Vastra, there would be uproar! Daleks are iconic for being the most fearsome enemies, creatures born to hate. But that’s how I feel about the Sontarans. Born and bred for war, they long for death, and then all of a sudden, one of them was a comic relief butler!

I wasn’t particularly happy with Strax but then, to my absolute horror, on Christmas Day while I was watching The Time of the Doctor, I saw the Sontarans. My heart had broken. The Sontarans were added as comic relief again for a dark episode. I was frustrated with having one funny Sontaran, and now it seemed as though the entire species had simply turned into a humorous one that no longer posed any threat to the Doctor. I understand that many young children watch Doctor Who, like I did when I was younger, but can we please not just change once scary, angry aliens into a laughing stock?

sontarans-time-of-the-doctor

This article is in no way me having a go at Dan Starkey. I personally think he is a fantastic actor, in fact, I voted for him in DWTV’s 2013 Best Supporting Male award. I just think that the writers ought to show that Sontarans should be in the show to scare, not to make audiences laugh.

I’m not saying get rid of Sontarans, but maybe it’s time to have a proper Sontaran story? We haven’t had one in nearly 6 years. Perhaps it’s time to bow Strax out, perhaps there could be an episode where the Sontarans appear and Strax goes with them at the end?

I have no issues with Vastra, as I’ve personally always seen the Silurians as victims is some ways. I just have a problem with Strax. Well, that’s what I think anyway.

Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts on Strax in the comments.

Step back in time...

COMMENT GUIDELINES

Please be civil and keep article comments relevant and on topic. Flag and report any offensive/trolling behavior, or contact us with details.
Please do not post SPOILERS! Your account could be banned. For complete details on our comment policy please read.
General Whoniverse discussion goes here | Discuss fan fiction and fan projects here | Discuss feature articles here.
313 comments
ThatGuywiththeBowTie
ThatGuywiththeBowTie

'Horse, you have failed in your mission!'

Gotta love Strax, but I agree, Sontarans aren't really great villains anymore.

Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

What exactly is the definition of a Sontaran story anyway? It's not like they've had a specific theme beyond the military buffoonery*/utter ruthlessness, the way the Daleks and (in theory) the Cyberman do - I read somewhere, and quite agree, that their two-parter in Series 4 could just as easily have been a Zygon story with very little changes.  

CaitlinAshford
CaitlinAshford

To be honest I think the smart move is not to get rid of Strax and the Vastra and Jenny , but to bring them to modern times or give them a time travel vehicle/device of their own and give them their own series as a younger aimed series in the same way as the Sarah Jane Adventures.
As characters they're too strong to ignore but I have to agree they've been in the main series maybe just a little too much (although I do enjoy every minute of them).


As spin of series go I think there was a wrong turn made with Torchwood going to adult, but a masterstroke with the SJA.

I propose two new TV spinoffs....One aimed at a younger audience like SJA with Vastra, Jenny and Strax and another aimed at a family audience based around UNIT

ChrismichaelCk
ChrismichaelCk

I agree with this article 100% I am not a fan of the Victorian era allies.... especially when you think about it, there is one person in this era which doesn't ever even get a mention.... Capt Jack and Torchwood. Plus the Potatohead is slightly overdone now and lets face it no one likes a burnt potato 

Tardis Stowaway
Tardis Stowaway

Strax I would defend, because the comedy made up for the fact that he wasn't villainous like he should be and, after all, it was just one Sontaran. Just like not every human is a Michael McIntyre, not every Sontaran is a Strax.


But in TTOTD, like you said, it became apparent that perhaps now every Sontaran is exactly that. The Sontarans really need a big story, just like the Daleks do, that shows them at their most powerful and ruthlessness and reinstates them as a serious and deadly force. Not bumbling fools.

DrWhoGoesThere
DrWhoGoesThere

I actually like Strax, but I have to agree with you.  It really is time to bring Sontarans back as a serious enemy.


As to your point of wanting to get rid of him, in my opinion the best way to do that would be for him to die.  If handled right, it could actually be sad.  However, due to Steven Moffat's fear of killing characters off (for example, look no further than all the people he retrospectively resurrected after A Good Man Goes to War,) it is unlikely to happen.

JFrance
JFrance

How I see it is that Sontaran soldiers are not meant to be intelligent they are grown to take orders and fight in wars. Where as the higher ranking Sontarans like Generals and Commanders are grown to be intelligent because they lead the army into battle e.t.c. So I think Strax is just being a normal soldier IMO.    

ShaneMcEntee
ShaneMcEntee

Haven't read yet but I agree. I think kids love him though so he'll stay. Shocked they haven't made a figure of him in Wave 2 and instead made 2 Daleks, Another 11th Doctor and another bloody Weeping Angel. I'd rather a Strax figure even though I think his character should be retired.

bl0ndie98
bl0ndie98

FINALLY! Someone who agrees with me, I don't like Strax, I did in 'a good man goes to war' but ever since then, he just ticked me off

TimeLord22
TimeLord22

Your point about if it was a Dalek is excellent. Great article :)

OliverTrussell
OliverTrussell

But... the Sontarans were never scary. I dunno in my opinion bringing back potato men as comic relief is the best way to bring them back.

Diana van der Pluijm
Diana van der Pluijm

Very well said. I don't hate the character either, I hate the fact that Sontarans have apparently become comic relief, while they're supposed to be fearsome warriors who always face their enemy due to their one weakness.

KingOrokos
KingOrokos

I agree with you. He was a wonderful character with an interesting backstory in A Good Man Goes To War, and then suddenly he became this one-dimensional laughing stock.

mczolly
mczolly

I think the fact that sontarans were slow and stupid and therefore laughing matter was always part of the Doctor Who lore...

WellSpokenMan
WellSpokenMan

Also they should redesign the Sontarans with the silver and black armour they used to have with the return of the wand like weapons, perhaps a little taller and none of the fake muscle detail as that is stupid. 

WellSpokenMan
WellSpokenMan

I agree with this article; we need Linx/Styre like Sontarans again! Strax was entertaining  but why did he have to be a Sontaran and not a different species?!

Galax
Galax

Sontarans can't be scary imo. Their appearence in the two-parter in Series 4 was a disaster.

In The Time, there was a joke with a weeping angel. Did taat make them not scary ? No. Same for Handles. Okay this head got a touchijg death but, otherwise he was funy through the episode. Did that make Cybermen not scary ? No.

And in "their" episodes, both Daleks and Cybermen were scary WITH fun moments. Like the unforgetabale confrontation scene in Doomsday : "Identify ! " "No, you !"

But let's be obvious, the "scary" side of the Sontarans is ... inexistant in Series 4.

They tried. It failed. I don't want a new sontaran story. But that is just my view of course.

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

The Sontarans could never be scary, not with their current design.


TheOncomingFish
TheOncomingFish

I've never really seen Sontarans as scary anyway. When they were villains I found it hard to keep a straight face, so I think it's better if they're consciously silly rather than trying to be scary and just ending up looking silly. Just my opinion though, I know many would disagree! Great article :) 




MikeRoberts1
MikeRoberts1

Simple solution - have a Sontaran episode where they are a threat, and have Strax try to rejoin the Sontarans only to show them banishing him for allowing the Doctor to turn him into someone who helps the weak. It will make Strax sympathetic, and make the Sontarans look mean again.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

Strax's violent streak hasn't completely gone away, but due to his nursing punishment he's rarely allowed to use it.

The zeal in which he used his weapon in Crimson Horror showed this! The rest of the time he has fights with Glaswegians...

Petrolheaded Wholockian
Petrolheaded Wholockian

I think Strax should stay but the should be a proper Sontaron episode. It would make a great story seeing Strax faced with the decision of who to go with: Vastra and Jenny or his own people. 


WhoPotterVian
WhoPotterVian

There definitely needs to be a new Sontarans-Are-Evil episode. It's like you are saying in this article. They don't seem like a credible threat anymore. And they should be. Enough humorous Sontarans. It's time to see the war-hungry ones again.






Sharaz_Jek
Sharaz_Jek

I don't mind Strax (his jokes are hit-and-miss to me) and he works as a one of a kind, but I agree that the Sontarans need to be threatening again. I actually think the best possible scenario for the show in this case would be to have a serious Sontaran story featuring Strax being conflicted about his duty to his people and his loyalty to his friends. It would make both the Sontarans threatening again and make Strax a better character


steammoose
steammoose

I thinck the problem is that there hasn't been any Sontaran story since 2008, so they have become funny because Starx is funny. A serious Sontaran episode would be good.

TheWhonarrator
TheWhonarrator

I don't mind Strax but I don't want the sontaran a to continue as a joke maybe a redesign which makes them look a bit more time warrior like is in order

NewWho2012
NewWho2012

I love strax gives the show an extra sense of humour and he's not just for the kids, for the whole family as well. Just love his lines like "What do you want girl" to a Victorian boy and "This boy" to Jenny amongst others is just simply hilarious. Plus his appearance at the beginning of the cinema opening to The Day of the Doctor was just a brilliant edition telling us the usual cinema rules in a more humourous and enjoyable way. I hope he may never die.

FMOB11
FMOB11

This is Moffat's fault. He made a conscious decision to destroy the Sontarans as genuine enemies, probably because he personally dislikes them, despite fan opinion. 

I like Strax but the Sontarans have been destroyed as real villains.

HufflepuffBR
HufflepuffBR

By myself, I like Strax: the fun on it is how the so-much militaristc Sontaran speak sounds silly out-of-context. However, I would like to see some drama on him, like been put against other Sontaran. And as some people here said, he is aone-of-a-kind: an improbaility, not an impossibility

foolmentaljoker
foolmentaljoker

I like Strax, but agree he needs to be shown as an exception rather than the rule when it comes to Sontarans. He's been genetically altered to function as a nurse, which has probably confused his priorities somewhat - but the others were exclusively bred to be warriors and, even if they're none too bright or imaginative (perhaps generations of cloning has more or less the same effect as inbreeding), they should at least be ruthlessly efficient. Strax should be a one-off.

PaulJohnEric
PaulJohnEric

Completely agree, nice to see people with a similar opinion of Strax.

ilyootha
ilyootha

"In my mind, having a funny Sontaran is just as bad as having a funny Dalek"

*Cough* The Evil of the Daleks *Cough*






HufflepuffBR
HufflepuffBR

@Diana van der Pluijm I don't think so... Sontarans didn't fought fairly on all NewWho and Spínoffs episodes: they had come with Invisibility Cloak and Decoys and Sabotage Tactics... Never on a face-to-face (Think on Predator). In fact, the only that do this is... Strax!

HufflepuffBR
HufflepuffBR

@WellSpokenMan I would reply: why not? I don't see him out-of-character totally. He still have militaristic mind and Sontaran culture and so... I would be more upset if it was a Dalek

HufflepuffBR
HufflepuffBR

@Planet of the Deaf Remember that Sontarans can learn too much with Scotch-land... :)


Need to say, like too much the Field Reports: The funny thing on them is how much "alien" Strax mind is and how some understandings and misunderstandings by him make things funny (Elizabeth as a boy)

ThatGuywiththeBowTie
ThatGuywiththeBowTie

I loved his monologue in Day of the Doctor! Made everyone in my theater laugh. :)

PaulJohnEric
PaulJohnEric

@NewWho2012  That sort of thing is just for a really cheap laugh, though. "Oh the comic relief character said something vaguely funny". Sure it's funny and you can laugh at it, that's the point, but after two or three times it becomes quite tedious. The fact it happens two or three times every time Strax meets someone new is essentially what ruined him; the comic relief, non sequitur one liners.

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

@NewWho2012 One of my favs is;

River: "Professor River Song, The Doctor may have mentioned me"

Clara; "oh yes, I hadn't realized you were a woman"

Strax "Neither had I"

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

@FMOB11 Moff: Sontarans, you will be obliterated. Lay down your weapons and your deaths will be merciful! This planet is now property of the Moffat Empire!

ilyootha
ilyootha

@FMOB11  "He made a conscious decision to destroy the Sontarans as genuine enemies"

And your proof is?




FMOB11
FMOB11

@ilyootha @FMOB11Someone like Moffat could only have done this on purpose. He wouldn't have unwittingly made that scene in Time of the Doctor, not realising the implications

Xisco Lozdob
Xisco Lozdob

@FMOB11 @ilyootha  You have to admit that Sontaran soldiers (the ones who are not high officials or strategist leaders, that is) are a bit dumb at times, so that scene could be completely logical.